Who Is Bryan Kohberger, The Suspect In The Idaho College Murders?

On December 30, 2022, as the Idaho Dispatch reported, police arrested 28-year-old Bryan Christopher Kohberger (above) in connection with the murders of four college students in Moscow, Idaho, a few weeks earlier. Housemates Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Ethan Chapin, 20, were murdered while they slept, stabbed by an assailant (via Newsweek).

For weeks, investigators were tight-lipped about information and leads, and at times, the statements they gave seemed to be contradictory, as NBC News reported. As such, his arrest came as something of a surprise, but in fact, behind-the-scenes investigators had been surveilling him for days, even tracking him as he traveled across the country, as CNN reported.

As of January 3, officials have not released a motive in the murders, although NewsNation reports that Kohberger may have had multiple motives. And what we have learned about the suspect in the days since his arrest does seem to suggest that he had a fixation on crime.

Bullying and Substance Abuse

Not much is known about Bryan Kohberger's early childhood; the New York Post reports that he grew up in the Poconos with his parents and a sister. By his teen years, classmates had come to know Kohberger as a boy who was bullied, and who possibly had substance abuse issues.

"If he tried to flirt with a girl or anything, they'd get a weird feeling in their stomach. I had that feeling towards him, too. My instinct was creeper vibes, and I tried to keep my distance from him," said classmate Deja Mann. Elsewhere, Classmate Ashley Korkmaz said he was a target for bullies. "He didn't have any social skills and didn't know how to make friends. ... He was just awkward," Korkmaz said.

High school classmate Casey Amtz described him as a "heavy heroin user," a claim which the New York Post notes was backed up by another classmate to another news source.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

A Personality Shift In High School

According to the New York Post, Bryan Kohberger attended high school in Pleasant Valley, Pennsylvania, and also took air conditioning classes at a vocational school. A man identifying himself as Nick Mcloughlin told the Daily Beast that he and Kohberger had been friends at that time, but that between their junior and senior years, Kohberger underwent an unexplained personality shift. Prior to that summer, he'd been "down to earth," but when he returned from break, he was "aggressive." "He always wanted to fight somebody, he was bullying people. We started cutting him off from our friend group because he was 100 percent a different person," Mcloughlin said

Another childhood friend, identifying himself to KABC only as Thomas, painted a similar picture of the Idaho murder suspect, describing him as "mean" and stating that he always wanted to appear dominant. "He would, like, grapple me and like, put me in headlocks and arm bars and stuff like that," Thomas said.

From Pennsylvania To Washington

Though he had taken vocational classes, it appears that Bryan Kohberger didn't pursue a career in the skilled trades. Rather, he went to college; specifically, as the New York Post reports, he got his degree in psychology from Northampton Community College in 2018. From there, he went to work as a security officer for the Pleasant Valley School District in Pennsylvania. "It was nice to see him clean up," said high school classmate Casey Amtz, via a companion New York Post report, of his recovery from substance abuse.

At some point he decided to further his education, and he received his master of arts in criminal justice from DeSales University. One of his teachers there, associate professor Michelle Bolger, had naught but praise for Kohberger. "He was one of my best students ever. ... In my 10 years of teaching, I've only recommended two students to a PhD program, and he was one of them," she said, adding that she was "shocked as s***" by Kohberger's arrest.

Kohberger then enrolled at Washington State University in Pullman, which is just a few miles across the border from Moscow, Idaho, where the murders took place. Kohberger had enrolled in the university's Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, with a view to getting his doctorate.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

A Telling Reddit Post?

It bears noting that, as of this writing, officials have not released a motive in the Moscow, Idaho murders. However, a picture of Bryan Kohberger is emerging that seems to paint him as fixated on crime and criminality. Gaurav Narang, a neighbor, told Newsweek that whenever he spoke to Kohberger, the latter always wanted to talk about crime. "He would talk about why people commit crime, what is the key reason behind crime and how people think while committing them. He wanted to study why people commit crime," Narang said.

In a post on Reddit that has since been deleted, a user — apparently Kohberger — asked for the help of ex-cons, presumably for a research project. Specifically, he wanted to "understand how emotions and psychological traits influence decision-making when committing a crime." To that end, he asked the participants to answer questions about, for example, what they thought about how they prepared for the crime and whether or not the victim fought back, according to the Daily Beast.

A Cross-Country Road Trip

One of the key pieces of evidence in the Moscow, Idaho murders was/is a white Hyundai Elantra (an example is pictured above), as Fox News reported before Bryan Kohberger's arrest. Whether or not it was that vehicle that led to Kohberger's arrest remains unclear, but he certainly did drive a white Hyundai Elantra. And it appears that he was driving it across the country, possibly in a trip with his father, before his arrest.

Specifically, as reported in a companion Fox News piece, Kohberger's father had flown to Spokane, Washington, and driven to Pullman, Washington, to pick up his son. From there, the two men drove across much of the country on a road trip back to Pennsylvania. The excursion had reportedly been pre-planned.

According to KTVB, Kohberger's extradition lawyer, Jason LaBar, one or the other or both men were pulled over in Indiana on the trip home. "I don't know whether they were speeding or not or if they were even issued a ticket. I just know that they were pulled over in Indiana almost back to back. I believe once for speeding and once for falling too closely to a car in front of them," he said.