Idaho murders: Eerie encounter weeks before suspect charged over students' deaths

New details have emerged over what led police to alleged murderer Bryan Kohberger.

Eerie police bodycam shows Bryan Kohberger – the PHD candidate accused of stabbing four sleeping students to death – and his father discuss a "horrifying" shooting at his university two weeks before his arrest.

Kohberger was charged last week with four counts of first degree murder after University of Idaho students Kaylee Goncalves and Maddie Mogen, 21, as well as Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin, both 20, were found dead at their share house on November 13.

Kohberger, 28, was studying criminology at nearby Washington State University.

Bryan Kohberger was pulled over twice by police over traffic offences. Source: Hancock County Sheriff's Department
Bryan Kohberger was pulled over twice by police over traffic offences. Source: Hancock County Sheriff's Department

Video released by Idaho authorities shows Kohberger and his father pulled over for tailgaiting. The pair begin telling the officer about a SWAT "mass shooting" at the Washington State University campus hours earlier on December 15.

The incident they were referring to involved a man who police say threatened to kill his roommates and was later shot dead by police after a standoff. Police say the shooting and the four University of Idaho murders are not connected.

FBI behind traffic stops, source says

Just five minutes later, the pair, who were making the 4,000km trip from Washington State to their family home in Pennsylvania, were again pulled over by police, where the shooting was again mentioned.

While Kohberger was told he was stopped for traffic offences, no fines were implemented. A law enforcement source told Fox News the stops were merely an excuse to gain access to Kohberger who was reportedly already a suspect at this stage.

The source said the FBI had ordered the stops and were an opportunity to "look at his hands". It is unclear why images of his hands was evidence the FBI needed.

Bryan Kohberger, who is accused of killing four University of Idaho students, is escorted to an extradition hearing at the Monroe County Courthouse in Stroudsburg, Pa., Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, Pool)
Bryan Kohberger pictured in custody on Tuesday. Source: AP

On Wednesday (local time), it was revealed Kohberger had changed the licence plate on his vehicle five days after the alleged murders of the four students, The New York Times reported.

Kohberger's car was a white Hyundai Elantra, the same vehicle authorities had been seeking after the model was spotted near the students' home on November 13.

Indiana State Police later said there was no information available to the officers who pulled Kohberger over that would have identified him as a suspect in the killings.

How police allegedly linked Kohberger to the murders

DNA evidence played a key role in identifying Kohberger as a suspect, and officials were able to match his DNA to genetic material recovered during the investigation, an anonymous law enforcement official told the Associated Press.

On Thursday (local time), Kohberger made his first courtroom appearance, telling the judge he understood his rights and charges brought against him.

Victims Kaylee Goncalves, Maddie Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin seen smiling in social media pictures.
The four victims allegedly murdered by Bryan Kohberger. Source: Fox News
A private security officer sits in a vehicle, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023, in front of the house in Moscow, Idaho where four University of Idaho students were killed in November, 2022. Authorities said Wednesday, Jan. 4, that Bryan Kohberger, the man accused in the killings, has left a Pennsylvania jail in the custody of state police. The move means Kohberger could be headed to Idaho to face first-degree murder charges. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
The Idaho home where the four students were found dead. Source: AP

The mother of Kaylee Goncalves wept as the charges were read out.

An affidavit filed by police revealed a woman was inside the home of the students when Kohberger allegedly entered, however she was unharmed, NBC News reported. She witnessed a person "clad in black clothing and a mask".

It also revealed a knife sheath was found near one of the victim's bodies and had a "single source of male DNA". Kohberger's rubbish from his home was recovered by police in Pennsylvania and they were allegedly able to link him to the murders.

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