Bryan Kohberger followed Idaho murder victims on Instagram, parents claim

The parents of a University of Idaho murder victim believe there is evidence their daughter’s attacker was familiar with her.

In an investigation by CBS News entitled The Night of the Idaho Student Murders that aired on Saturday 16 September, correspondent Peter Van Sant spoke to Steve and Kristi Goncalves, who shared screenshots of what they believe to be the sole murder suspect, Bryan Kohberger’s Instagram account.

Mrs Goncalves revealed she and her husband discovered that Mr Kohberger followed Maddie Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves on the social media platform, and when the couple cross-referenced this account with the profiles of the four victims, it showed he had interacted with Mogen’s Instagram posts.

She told Van Sant: “You would go to Maddie’s Instagram account and look at her pictures, and he liked them. He had liked them. Bryan’s name was under a lot of Maddie’s pictures. Liked her pictures, liked that picture and that picture, and that picture, and that picture. So, he was actively looking at the Instagram account.”

CBS has not been able to authenticate the account or confirm it’s the profile of Mr Kohberger.

The parents also said the account is no longer active, having disappeared after Mr Kohberger’s arrest on 30 December 2022.

The victims, Goncalves, Mogen ( both 21) and Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin (both 20) were stabbed to death at an off-campus residence on 13 November 2022, and police arrived at the scene eight hours after the horrific attack. The murder weapon, a military-style knife, has not yet been recovered.

When news of the murders broke, it left the community struggling to come to terms with the gruesome details, amid fears the murderer was still active. Following a weeks-long manhunt, Mr Kohberger, a 28-year-old Washington State University student, then pursuing a PhD Criminology course, was arrested following a raid on his apartment, office and family home.

In an affidavit acquired by CBS, investigators were revealed to have DNA, cellphone records and surveillance camera evidence linking Mr Kohberger to the crime.

In May, Mr Kohberger was indicted by a grand jury on four counts of first-degree murder and one burglary charge. Appearing at Latah County District Court in Moscow, Idaho, he refused a plea deal, prompting the judge to enter a not guilty plea on his behalf.

Bryan Kohberger, pictured in his booking photo shortly after being arrested on the suspicion of fatally stabbing four University of Idaho students. (Getty)
Bryan Kohberger, pictured in his booking photo shortly after being arrested on the suspicion of fatally stabbing four University of Idaho students. (Getty)

The trial date was initially set for 2 October 2023, but in a surprise move, Mr Kohberger caused it to be delayed indefinitely by waiving his right to a speedy trial.

Despite no date set yet for trial, the case has attracted national attention and on Wednesday 13 September, Latah County District Judge John Judge saw the defence and the prosecution following a request from both parties to restrict cameras in the courtroom.

In a bizarre move, Mr Kohberger is seeking to ban cameras to stop the media from focusing on his crotch, as his attorney Anne Taylor argued, while the prosecution presented their concerns that cameras “will have a substantial chilling effect on the ability of witnesses to openly, fully and candidly testify about some horrible occurrences.”

However while in court, the families of Goncalves and Kernodle broke from prosecutors to request cameras be present to document the trial.

In a statement, they said, “It is important to the victims family, relatives, community members and the public that this veil of secrecy be lifted at the trial. This not only ensures accountability for all the parties involved but also helps the public maintain its faith in the justice system.” The hearing ended with no decision.