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Idaho murders victim’s father reveals what he did when he learned of Bryan Kohberger’s arrest

The devastated father of slain University of Idaho student Madison Mogen has revealed that he just “broke down and cried” when he learned that his daughter’s accused killer had been taken into custody by police.

Ben Mogen had been clinging onto hope that the murderer who violently stabbed his daughter to death alongside her friends Kaylee Goncalves, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin would be brought to justice.

Finally, seven weeks on from the 13 November slayings, an investigator broke the news to him that a suspect – Bryan Kohberger – had finally been arrested and charged with their murders.

Mr Mogen spoke out about the moment that he learned about the break in the case on ABC’s “Good Morning America” this week.

“He said, ‘Ben, this is the moment we’ve been waiting for,’” he said the officer told him.

“I just broke down, and I just cried.”

The grieving father said that learning about Mr Kohberger’s arrest felt like “a huge weight that got lifted”.

But, despite his relief, he revealed that he has been unable to bring himself to read the full affidavit for Mr Kohberger’s arrest – a document that outlines chilling new details about the horrific murders and lays out what led investigators to the suspect.

“I could only take so much of that,” he said of the document.

“I still haven’t read the rest of it.”

The affidavit, released last week when Mr Kohberger was extradited to Moscow, Idaho, reveals how his daughter and her best friend Goncalves were found with multiple stab wounds in the same single bed in Mogen’s room.

A knife sheath was found on the bed next to Mogen’s body, left behind by the killer.

Investigators said that Mr Kohberger’s DNA was found on the sheath – matching it to the 28-year-old through the use of a genetic geneology website and comparing it to his father’s DNA recovered from trash seized from the family’s home in Pennsylvania.

Cellphone data also suggests that Mr Kohberger stalked the student home at least 12 times in the run-up to the night of the murders, according to the affidavit. The exact dates and times of these instances were not revealed in the affidavit but all bar one were in the late evening or early morning hours.

Madison Mogen was found dead in the same best as her best friend (Madison Mogen/ Instagram)
Madison Mogen was found dead in the same best as her best friend (Madison Mogen/ Instagram)

At the time of the murders, investigators believe Mr Kohberger turned his cellphone off 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 he returned to the scene of the crime just hours after allegedly murdering the four victims at around 4am.

As well as cellphone data and DNA evidence, the affidavit reveals that a white Hyundai Elantra spotted at the crime scene at the time of the murders was also traced back to the suspect.

One of the victims’ surviving roommates was also able to partially describe the killer to investigators after she came face to face with him in the aftermath of the murders in the early hours of 13 November.

The motive for the murders is unknown and it remains unclear why Mr Kohberger allegedly targeted the victims.

An attorney representing Goncalves’ family said that “no connection” had been found between the four students and the suspect.

Now, the families of the four victims will have to wait at least another six months before they can get more answers about their children’s murders, after his next court date was delayed until June.

Mr Kohberger appeared in Latah County Courthouse for his status hearing on Thursday where he waived his right to a speedy trial.

Mr Kohberger’s public defender Anne Taylor then requested that his next court date be pushed back until June.

The prosecution agreed to the request and the judge scheduled the preliminary hearing for the week beginning 26 June.

The entire week has been set aside for the hearing – when evidence of the case against Mr Kohberger will be laid out for the first time in court and he is likely to enter a plea on the charges.

His request for a delay before the next court appearance came after the defence asked the prosecution to hand over all discovery in the case in the next 14 days - including witness statements, digital media and police reports.

Ms Taylor told the judge that waiving the 14-day deadline would give the defence more time to review all the evidence in the case.

Until then, Mr Kohberger will be held behind bars at Latah County Jail after he was ordered to be held on no bail for a second time.

Mr Kohberger did not enter a plea at Thursday’s hearing – his second appearance in an Idaho court since being extradited from Pennsylvania last week.

However, he is said to be planning to fight against the allegations with Jason LaBar, the attorney who represented in Pennsylvania, saying that Mr Kohberger was “eager to be exonerated”.

His latest court appearance coincided with the start of the spring semester at the University of Idaho, with many students returning to campus this week for the first time since the brutal murders.

Several students spoke out about their relief that the suspect is now behind bars, with sophomore Ryder Paslay telling KXLY that he “breathed [a] sigh of relief” when news broke of Mr Kohberger’s arrest back on 30 December.

“I think a lot of people are a lot happier and in better spirits,” he said.

Bryan Kohberger appears at his status hearing in Moscow on 12 January (REUTERS)
Bryan Kohberger appears at his status hearing in Moscow on 12 January (REUTERS)

As a criminal justice PhD student at Washington State University, Mr Kohberger lived just 15 minutes from the victims over the Idaho-Washington border in Pullman.

He had moved there from Pennsylvania to begin his studies in August and has just completed his first semester.

Before this, he studied criminology at DeSales University – first as an undergraduate and then finishing his graduate studies in June 2022.

While there, he studied under renowned forensic psychologist Katherine Ramsland who interviewed the BTK serial killer and co-wrote the book Confession of a Serial Killer: The Untold Story of Dennis Rader, the BTK Killer with him.

He also carried out a research project “to understand how emotions and psychological traits influence decision-making when committing a crime”.

On 30 December, he was arrested in an early-morning raid on his family home in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania, where he had gone to spend the holidays.

He was extradited back to Idaho and his white Hyundai Elantra was seized by investigators.

The murder weapon – a fixed-blade knife – is yet to be found.

Now, he is facing life in prison or the death penalty for the murders that have rocked the small college town of Moscow and hit headlines around the globe.