The grieving families of two of the four slain University of Idaho students have opened up about a breakthrough arrest in the murder investigation.
Bryan Christopher Kohberger, 28, was arrested by FBI agents and officers of the Pennsylvania State Police near the Pocono Mountains early Friday morning, according to documents obtained by The Independent.
The Washington State University PhD student is being held for extradition in the murder of Madison Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin, in an off-campus student home in Moscow, Idaho, on 13 November.
Reacting to the arrest complaint issued by the Moscow Police Department and Latah County Prosecutor’s Office, Goncalves’ father Steve Goncalves told Fox News on Friday that it was the “first joy” his family had experienced in a while.
“To me and my family, it feels like the first joy that we have had in seven days, because it really is,” Mr Goncalves said while appearing on The Five. “You can’t even smile when you have this over your head. And it feels like a little bit of weight has been relieved, and things are on the right track, and we’re moving in the right direction.”
He added: “I want to commend those police officers in everything that they have done, because it has been very difficult to work with all the media, especially me being so vocal.”
Chapin’s mother Stacy Chapin also shared her gratitude for Idaho State Police, Moscow Police and the FBI’s investigative efforts.
“We are relieved this chapter is over because it provides a form of closure. However, it doesn’t alter the outcome or alleviate the pain. We miss Ethan, and our family is forever changed,” Stacy Chapin said in a Facebook post.
“Over the last seven weeks, we stood by the Moscow Police Department, FBI, and Idaho State Police, confident they would solve this crime. So, when we received the phone call last night, we congratulated them for their diligent work and service.”
Ms Chapin went on to thank the University of Idaho and her son’s fraternity Sigma Chi for the support.
“We also appreciate the outpouring of kind words from so many others, which we’ll need as we enter the next chapter of this nightmare,” Ms Chapin said. “Today, we marvel at the continued stories about Ethan and the lives he touched in his short 20 years. If we all lived and loved as Ethan did, the world would be a better place.”
The breakthrough arrest came on the same day that the families of Mogen and Goncalves had prepared a celebration of life for them.
Moscow investigators had remained tight-lipped about developments in the case, often citing the integrity of the information as the reasoning behind the measure. However, many doubted that the real reason behind information not being released was the department’s small size and “lack of experience.”
Even after Mr Kohberger was arrested in the early morning hours of Friday, the department has yet to reveal whether the suspect knew the victims and other specifics of the case.
Chief James Fry said that more information will be released when Mr Kohberger has his first court appearance in Idaho.
Pennsylvania State Police and the FBI arrested the 28-year-old suspect in the Scranton area in the early hours of Friday morning and found a white Hyundai Elantra at the scene, NBC New York reported.
Mr Kohberger is a PHD criminology student at Washington State University, which is around 10 miles from the scene of the crime.
He is the first person to be arrested in connection with the murders and is being held at the Monroe County Prison in Pennsylvania pending his extradition to Idaho, which a judge ordered on Friday.
Police appear to have ruled out a second suspect in the killings.
“We have an individual in custody who committed these horrible crimes and I do believe our community is safe, but we still need to be vigilant,” Moscow police chief James Fry said during a press conference on Friday.
The Moscow Police Department says it had more than 13,000 tips in the case as well as thousands of digital media submissions to comb through.