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Idaho murders suspect Bryan Kohberger’s DNA ‘found on knife sheath’

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Published: 16:40 GMT, 5 January 2023 | Updated: 19:58 GMT, 5 January 2023

Idaho murders suspect Bryan Kohberger smiled during a brief court appearance today, that came as police and prosecutors revealed their bombshell case against him, including how his DNA was found on a knife sheath at the scene. 

Kohberger, 28, was denied bail today during a brief court appearance in Moscow shortly after an affidavit detailing prosecutors’ case against him was shared online.

Kohberger spent most of the 10-minute hearing looking directly at Judge Megan Marshall as she read him his rights and the five counts and answered ‘yes’ when asked if he understood each count.

At one point, Kohberger was pictured smiling at his lawyer Anne Taylor. It is unclear what prompted the grin, which comes six days after he shot to notoriety as America’s most infamous alleged mass-murderer.

Kohberger remained impassive throughout but briefly began rocking back and forth as the judge told him he was facing the death penalty. He will return to court on January 12 for a status hearing.

Idaho murders suspect Bryan Kohberger smiles at his attorney in court today as he is denied bail. Kohberger will return to court on January 12 

Kohberger is shown on in court on Thursday after being extradited to Idaho from Pennsylvania

Friday’s papers included details on how Kohberger’s DNA was found on a knife sheath close to the bodies of Maddie Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves.

The documents also detailed how a surviving roommate, Dylan Mortensen, came face-to-face with a masked man believed to be Kohbegrer in the hallway of their shared home around the time of the killings, shortly after 4am on November 13. 

Mortensen heard what she believed to be her roommates cries, left her room and saw a man in a black mask with bushy eyebrows. She froze with fear, and watched as he walked past, then waited six hours before calling cops. 

Further details on Kohberger’s alleged stalking of his victims was shared. His phone was found to have been in the vicinity of their Moscow home 12 times before the November murders, starting in mid-August.  

The family of Kaylee Goncalves were also in court, with her mother shaking her head and sobbing as the homicide charge related to her daughter was read out.

The Goncalves family leaving court on Thursday following the hearing. They said it was an ’emotional moment’ to come face to face with their daughter’s alleged murderer for the first time

After the hearing, their family attorney told reporters: ‘It was an emotional moment for the family seeing the defendant for the first time and the family will be in this for the long haul.’

Kohberger has been charged with four counts of murder and one count of burglary for the November 13 massacre.  

If convicted, he is facing the death penalty for the murders of Idaho students Maddie Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin. The 19-page probable cause affidavit released today, reveals the following bombshells about the case; 

  • Surviving roommate Dylan Mortensen saw Kohberger in a black mask 
  • She had heard cries and victim Goncalves say ‘there’s someone here’ 
  • Xana Kernodle ordered a DoorDash which arrived 20 minutes before the killing  
  • Kohberger visited the house at least 12 times before the murder
  • He turned his phone off on the night of the killings to avoid detection 
  • Mortensen told police the killer had ‘bushy eyebrows’ – which they noticed in Kohberger once they’d identified him

Below, DailyMail.com breaks down the key pieces of information from the court documents, and the questions that remain unanswered.  

KOHBERGER’S DNA FOUND ON KNIFE SHEATH THAT WAS A 99.9% MATCH TO TRASH AT HIS FAMILY HOUSE

The most damning piece of evidence is the fact that a DNA sample taken from Kohberger’s family’s home in Pennsylvania matched DNA found on the snap button enclosure of a knife sheath found at the murder scene. 

The sheath is described as ‘tan leather’ with the USMC (United States Marines Corps) and ‘KA-BAR’ insignia stitched on its exterior. 

A similar sheath can be purchased online for less than $20. 

According to Moscow PD Officer Brett Payne – a rookie who joined the force in 2020 – the sheath was found on a single bed next to the stabbed corpses of Maddie Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves. 

The documents describe a tan, leather knife sheath with a button snap and ‘KA-BAR’ and USMC’ insignias being found at the scene. Above, a similar sheath that is available for purchase online on eBay 

The 19-page affidavit details how Kohberger’s DNA was found on a knife sheath that was left at the crime scene. It was lying on the bed next to Maddie Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves 

‘I noticed what appeared to be a tan leather knife sheath laying on the bed next to Mogen’s right side (when viewed from the door). 

‘The sheath was later processed and had “Ka-Bar” ‘USMC” and the United States Marine Corps eagle globe and anchor insignia stamped on the outside of it. 

‘The Idaho state lab later located a single source of male DNA (suspect Profile) left on the button snap of the knife sheath,’ Payne wrote. 

That DNA sample was sent for lab processing and then onto the FBI’s genetic genealogy branch. 

Through extensive research of public DNA databases, a match led to Kohberger’s home.

Police had already zeroed in on Kohberger by linking his white Hyundai Elantra to the scene. 

On December 27, an undercover team of police seized trash from Kohberger’s family home in Albrightsville, Pennsylvania. 

On December 27, an undercover team of police seized trash from Kohberger’s family home in Albrightsville, Pennsylvania

A DNA sample from that trash returned a 99.98 percent match with the sample on the knife sheath.  

Cops obtained a sample of his DNA on December 27, when they stole trash from his family’s house in Albrightsville, Pennsylvania. 

That sample returned a 99.98 percent match with the sample found at the scene to Kohberger’s father. 

SURVIVING ROOMMATE DYLAN MORTENSEN SAW MAN IN BLACK MASK IN THE HOUSE 

Dylan Mortensen was awake at the time of the killings – around 4.20am – and that she saw a man in a black mask in the house. 

She told police she’d been at home and awoke to the sound of Kaylee Goncalves playing with her dog upstairs, on the third floor of the house. 

She then heard ‘cries’ and what she thought was Goncalves saying: ‘there’s someone here.’   

Kohberger, 28, is accused of murdering Maddie Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin on November 13 in the quiet, college town of Moscow, Idaho

Next, Mortensen said she heard a male voice saying ‘It’s OK. I’m going to help you.’ 

She opened her bedroom door, then saw a man in a black ski mask that covered his nose and mouth, walking ‘towards her’. 

Frozen, she told police she watched him leave through a sliding door, then she locked herself in her bedroom.   

It’s unclear why she did not call cops immediately; police did not attend the scene until the following afternoon. 

SHOE PRINT FOUND IN THE MUD OUTSIDE SLIDING DOOR USED ‘BY KOHBERGER’ 

A shoe print was found in the mud outside the murders house, just outside the sliding door that Mortensen said was used by the killer to escape. 

Police studied that shoe print and found a ‘diamond pattern’ which is consistent with the sole of a Vans shoe

Police studied that shoe print and found a ‘diamond pattern’ which is consistent with the sole of a Vans shoe. 

It’s unclear if Kohberger owns Vans  – the affidavit does not confirm the discovery of any shoe that has a sole print similar the one found at the scene. 

SURVEILLANCE CAMERAS FROM NEARBY HOUSES PICKED UP CRIES AND DOG BARKING

At 4.17am, a surveillance camera from a nearby house heard picked up faint sounds of ‘cries’ and a dog barking. 

The dog is the animal Kaylee Goncalves’ shared with her ex-boyfriend. 

The dog was found unharmed in an empty bedroom in the house when police arrived the next day. 

According to the affidavit: ‘At approximately 4:17 am, a security camera located at  112 King Road, a residence immediately to the northwest of 1122 King Road, picked up distorted audio of what sounded like voices or a whimper followed by a loud thud. 

‘A dog can also be heard barking numerous times starting at 4:17 am.

‘The security camera is less than fifty feet from the west wall of Kernodle’s bedroom.’ 

HOW WHITE HYUNDAI ELANTRA LED POLICE TO KOHBERGER FIRST

A white Hyundai Elantra was observed on surveillance cameras in the vicinity of the crime, around the relevant time frame, but the absence of a front license plate made it harder for police to track down its owner. 

The clue came from a cop in the University of Washington’s campus force. 

He had been on the lookout for any vehicles that matched the description given by Moscow cops, and honed in on Kohberger’s vehicle.

The white Hyundai Elantra that was seen in the area of the killings on the night in question. A University of Washington campus policeman was on the lookout for similar vehicles after the murders and noticed Kohberger’s car in the parking lot of his campus apartment 

Kohberger is a PhD criminology student.  

On November 29, police obtained surveillance footage from the parking lot of Kohberger’s apartment building, some 10 miles from the murder scene, in Pullman, Washington State. 

Moscow Police officers visited the parking lot to obtain a license plate for the vehicle. 

They ran a search, and found multiple incidents in which the car and its owner – Bryan Kohberger – had been pulled over multiple times in the past. 

With Kohberger’s name, police honed in on him and reviewed historic surveillance camera footage, along with phone records, going back several months.  

KOHBERGER STALKED THE VICTIMS’ HOUSE, VISTING 12 TIMES BEFORE THE MURDERS

A study of Kohberger’s phone records and surveillance camera footage from Pullman, WA – where he lived – and Moscow, ID – the murder scene – revealed that he visited the area 12 times at least before November 13, the night of the killings.    

Kohberger had to return to the state of Idaho to be formally charged and served with the search warrants that were used to secure his arrest. 

A police depiction of the route they believe Kohberger took on the night of the murders that was included in the case files 

Those documents are expected to be made public by the Idaho courts either during or after his appearance. 

Kohberger is a PhD student studying criminology. He lived eight miles from the murder scene in student housing on the University of Washington’s Pullman campus. 

Through his public defenders, he has protested his innocence. His family, who hid their faces during a court appearance in Pennsylvania earlier this week, also believe he is innocent. 

Kohberger’s attorney in Idaho previously revealed his eagerness to return to Idaho to learn more about the authorities’ case against him. 

After the November 13 killings, Kohberger and his father, Michael, drove 2,500 miles in a white Hyundai Elantra from Idaho to Pennsylvania. 

WHY DID IT TAKE SO LONG FOR ROOMMATE TO CALL POLICE? 

Dylan Mortensen, the surviving roommate, told police that she saw a masked man leave the house at approximately 4.20am. 

Dylan Mortensen, the surviving roommate, told police that she saw a masked man leave the house at approximately 4.20am. The first 911 call didn’t come in until just before noon

She had heard ‘cries’ coming from her roommates’ rooms, heard Kaylee saying ‘there’s someone here’, and had heard a man saying ‘it’s OK. I’m going to help you.’ 

What remains unclear is why Mortensen waited until after 11am to call 911 and report what she’d seen. 

She has not made any public remark since the murders. 

WHAT WAS THE MOTIVE AND DID HE KNOW THE VICTIMS? 

The two resounding questions that are not answered by the probably cause affidavit are did Kohberger know any of the victims, and what was his alleged motive? 

It was previously revealed that there were ‘connections’ being found between the victims, namely Goncalves, and the suspect, but those connections have not yet been made public. 

The probable cause affidavit lays out the evidence that led police to make an arrest but does not put forth the entire case against Kohberger. 

That will emerge during trial – if the case gets to that stage.  


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