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How police found a suspect in an Idaho murder

A white sedan drove past a gray three-story rental house on a dead-end street in Moscow, Idaho. Also. and again.

This was unusual behavior in a hillside residential area during the quiet hours before dawn. According to a police affidavit released Thursday, surveillance video of his vehicle on the night of November was a terrifying mystery as to who killed her four University of Idaho students in the house. was the key to unlocking

As the panicked community demanded answers, investigators searched security footage of the neighborhood, including one recording of a car speeding away after the killing, to get a sense of the killer’s possible movements. was investigated, the affidavit said.

Ultimately, police were able to narrow what was initially only vaguely known as a white sedan to a 2015 Hyundai Elantra registered by Brian Koberger. 28 year old PhD student in Criminology Washington State University, just across the border in Pullman, Washington. It said further investigation showed a DNA match with Coberger at the crime scene.

Coburger First appearance in court in Idaho His attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but the public defender who defended him in Pennsylvania, Jason Laver, said: says so. he said he was eager to be exonerated It should not be tried in a “court of public opinion.”

Mary D. Huang, professor of criminal law at the University of Washington, said: “You can see movement in public without any good reason to get a warrant. We live in an age of ubiquitous cameras. It is an amazing account of what

A car first drove past my home at 3:29 am on November 13th, less than an hour after Cary Goncalves, Madison Morgen, Zana Carnold and Ethan Chapin were recorded. Brett Payne wrote in his affidavit.

The vehicle passed two more times, with a fourth record at 4:04 a.m., Payne wrote. It was not seen again until it slowed down 16 minutes later.

“This is a residential area and very limited traffic in the area early in the morning,” Payne wrote. “If you check the video, there are only a few cars in and out of this area at this time of day.”

FBI forensic investigators determined that the car was likely a 2011-2013 Hyundai Elantra, but later said it could be a 2016 model, according to affidavits. I was.

Surveillance footage from the Washington State University campus provided further tantalizing information. A similar vehicle left town before 3:00 a.m. on the day of the killing and reappeared on Pullman’s cameras just before 5:30 a.m., the affidavit said.

On November 25, Moscow police asked local law enforcement agencies to look for white elantras. Three nights later, WSU police officers inquired if there were any white elantras on campus.

One came back as having a Pennsylvania license plate and being registered with Kohberger. Within half an hour, another campus officer found the vehicle parked in Coberger’s apartment complex. Came back with the Washington state tag attached. Five days after his murder, Coberger switched his registration from his home state of Pennsylvania to Washington state, his affidavit states.

Investigators have now been named, and further investigation has yielded even more clues.Coberger’s driver’s license lists him as 6 feet tall and weighs 185 pounds. His license photo showed bushy eyebrows. All details match the description of the attacker given by his surviving roommate, the affidavit said.

Further investigation revealed that Coberger was pulled over by a Latter County, Idaho sheriff’s deputy while driving his Elantra in August. He gave his lieutenant his cell phone number.

Armed with that number, Payne obtained a search warrant for the phone’s historical data. Location data showed the phone was near his home in Pullman until about 2:42 a.m. on the morning of the killing. The affidavit said it was consistent with Kohberger moving south.

No other location data was available from the phone until 4:48 a.m., suggesting Coberger may have turned it off to avoid detection during the attack, the affidavit said. said. At that point, the phone began taking a detour back to Pullman, traveling south to Genesee, Idaho, west to Uniontown, Washington, and north to Pullman before 5:30 am. Around the same time, white sedans returned. About surveillance cameras in the city.

It remains unclear why the victim was targeted.

According to the affidavit, Kohberger opened a phone account on June 23 and location data showed he traveled to neighborhoods where victims had been killed at least a dozen times prior to the attack. All of these visits took place late at night or early in the morning, according to affidavits, and he was pulled over by a sheriff’s deputy on August 21 on one such trip.

The cell phone data also contained another chilling detail, the affidavit said: The phone returned to the victim’s neighborhood around 9:00 a.m. hours after the attack. The killing was not reported to police until later in the day, and by 9:00 there was no police response at the scene.

By November 29, police were aware that Coberger, who owns a 2015 Elantra, was a key figure, but issued a news release on December 7 stating that the white 2011-13 Elantra asked for help from the public to find They suggested that such a vehicle was near his home early on Nov. 13 and that the resident “may have important information to share regarding this incident.” bottom.

It is not clear why the police issued such a request, but law enforcement agencies made such public statements in order to expel suspects and keep them from knowing they were under suspicion. May be used. Information flooded in, and investigators soon announced that they were sifting through a pool of about 20,000 potential vehicles.

Coberger remained at WSU until mid-December, when he took his father to his parents’ home in Pennsylvania on the Elantra. While driving through Indiana, Coberger was pulled over for a tailgate twice on the same day.

On December 27, Pennsylvania police recovered trash from the Cobergers’ home and sent DNA evidence to Idaho, the affidavit said. The evidence matched DNA found in the button snap of a knife sheath recovered at the crime scene.

Kohberger is charged with four counts of first-degree murder and felony robbery. A hearing in the case is scheduled for January 12.


Contributed by Rebecca Boone, AP correspondent in Boise, Idaho.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

https://www.local10.com/news/national/2023/01/06/the-white-sedan-how-police-found-suspect-in-idaho-slayings/ How police found a suspect in an Idaho murder

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