A criminology PhD student accused of murdering four University of Idaho students allegedly made “creepy” comments to staff at a brewery before his arrest.
Washington University grad student Bryan Christopher Kohberger, 28, was taken into custody in Pennsylvania early Friday in connection to the murders of Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin following an investigation by the Moscow Police Department, the FBI and Idaho State Police.
Mr Kohberger resided near the Pullman campus but had returned to Pennsylvania to spend the holidays with his family.
Thirty-four-year-old Jordan Serulnec, who owns Seven Sirens Brewing Company in Bethlehem, PA, told NBC News in a report published this weekend that Mr Kohberger was known for making inappropriate comments to female customers and staff.
The business has a system that allows staff to add notes to customers’ profiles when their IDs are scanned. After he read what his employees had written about Mr Kohberger, Mr Serulnec decided to confront the now-accused murderer.
“Staff put in there, ‘Hey, this guy makes creepy comments, keep an eye on him. He’ll have two or three beers and then just get a little too comfortable,’” Mr Serulnec told NBC.
He added: “I went up to him and I said, ‘Hey Bryan, welcome back. We appreciate you coming back. … I just wanted to talk to you real quick and make sure that you’re going to be respectful this time and we’re not going to have any issues.’ And he was completely taken aback. He was shocked that I was saying that, and he said, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about. You totally have me confused.’”
Mr Serulnec went on to say that Mr Kohberger would become upset if women at the business rejected his romantic advances. In one specific instance, he called a staff member a “disparaging term” when she didn’t answer his questions.
Those incidents happened months ago, and Mr Kohberger did not return to the business after he was confronted, Mr Serulnec told NBC.
Former friends of Mr Kohberger have described him as academically gifted and at times socially awkward. They’ve also come forward with details about his personality and his troubled past allegedly marked by heroin addiction and weight struggles.
“It was bad,” Mr Kohberger’s former high school classmate Sara Healey told Fox News Digital on Friday. “There was definitely something off about him, like we couldn’t tell exactly what it was. I remember one time when I was walking in the hallway, and he stopped me and was like, ‘Do you want to hang out?’”
She added: “But Bryan was bullied a lot, and I never got a chance to say something to defend him, because he would always run away.”
Despite his struggles, Mr Kohberger was very intelligent and always had good grades, Ms Healey said. She added that Mr Kohberger was often rejected and bullied by females, leading her to believe it was that internal frustration which ultimately led to his alleged involvement in the Moscow attack.
Mr Kohberger is a PhD graduate student in the criminal justice and criminology department in Pullman, Washington, around nine miles west of Moscow, where the students lived and were murdered.
Pullman is around nine miles (15kms) west of Moscow, Idaho, where the students lived.
Moscow police Chief Fry on Friday said he was prevented by state law from revealing what tipped police off to Kohberger’s arrest until the suspect has been extradited to Idaho.
“We have an individual in custody who committed these horrible crimes, and I believe the community is safe,” Mr Fry said.
Moscow Police said that more information about the circumstances leading up to the arrest would be released once Mr Kohberger appears in court in Idaho, as his arrest warrant will remain sealed until then following state law.
Mr Kohbrger’s attorney Monroe County Chief Public Defender Jason LaBar has since revealed that the University of Washington PhD criminology student intends to waive his 3 January extradition hearing in the Keystone state to expedite his return to Idaho.
“Mr Kohberger is eager to be exonerated of these charges and looks forward to resolving these matters as promptly as possible,” Mr LaBar told CNN in a statement.