Idaho murder victim’s mom pens touching tribute as siblings return to university after Bryan Kohberger arrest

The mother of one of the four University of Idaho students killed in November has penned a touching post in tribute to her son.

Ethan Chapin’s mother Stacy Wells Chapin remembered her son as a loving and carefree young man who touched countless lives before he was brutally murdered on 13 November. Chapin’s girlfriend, Xana Kernodle, and her roommates, Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves, were also killed in the attack.

The Moscow Police Department, Idaho State Police and the FBI handled the criminal investigation that ultimately led to the Pennsylvania arrest of Washington State University criminal justice PhD student Bryan Kohberger on 30 December. An affidavit for Mr Kohberger’s arrest, released last week after he was extradited to Idaho, revealed that law enforcement found his DNA in a knife sheath left behind next to one of the victim’s bodies.

On Wednesday, Ms Chapin revealed that her two surviving triplets have returned to Moscow. She said she hoped they could now focus on their goals after experiencing the unthinkable tragedy and thanked law enforcement for their diligent work in supporting her family in the aftermath of the murders.

“Yesterday, we successfully dropped them off back at the University of Idaho. Hunter was very glad to be back at the fraternity and Maizie was warming up to the idea but it was so good to hear all of the girls squeal with delight upon seeing her,” Ms Chapin wrote on Facebook Wednesday.

She added: “It did this momma’s heart good to hear it!! The support from the University of Idaho and the MPD/ISP has been profound. Maizie and Hunter are rockstars and we couldn’t be more proud of them. Their job now is just [to] be kids. Start where they left off. Keep goals and aspirations in mind.”

Ethan Chapin’s siblings have returned to the University of Idaho following the arrest of Bryan Kohberger
Ethan Chapin’s siblings have returned to the University of Idaho following the arrest of Bryan Kohberger

The grieving mother went on to fondly remember her son’s “unwavering foundation”

“He loved unconditionally, he was loyal to all, he was inclusive, carefree, happy, just the best person you could ever meet. The stories are endless and amazing. He touched lives we had no idea existed. Ethan was incredible,” she said.

An affidavit, released on 5 January, states that investigators believe that Mr Kohberger stalked the victims’ home at least 12 times prior to the massacre.

Cellphone records show that his phone pinged in the area of the King Road home on at least 12 occasions prior to the time of the murders. The exact dates of these instances were not revealed in the documents but all but one were in the late evening or early morning hours.

One incident was identified on 21 August, when the suspect was stopped by police just minutes from the home.

A citation from Latah County Sheriff’s Office, obtained by The Independent, reveals that the traffic stop took place at around 11.40pm at the intersection of West Pullman Road and Farm Road in Moscow.

The record shows he was stopped for failing to wear his seatbelt – just a short drive from the home on King Road where the victims were murdered.

Investigators believe that Mr Kohberger turned his cell phone off at the time of the murders in order to try to avoid detection.

However, cellphone data places him close to the home on King Road at around 9am on 13 November – suggesting that the suspect returned to the scene of the crime just hours after allegedly murdering the four victims at around 4am.

Ethan Chapin, 20, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, took this photo together hours before they died (Instagram/Kaylee Goncalves)
Ethan Chapin, 20, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, took this photo together hours before they died (Instagram/Kaylee Goncalves)

A white Hyundai Elantra spotted at the crime scene at the time of the murders was also traced back to the suspect, the affidavit reveals.

At the time of the murders, two roommates were also in the student home but were left unharmed.

The grim scene went undiscovered for around eight hours after the murders – which police believe occurred between 4am and 4.25am.

It was around midday when a 911 call was finally made to report an unconscious person inside the home. Police officers arrived to find the bloody scene.

The affidavit has now revealed for the first time that one of the surviving roommates came face to face with the masked killer as he left the home after killing her four friends.

In her terrifying account to investigators, the roommate, identified as D.M. in the documents, revealed that she heard the killer inside the home and heard what sounded like crying coming from one of her roommates.

At one point she heard a woman’s voice – believed to be either Goncalves or Kernodle – saying something to the effect of “there’s someone here”, before hearing a man’s voice saying “it’s ok, I’m going to help you”.

Mr Kohberger is accused of the murders
Mr Kohberger is accused of the murders

She then had a lucky escape as she opened her door to see what was happening to see “a figure clad in black clothing and a mask that covered the person’s mouth and nose walking towards her”.

The man, who had bushy eyebrows and was around 5’10” tall walked right past her and headed toward the back sliding glass door of the home, while she stood in a “frozen shock phase”.

Mr Kohberger, who faces life in prison or the death penalty if convicted, is next scheduled to appear for a status hearing on Thursday morning.