Police searched Kohberger’s apartment at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington, a town just a 15-minute drive from Moscow, Idaho, where the students were stabbed to death shortly before Thanksgiving.
Police remained tight-lipped during the investigation into the deaths of college students Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin, but on Friday they arrested Kohberger in his home state of Pennsylvania. Now more information is coming about his past.
Forensic technicians spent all day Friday in Kohberger’s apartment, with investigators taking pictures and leaving with multiple boxes and suitcases, along with a large computer tower.
It’s possible new digital data will be available to investigators, along with potential fiber or trace evidence from the Moscow crime scene, which could prove valuable in prosecuting the case.
“He can touch those surfaces. If he’s unclean from what he has just perpetrated, he has not thoroughly washed himself, you’re going to have deposition of all this stuff throughout the scene and that’s very important here in this case,” said forensic expert Joseph Morgan.
Moscow Police Chief James Fry would not confirm whether Kohberger’s DNA was found inside the home where the students were killed. But he does believe Kohberger is the person who committed the crime.
“We’re focused now on who he is, that’s why we keep asking people to send us information. If you know him, if you’ve dealt with him at any point in time, this is where we get laser-focused on one thing and we’re going to find out as much information as we can,” Fry said.
Kohberger was a graduate student at Washington State, where he was studying criminal justice. According to one classmate, Kohberger became more outgoing in the weeks following the Idaho killings.
“I did notice that he became a little more chattier, he became a little more animated,” Ben Roberts told NewsNation.
Before that, Roberts recalled Kohberger appearing tired and worn out.
Forensic psychologist Gary Brucato believes the change in behavior is notable.
“This event was sort of invigorating and might have brought him to life, or given him a sense of power that suddenly pulled him out of a depressive state where he felt helpless and powerless and insecure. Now he’s a person who’s been given a huge jolt of ego,” Brucato said.
Roberts also recalled Kohberger giving the impression that he needed to be the smartest person in the room, and to ensure everyone else knew his intelligence as well.
“Ego is the key,” Brucato said. “Ego is also what leads to them getting captured and I do indeed think that’s what went on here, overestimating one’s ability to get away with a crime.”
Police have not released any information on whether the murder weapon or any other incriminating evidence is being processed. Forensic technicians are also processing the white Hyundai Elantra police had been seeking; it was driven to Pennsylvania last month by Kohberger and his father.
“If he’s such a genius, why did he not divest himself of this vehicle?” Morgan asked. “That vehicle itself is a rolling crime scene.”
In addition to his own studies, Kohberger also worked as a teaching assistant at WSU. Criminology undergrads had reportedly complained about his harsh grading, but told the Idaho Statesman after the time of the murders he wasn’t as strict and no longer challenged students on their work.