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Idaho Officials Praise Public, Press for Help Capturing Quadruple Slaying Suspect

Idaho Officials Praise Public, Press for Help Capturing Quadruple Slaying Suspect
(Jeff T. Green/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 30 December 2022 04:59 PM EST

Moscow, Idaho, Police Chief James Fry on Friday told a press conference that reporters and members of the community who provided tips were "exceptional," adding "you'll never know how much your words of encouragement helped us."

The press conference was held Friday afternoon by the police department and the surrounding Latah County Sheriff's office following the "probable cause" arrest of Bryan Christopher Kohberger, 28, of Albrightsville, Pennsylvania, earlier Friday morning.

Kohberger had been arrested by Pennsylvania State Police in the Pocono Mountains region in connection with the Nov. 13 stabbing deaths of four University of Idaho students — Ethan Chapin, 20, of Conway, Washington; Madison Mogen, 21, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Xana Kernodle, 20, of Avondale, Arizona; and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, of Rathdrum, Idaho. They were murdered in their off-campus home. 

Law enforcement sources said authorities knew who they were seeking and had tracked Kohberger down to where he had been staying.

It was confirmed that Kohberger had been a graduate student at Washington State University, with a focus on criminology.

Also, sources identified Kohberger's White Hyundai Elantra. A vehicle of that type had been reportedly seen near the crime scene in mid-November.

Here are some highlights from Friday's press conference in Idaho:

"These murders have shaken in our community, and no arrest will ever bring back these young students," said Police Chief  Fry. "However, we do believe that justice will be found in the process."

Fry said that Idaho police had spent a lot of time on this case, working diligently to get the arrest right. He also characterized this investigation as a "very complex and extensive case ... and be assured, the work is not done — it's just starting."

Since the gruesome murders occurred in November, Fry said the Moscow Police Department has been "laser-focused on pursuing every lead."

Fry also reiterated that early details of the "massive" investigation were sparsely provided to the public, out of fears that any notices might have "tainted" the investigation. Also, they didn't want the accused to know any updates with the case. "Fortunately, our highly skilled team [of officers, detectives, etc.] worked as a cohesive unit to solve this case."

Chief Fry also characterized the public support shown to police officials as "exceptional," while adding "you'll never know how much your words of encouragement has helped us. ... The [Moscow] community has been impacted by this daily."

Fry also thanked the local and national media for bringing daily coverage of the murders to the forefront, while also making it possible for the public to submit tips that might have led to the apprehension of the accused. "You are the product of the 19,000 tips we received — which is impressive," the police chief added.

Fry told reporters that he could not respond to specific inquiries about how Kohberger first emerged as a suspect, or whether he had identified any other suspects. Investigators are working to "put all the pieces together" regarding Kohberger's alleged motivation for the crime, the police chief added, but said that information would come out in court proceedings.

"What I can tell you is that we have an individual in custody, who [allegedly] committed these horrible crimes; and I do believe that our community is safe. We still need to be vigilant. We need to be aware of our surroundings, and remain aware of what's going on [around us]," he added.

A criminal complaint was filed Thursday, establishing four counts of first-degree murder. The accused was "entering the residence with the intent to commit a crime," said Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson.

This case is officially considered pending until Kohberger gets back into Idaho and physically receives his arrest warrant. Thompson said the Idaho Supreme Court places "limits" on what kind of access can be given to pretrial proceedings. In the meantime, Kohberger's arrest warrant will also be sealed.

Kohberger made an initial appearance in front a Pennsylvania judge. His warrants for both Pennsylvania and Idaho will not be attached to bonds, said Thompson. The accused will next appear in a Pennysylvania court next Tuesday. He has the option to return to Idaho; and if that's the case, "we'll initiate extradition proceedings through our office," said Thompson. In that event, "it could take a while for [Kohberger] to get here. ... That's just how the system works."

For the time being, Thompson reminded the press that "your primary source of factual information will be the court record. ... We are limited, by the courts, as to what we're allowed to say."

Thompson characterized the breakthrough with the accused as a "new beginning" in the investigation. As part of that, it's imperative for the media to get the word about Kohberger. "Report anything you know about him," said the county prosecutor.

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Moscow, Idaho, Police Chief James Fry on Friday told a press conference that reporters and members of the community who provided tips was "exceptional," adding "you'll never know how much your words of encouragement has helped us."
idaho, university of idaho murders, moscow
790
2022-59-30
Friday, 30 December 2022 04:59 PM
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