Released after long anticipation on Thursday, quadruple-murder suspect Bryan Kohberger‘s probable cause affidavit supporting his charges contains a chilling recollection of voices overheard on the night of the grisly slayings in Moscow, Idaho.
During the early morning hours of Nov. 13, 2022, Ethan Chapin, 20, Xana Kernodle, 20 Kaylee Goncalves, and Madison Mogen, 20, were stabbed to death on the second and third floors of an off-campus house in the small and rural college town. Some, but not all, of them were killed as they slept, according to the Latah County Coroner.
“Whimper Followed by a Loud Thud”
Two roommates, Bethany Funke and Dylan Mortensen, whose rooms were on the first and second floors, survived.
Though more than one page is entirely redacted and referring to the survivors by their initials, the affidavit written by Moscow Police Department Corporal Brett Payne alleges that Mortensen not only overheard the sounds of the killing but saw the killer walk right past her.
“D.M. stated she originally went to sleep in her bedroom on the southeast side of the second floor. D.M. stated she was awoken at approximately 4:00 a.m. by what she stated sounded like Goncalves playing with her dog in one of the upstairs bedrooms, which were located on the third floor,” the affidavit reads.
The filing narrates:
A short time later, D.M. said she heard who she thought was Goncalves say something to the effect of “there’s someone here.” A review of records obtained from a forensic download of Kernodle’s phone showed this could also have been Kernodle as her cellular phone indicated she was likely awake and using the TikTok app at approximately 4:12 a.m.
D.M. stated she looked out of her bedroom but did not see anything when she heard the comment about someone being in the house. D,M. stated she opened her door a second time when she heard what she thought was crying coming from Kernodle’s room. D.M. then said she heard a male voice say something to the effect of “it’s ok, I’m going to help you.”
D.M. stated she opened her door for the third time after she heard the crying and saw a figure clad in black clothing and a mask that covered the person’s mouth and nose walking towards her. D.M. described the figure as 5’10” or taller, male, not very muscular, but athletically built with bushy eyebrows. The male walked past D.M. as she stood in a “frozen shock phase.” The male walked towards the back sliding glass door.
After that, the affidavit says, Mortensen locked herself inside her bedroom.
The affidavit cites a contemporaneous recording allegedly obtained by a “security camera” from near the scene of the crime, which picks up what investigators term “distorted audio of what sounded like voices or a whimper followed by a loud thud” as well as a dog “barking numerous times” beginning at 4:17 a.m.
A law enforcement review of several videos taken adjacent to the residence that night, by various residential and business cameras, resulted in numerous sightings of the killer’s suspected vehicle beginning at 3:29 a.m. – when the white Hyundai Elantra entered the neighborhood and began a series of passes, stops, and turns – and ending around 4:20 a.m. – when the car left the neighborhood.
“A Single Source of Male DNA”
Twelve days after the murders, the MPD put out a call to area law enforcement to be on the lookout for white Hyundai Elantras.
Kohberger was allegedly first tied to the slaughter on Nov. 29, 2022, when Washington State University Police Officer Daniel Tiengo located a 2015 white Hyundai Elantra registered to the defendant.
Later that same day, WSU Officer Curtis Whitman located a white 2015 Hyundai Elantra in the parking lot of the defendant’s apartment complex. The officer ran the tags and they allegedly returned a match for Kohberger.
Payne writes that he went on to review the defendant’s “driver license information and photograph” which “shows that he has bushy eyebrows” and is six-feet tall.
“Kohberger’s physical description is consistent with the description of the male [Mortensen] saw inside the King Road Residence on November 13th,” the affidavit says.
The court document goes on to detail a lengthy review of AT&T phone records associated with Kohberger.
Ultimately, Payne alleges, between 2:47 a.m. and 4:48 a.m. that night, the defendant turned his phone off in an attempt “to conceal his location during the quadruple homicide that occurred at the King Road Residence.”
According to the affidavit, investigators also obtained a search warrant for Kohberger’s “historical” phone records in an effort to determine whether he “stalked any of the victims” before they were killed, “conducted surveillance” on the well-known off-campus housing, or otherwise “was in contact with any of the victims’ associates before or after” the murders.
Payne writes that the defendant’s phone allegedly used the same cellular phone tower that provided coverage to the victims’ house “on at least twelve occasions prior to November 13, 2022.”
A crime scene find, police allege, tied Kohberger to the slayings by way of genealogical DNA testing.
Immediately recovered from the residence was a tan leather Ka-Bar knife sheath, embossed with Marine Corps insignia, which was left at the the side of Mogen’s bed, police allege. According to the affidavit, the Idaho State Lab “located a single source of male DNA” that was “left on the button snap of the knife sheath.”
After allegedly tying Kohberger to the gruesome incident through his car and phone records, investigators searched his family’s trash in Pennsylvania and allegedly obtained his father’s DNA.
“On December 28, 2022, the Idaho State Lab reported that a DNA profile obtained from the trash and the DNA profile obtained from the sheath, identified a male as not being excluded as the biological father of [the suspect],” the affidavit says. “At least 99.9998% of the male population would be expected to be excluded from the possibility of being the suspect’s biological father.”
Read the affidavit here.
This is a developing story.
[images via Latah County Jail]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]