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Man in Custody Over Idaho Killings Is Ph.D. Candidate with Interesting Area of Study... Did He Use What He Learned in School?

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For nearly seven weeks, authorities have been stumped by the murder of four college students in Moscow, Idaho.

But a suspect is now in custody in Pennsylvania, and there’s a clue as to how he may have escaped detection for so long: Bryan Christopher Kohberger studied criminal justice.

The 28-year-old Kohberger is listed as a Ph.D. student at Washington State University, which is not far from Moscow, WPLG-TV reported. His area of study perhaps helped him stay ahead of authorities for so long.

But no more. A SWAT team took him into custody in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains on Friday. The Pennsylvania State Police and the FBI were also involved in the arrest.

Moscow, a rural town of 25,000, with 11,000 students at the University of Idaho, was shaken to the core by the Nov. 13 stabbing deaths of Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20, in their rented off-campus home.

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The four students were asleep when attacked, autopsies indicated, with some having defensive wounds. There was no evidence of sexual assault.

Authorities at the bloody crime scene described it as one of the worst they had ever seen.

Police received some 20,000 tips in the case, including 9,000 emails, nearly 4,600 phone calls, and 6,000 contacts through digital media. They did more than 300 interviews regarding the murders, according to WPVI-TV.

The trauma of Moscow’s first murder in seven years resulted in the university moving to online classes for the rest of the semester, with some students leaving early for the safety of their hometowns.

Do you think police have the killer in custody?

Kohberger was arrested in eastern Pennsylvania’s Monroe County. He received his bachelor’s and graduate degrees from DeSales University near Allentown, Pennsylvania, about 40 miles south of where he was apprehended, WPVI reported.

Kohberger appeared before a Pennsylvania judge on Friday morning. The judge ordered his extradition to Idaho to face first-degree murder charges.

The father of one of the victims, Ben Mogen, told The Spokesman-Review last week that he believes justice will ultimately be served in the case.

“From the very beginning, I’ve known that people don’t get away with these things these days,” he said. “There’s too many things that you can get caught up on, like DNA and videos everywhere.”

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Mike Landry, PhD, is a retired business professor. He has been a journalist, broadcaster and church pastor. He writes from Northwest Arkansas on current events and business history.
Mike Landry, PhD, is a retired business professor. He has been a journalist, broadcaster and church pastor. He writes from Northwest Arkansas on current events and business history.




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