Attorney says Idaho murder victims didn’t know suspect Bryan Kohberger

An attorney for the family of one of the University of Idaho students who was slain in November said victims Kaylee Goncalves and Maddie Mogen didn’t know the suspect, as investigators continued to search for a motive in the killings.

The attorney for the Goncalves’ family said that, as far as he knew, she and Mogen, whom police said died in the same bed during the Nov. 13 stabbing attack, did not know suspect Bryan Kohberger.

Kohberger, 28, faces four charges of first-degree murder in connection with their deaths and the deaths of two others, Ethan Chapin and Xana Kernodle.

“I don’t know of anybody that did know him,” attorney Shanon Gray said on TODAY on Jan. 11.

“All those girls were social. They were involved in the college. They were working hard, waitressing and doing different things. So the idea that he may have ran across their paths I don’t think is uncommon.”

At the time of the slayings, Kohberger was a doctoral student studying criminal justice and criminology at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington. The university is about a 15-minute drive from the University of Idaho campus in Moscow.

Investigators say campus police there identified Kohberger on Nov. 29 after midnight and connected him to a Hyundai Elantra seen near the crime scene.

Students at Washington State are now questioning why the police waited a month to arrest Kohberger, apparently letting him remain on campus until the December break.

“We found out later that he’s literally a student on campus who’s walking around with us,” Washington State student Anne Murphy told TODAY. “It felt like they were trying to keep it from us or something.”

“I will 100% stand behind the way that we handled this investigation,” Moscow Police Chief James Fry said at a news conference on Dec. 30.

Kohberger is set to appear in court again on Jan. 12. The public defender who represented the him in Pennsylvania, where he was held before being extradited to Idaho, told TODAY earlier this month that Kohberger believes he will be exonerated.

The families of the victims continue to search for answers about a motive and remain in frequent contact with investigators.

An 18-page affidavit released last week by the Moscow police shared details about one surviving roommate nearly coming face-to-face with a masked man on the night of the killings, and how DNA left on the knife sheath found at the scene led investigators to Kohberger. There was no information regarding a motive.

Todd McLean, a family friend and former gymnastics coach of Xana Kernodle, one of the four students killed, has struggled to come to terms with the crime.

“I think it comes down to just basically, ‘Why?'” he said on TODAY. “There’s no sense to it.”

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