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Home Crime Idaho murders updates: Bryan Kohberger’s eyebrows tied him to student killings as defence responds to evidence

Idaho murders updates: Bryan Kohberger’s eyebrows tied him to student killings as defence responds to evidence

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Bryan Kohberger appears in court in Idaho for the first time

Bryan Kohberger’s distinct eyebrows may have first linked him to the 13 November murders of Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin.

According to Air Mail’s “The Eyes of a Killer: Part Two”, a lead investigator first had an inkling that Mr Kohberger would become a suspect after he ran the Washington State University (WSU) PhD student’s licence plate and noticed his “bushy eyebrows”.

One of the surviving roommates at the student home had recounted how she unknowingly saw her friends’ killer leaving the scene before going back into her room in a state of shock. The woman said the killer was wearing a mask, but his “bushy eyebrows” stood out to her.

The outlet also revealed that an FBI surveillance team “lost” Mr Kohberger for several hours as he and his father began their cross-country trip from WSU to his family home in Pennsylvania. He was ultimately found and arrested on 30 December.

Meanwhile, the latest court filings show the suspect’s defence attorney’s response to the state’s request for discovery in the case. Public defender Anne Taylor writes in the 30 January filing that the defence so far has no evidence to turn over.


Idaho murders victim’s family reveals reason for calls to former boyfriend not long before murders

Kaylee Goncalves’ family members have revealed a possible reason for the calls the slain student made to her former boyfriend not long before she was brutally murdered.

In the early hours of 13 November, Goncalves and Mogen both made phone calls to Goncalves’ ex-boyfriend Jack DuCoeur, with whom she shares pet dog Murphy.

Mr DuCoeur did not answer the calls.

Just hours later – at between 4am and 4.25am – Goncalves and Mogen were brutally stabbed to death alongside Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin.

In a sit-down interview with the YouTube channel Chronicles of Olivia, the Goncalves family spoke out about the calls, saying that they believe their daughter was seeking to rekindle her relationship with Mr DuCoeur.

Goncalves broke up with Mr DuCoeur ahead of her post-graduation move to Texas, but had later voiced concerns that she “might not ever find another Jack” and was considering getting back together with him, they said.

Kaylee’s father Steve Goncalves said that the couple had remained friends and the slain student was looking “for every excuse for [Mr DuCoeur] to pick up the phone.”

(Kaylee Goncalves/Instagram)

Andrea Blanco2 February 2023 11:00


Possible animal hair was found at Idaho murders suspect’s Washington State home

A record of evidence recovered during the apartment search was unsealed last month, revealing the seizure of 15 items including hairs, receipts, a computer tower, a disposable glove and items with peculiar stains.

But what significance, if any, can actually be gleaned from the list? The Independent spoke to two experts – Dr Monte Miller, a former crime scene investigator and forensic expert for the Texas Department of Public Safety; and former FBI agent Jennifer Coffindaffer – for their takes on each item.

“The possible animal hair they’ll try to connect that to the dog left at the scene,” according to Dr Miller. “If there’s a root on that, if there is any skin on that hair, they could do a DNA test with that dog. If it’s just a hair that’s been shed and there is no skin, they would still be able to do a microscopical comparison and exclude most dogs but they wouldn’t be able to connect it necessarily to that dog.”

Ms Coffindaffer also explained that the suspect would have left behind evidence at the scene but also taken evidence with him before leaving. She said she was suprised by how little hair was listed on the search warrant record.

“I would expect those items to have been transferred to [the killer] and when he took off his clothing, that to then transfer to other clothing and items. So I was surprised not to see more items and more hairs,” she said.

Kaylee Goncalves and her dog Murphy, who was spared from the attack and later found unharmed at the scene

Dr Miller explained how the hairs collected indicated they were found separately.

“They may have collected eight hairs in a pillowcase, and collected one separately because they found it [in a different place],” he said. “And somebody, when they collected it, just wrote hair strand instead of hair. Sometimes you write things a little differently.”

The distinction between “hair” and “hair strand” was not necessarily meaningful, Ms Coffindaffer also said, as there could have been more than one log keeper that preferred one wording over the other.

She also noted that the overall amount of findings at the Washington state apartment was rather underwhelming.

“I would want to point out that it’s not really as interesting to me what is on the search warrant as what’s not on the search won’t return,” she told The Independent. “I just expected so much more information, so many more hairs. I expected fibres, I expected clothing to be taken. I had hope for shoes.”

Andrea Blanco2 February 2023 10:00


Speculation about a ‘co-defendant’ is debunked

Earlier this month, Bryan Kohberger’s attorney Ann Taylor filed a discovery request in the case, asking the judge to order the prosecution to hand over all discovery in the case within 14 days.

Among the discovery requests were witness statements, digital media and police reports about the case.

It also included a request for information about a “co-defendant” in the case.

“Statements of co-defendant. Any written or recorded statements by a codefendant, and the substance of any relevant oral statement made by a co-defendant whether before or after arrest in response to interrogation by any person known by the codefendant to be a peace officer or agent of the prosecuting attorney, or which are otherwise relevant to the offense charged,” the filing reads.

The request has prompted speculation of evidence suggesting that Mr Kohberger may have had an accomplice – or that the defence could seek to argue that as part of their case.

However, Mr Levin explained that this is just part of the standard requests for discovery in a case.

“These are just very standard requests as part of the defence’s discovery request,” he said.

While ruling out other individuals as possible suspects will likely form part of the state’s case against Mr Kohberger, he said that this does not indicate that there are other suspects.

The probable cause affidavit makes no mention of a co-defendant and law enforcement officials have previously insisted that they believe the suspect acted alone.

The request making mention of a co-defendant is also just one of 18 discovery requests made in the court filing.

“I don’t think I would make much hay of that,” Mr Levin said of the discovery request.

Andrea Blanco2 February 2023 09:00


Ethan Chapin’s family opens up about finding ‘the little victories’ in their grief journey

In a Facebook post on Monday, Stacy Chapin said she and her husband had visited her two surviving triplets, Mazie and Hunter, at the University of Idaho over the weekend. The Chapin triplets were all enrolled at the college in the town of Moscow when Ethan was killed on 13 November.

Speaking out about life after losing her son, Ms Chapin said she had early on agreed with her husband that Maizie and Hunter would be returning to school for the spring semester. The mother-of-three said that she wanted to keep her family close but also allow her children “to heal at their own pace.”

During their visit, Ms Chapin said, the parents fed over 20 of their children’s friends and enjoyed long conversations, coffee dates and hugs.

The Chapin family also spent time “remembering Ethan and sharing stories” before Ms Chapin and her husband returned to their home in Washington.

(Sigma Chi )

Andrea Blanco2 February 2023 08:00


Kaylee Goncalves had moved out of student home shortly before the stabbings

Idaho murders victim Kaylee Goncalves had already moved out of the home where she and three other students were brutally murdered – but tragically returned to Moscow to visit her best friend that fateful weekend.

Goncalves’ parents told NBC’s “Dateline” that the 21-year-old had recently left the student rental property on King Road, Moscow, ahead of her upcoming graduation that December and a move to Austin, Texas, for a new job at a tech firm.

Then, on the weekend of 12 November, she decided to go back to the college town to visit her best friend Madison Mogen.

The two young women had been inseparable since meeting in the sixth grade and Goncalves wanted to show Mogen her new Range Rover that she had saved up for and bought.

The pair also planned to go to a party together on the night of Saturday 12 November.

“These girls were best friends since sixth grade, like inseparable,” said Goncalves’ mother Kristi Goncalves.

“That was the last time that I saw Kaylee.”

(Instagram )

Andrea Blanco2 February 2023 07:00


Mad Greek, restaurant where two Idaho murders victims worked, denies Bryan Kohberger rumours

The owner of a restaurant where two of the four University of Idaho victims worked has denied a report that suspect Bryan Kohberger ate at the business.

Jackie Fischer, owner of the Mad Greek — where slain students Madison Mogen and Xana Kernodle were servers — spoke out in a strongly-worded Facebook post on Friday after an anonymous former staff member claimed to People that Mr Kohberger had visited the eatery in the weeks before the killings.

According to the People report, Mr Kohberger visited the restaurant in Moscow twice in the weeks leading up to the murders and ordered vegan pizza.

It also alleged that an investigator with insight into the case reportedly told the magazine that authorities knew about the visits to the restaurant, had seized footage and that both staff and owners had been interviewed by law enforcement.

Ms Fischer slammed the claims and said they were unequivocally false.

“The news/media should really do their due diligence before running a story with completely fabricated information. This person who wants their 5 minutes of fame has now caused a whole bunch of extra work for myself and the investigators,” Ms Fischer wrote in a Facebook post.

Andrea Blanco2 February 2023 06:00


Gag order in Idaho murders case is extended

A court in Idaho has extended a gag order issued earlier this month prohibiting law enforcement officials from revealing information about the murders of four University of Idaho students and the arrest of their accused killer Bryan Kohberger.

The order, issued by the Latah County Chief Magistrate on 4 January, was extended on 19 January and will remain in place throughout court proceedings until a verdict has been reached or unless the mandate is modified by the court.

The earlier court order banned investigators, law enforcement personnel, attorneys, and members of both the prosecution and the defence from sharing any new information about the investigation or the suspect before a verdict is reached at trial.

As a result Moscow Police Department, which had been sharing updates on the investigation, said in a statement that it will no longer be communicating with the public or the media regarding the case.

The order both extends and expands the earlier measure.

According to court documents “any attorney representing witness, victim, or victim‘s family, as well as the parties to the above-entitled action, including but not limited to investigators, law enforcement personnel, and agents for the prosecuting attorney or defense attorney, are prohibited from making extrajudicial statements (written or oral) concerning this case”.

Andrea Blanco2 February 2023 05:00


Defence team receives thousands of documents and photos as evidence in Idaho murders case

Attorneys representing Bryan Kohberger have now received thousands of documents and photos as evidence in the University of Idaho murders case.

Court filings reveal that prosecutors in Moscow, Idaho, handed over the huge trove of evidence to lawyers for the 28-year-old suspected mass killer last week, including 995 pages of documents, one audio/video file, and 1,865 photos.

The evidence – which shows what led investigators to arrest the criminology PhD student for the murders of Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin – came in response to the defence’s discovery request in the case.

However, the state objected to handing over some information in the case, including the identity of potential informants.

“The State objects to requests by the Defendant for anything not otherwise addressed above on the grounds that such requests are outside the scope of I.C.R. 16 and/or are not subject to disclosure under ICR 16(g) (work product and informants),” prosecutors wrote in the court filings.

Andrea Blanco2 February 2023 04:00


U of I students launch fundraiser selling bracelets in victims’ honour

University of Idaho students have launched fundraiser selling bracelets in honour of the four murder victims.

The Vandal Strong bracelets are black silicon bands featuring the names of Ethan, Maddie, Xana and Kaylee.

They are for sale on the UI website with funds from the sales set to go towards a memorial for the victims.

“Student fundraiser organized by @ASUIDAHO selling #vandalstrong bracelets to raise money towards building a permanent memorial on @uidaho campus for Xana, Ethan, Madison, and Kaylee. A way for us to honor and remember them forever,” tweeted Xana Kernodle’s family member Sheldon Kernodle.

Andrea Blanco2 February 2023 03:00


‘Reddish-brownish-stained’ items were seized from Bryan Kohberger’s Washington state home on the day of his arrest

In the search warrant record, investigators list several items with stains, including cuttings of a mattress cover, a “reddish/brown” stain on an uncovered pillow and a “collection of dark red spot”.

Dr Monte Miller, a former crime scene investigator and forensic expert for the Texas Department of Public Safety; and former FBI agent Jennifer Coffindaffer told The Independent that police likely believe those stains could be blood.

“A reddish or brown stain is a euphemism for, ‘We found something that looks like blood,’” Dr Miller said. “It might be blood from the victims, might be his blood. They don’t know until they test it, but they’ll be able to get DNA if it is blood. We don’t know what the stains in the cover sheets look like, but again they’re looking for any kind of DNA, evidence that might have come from the crime scene.”

Bryan Kohberger is facing murder charges in the killings of four University of Idaho students

Ms Coffindaffer added: “They don’t call it blood, but it’s definitely inferred that it was blood.”

Dr Miller noted that while stains on clothing and bedding are not necessarily unusual, investigators will try to link the evidence found at the Pullman apartment to the crime scene in Moscow.

“The likelihood that any of those stains came from the crime scene, is going to be dependent on how well he cleaned up,” he said.

Andrea Blanco2 February 2023 02:00

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