The suspect in the November slayings of four University of Idaho students was pulled over twice while driving in Indiana and let off with a warning by both a sheriff’s deputy and state trooper more than two weeks before his arrest in Pennsylvania. .
On December 15, at about 10:40 am, a Hancock County Sheriff’s Office deputy pulled over a white Hyundai Elantra on I-70 in Indiana. Authorities said the Hyundai was stopped just east of the rest park near the 107-mile marker.
The Sheriff’s Office said two men were inside the Elantra and identified the driver as 28-year-old Bryan Kohberger and the passenger as his father, Michael Kohberger. The father and son were let go with a warning for following another car too closely.
“At the time of the traffic stop, no information was available on a suspect in the crimes in Idaho, to include identifying information or any specific information related to the status of the license plate or number of the white Hyundai Elantra that was being reported. in the media of being seen in the vicinity of where the crime occurred,” a spokesperson for the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office wrote.
Recordings from body cameras captured the encounter. The Hancock County Sheriff’s Office initially said it would not release them because they were part of a criminal investigation. He later posted the images after confirming with police that it would not hurt the case against Kohberger.
In the video, Kohberger and his father answer the deputy’s questions and tell him about an alleged shooting between police and a gunman near the Washington State University campus, where Kohberger was a doctoral student and teaching assistant. .
Kohberger and her father told the agent that the incident had delayed them leaving campus and that they were heading to the Pocono Mountains together.
“We’re a little nervous because we’ve been driving for hours,” Kohberger’s father says in the video.
Just minutes after the deputy let him go, Kohberger was pulled over again around 10:50 a.m. on I-70, this time by an Indiana state trooper, in an exchange that was also captured by a body camera. According to authorities, Kohberger was again following a vehicle too closely.
After speaking with the men for a few minutes, the police officer also let them go with a verbal warning, having learned that they had been detained minutes earlier by the deputy.
“At the time of this stop, no information was available on a suspect in the crime in Idaho, to include identifying information or any specific information related to the status of the license plate or number of the white Hyundai Elantra that was being reported in the media. communication of being seen in or around where the crime occurred,” an Indiana State Police spokesperson wrote.
The December 15 traffic stops came more than a month after Kohberger allegedly murdered four University of Idaho students.
Kaylee Goncalves, 21, of Rathdrum, Idaho; Madison Mogen, 21, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Xana Kernodle, 20, of Post Falls, Idaho; and Ethan Chapin, 20, of Conway, Washington, were stabbed to death in a rental home near the Moscow, Idaho, campus sometime in the early hours of November 13. They were close friends and members of the Greek system at the university.
Mogen, Goncalves, and Kernodle lived in the three-story rental house with two other roommates. Kernodle and Chapin were dating, and he had been visiting the house that night.
DNA testing played a key role in identifying Kohberger as a suspect, and authorities were able to match his DNA to genetic material recovered during the investigation, a law enforcement official said last week. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly discuss details of the ongoing investigation.
Investigators have said they are still looking for a murder weapon and motive for the killings.
Kohberger was taken into custody early Friday by state police at his parents’ home in eastern Pennsylvania, authorities said.
Kohberger agreed Tuesday to be extradited from Pennsylvania to face charges in Idaho. He left Pennsylvania to fly to Idaho on Wednesday.