Idaho murders: Suspect was identified through DNA using genealogy databases, police say

Police have identified Brian Christopher Coberger as the suspect in the murder of four University of Idaho students in November by DNA using a public genealogy database, law enforcement sources told ABC News.

Local police and the FBI tracked him to Pennsylvania via his vehicle. The FBI monitored his home in the Pocono Mountains four days before his arrest.

A 28-year-old man was arrested Friday morning in the murder of his roommate, Cary Goncalves, 21. Madison Morgen, 21 years old. Xana Kernodle, 20, and her boyfriend Ethan Chapin, 20, who is Kernodle’s boyfriend.

Koberger is a graduate student at Washington State University, less than 10 miles (10 miles) from the University of Idaho, Moscow police chief James Fry said at a news conference on Friday.

The murder weapon has not been recovered, the chief said.

This photo courtesy of the Monroe County, Pennsylvania Correctional Facility shows Brian Coberger. According to Pennsylvania State Police filing his arrest papers in Monroe County Court on December 30, 2022, Coberger, 28, is currently under arrest in a murder investigation that killed four University of Idaho students. It was requested to be handed over based on the conditions. He was charged with first degree murder issued by the Moscow Police Department and the Lata County Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Monroe County (Pennsylvania) Correctional Facility via AP

Washington State University recognizes Coberger as a Ph.D. Criminal Justice and Criminology students. He completed the first semester of his criminal justice program earlier this month, according to the university.

Fry said more than 400 calls were made to the Moscow police hotline within an hour of Koberger being identified as a suspect.

Coberger will appear in Monroe County Court to face charges including four counts of first-degree murder and robbery.

This is also the first step of extradition to Idaho, where he will reappear.

Monroe County Chief Public Defender Jason Lover, who is representing the suspects, previously said Coberger “will be waiving an extradition hearing in order to expedite his transfer to Idaho.” I am eager to be absolved of all charges and look forward to resolving these issues.” as soon as possible. “

Police say they can’t release any information, including motives or details for tracking Coberger, until he returns to Idaho.

Many of the details of the case remain a mystery, including the underlying motive for the murder and how Coberger knew the victim.

Photo: A photo posted by Kaylee Goncalves just a few days ago shows University of Idaho students Ethan Chapin, Xana Kernodle, Madison Mogen, and Goncalves.  On November 13, 2022, the four were found dead in their off-campus home.

A photo Kaylee Goncalves posted a few days ago shows University of Idaho students Ethan Chapin, Xana Kernodle, Madison Mogen, and Goncalves. On November 13, 2022, the four were found dead in their off-campus home.

Cary Goncalves/Instagram

Authorities said earlier this month that they were trying to speak to the driver of a white 2011-2013 Hyundai Elantra that was found near the victim’s home at the time of the crime.

At a press conference on Friday, when asked if the car had been found, Chief replied, “We found the Elantra.”

Frye later told ABC News Saturday that Coberger was believed to be the sole suspect in the high-profile case, officials said.

“We believe there is a man who committed these murders,” he said, adding that he did not expect any additional arrests.

Prior to attending Washington State University, Coberger attended college at DeSales University, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 2020 and completing graduate school in June 2022.

“As the Catholic Salesian community, we are devastated by this senseless tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims during this difficult time,” the university said after his arrest. said in a statement.

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