The murder of four University of Idaho students has sent shockwaves through the Idaho community and the nation.
Now, investigators are piecing together evidence that suggests Bryan Kohberger, the 28-year-old Ph.D. criminology student at Washington State University, may have had contact with one of the victims weeks before the quadruple slaying.
According to a law enforcement official close to the case, Kohberger allegedly reached out to one of the female victims multiple times over Instagram in an attempt to get her attention.
The official said that Kohberger sent her “hey, how are you?” messages, but she never responded. It is still unclear which student he messaged or if she deliberately ignored his messages, or if they went into her “requested” folder from people she wasn’t friends with.
The official also stated that Kohberger was “definitely persistent” in his messages to the University of Idaho student, leading some to wonder if he became upset by the lack of response. However, the source said there is no indication that he was getting frustrated with her lack of response.
Adding to the mystery is the fact that victim Kaylee Goncalves had reportedly complained of a stalker in the weeks leading up to the killings. It is still unknown, however, if there is any link between this and her murder or if Kohberger was the one who had been stalking her.
Kohberger was arrested in December at his family’s home in Albrightsville, Pennsylvania, and has maintained his innocence in the stabbings of Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Madison Mogen, 21, Ethan Chapin, 20, and Xana Kernodle, 20.
Investigators have since linked his father’s DNA to a knife sheath recovered from the crime scene and traced his cellphone pings to a nearby tower in the weeks leading up to the stabbings.
Though some experts have noted that the proximity of Kohberger’s school to the off-campus home where the victims lived could explain the pings, it’s still unclear what his motive was. Many questions remain unanswered, and it may be some time before the full picture of what happened is revealed.
Kohberger has not entered a plea, and his next hearing is scheduled for June.