Monday marks one year since four University of Idaho students were stabbed to death in a gruesome home invasion that sparked intrigue from people across the country.
In the early hours of November 13, 2022, roommates Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen and Xana Kernodle and Kernodle’s boyfriend Ethan Chapin were killed inside the girls’ off-campus house in Moscow, Idaho. Two other roommates survived.
After an intensive six-week search for a suspect, 28-year-old Bryan Kohberger, a criminology Ph.D. student at nearby Washington State University, was arrested on December 30 at his family’s home in Pennsylvania.
Here’s what you need to know as the case against Kohberger moves forward:
The shocking crime
One of the surviving roommates said she woke up around 4 on Nov. 13, 2022, by what sounded like Goncalves playing with his dog in one of the third-floor bedrooms, according to court documents.
“Shortly after that, the roommate said that ‘she heard who she thought was Goncalves say something about ‘there’s someone here,'” the documents said. But it could have been Kernodle on her phone because records showed that she was on TikTok around 4:12 a.m., the statement said.
The roommate said “she looked out of her bedroom but saw nothing when she heard the comment that someone was in the house,” the documents said. “She opened her door once more when she heard what she thought was crying from Kernodle’s room.”
The roommate “then said she heard a male voice say something along the lines of ‘it’s ok, I’ll help you,'” according to the documents.
The roommate said she opened her door again after hearing the crying — and saw a “figure dressed in black clothing and a mask covering the subject’s mouth and nose walking toward her,” who she described as “5’10” or taller, male, not very muscular but athletically built with bushy eyebrows,” and who “walked past” her “toward the rear sliding glass door” as the roommate stood in “frozen shock,” according to a police affidavit.
Who were the victims?
Kaylee Goncalves, 21, and Madison Mogen, 21, were lifelong best friends and inseparable. Goncalves was scheduled to graduate in December 2022 and move to Texas.
Goncalves’ sister, Alivea Goncalves, also considered Mogen a sister. She said she was comforted that the best friends were in the same bed together in their final moments.
“If I couldn’t have been there to hold their hands and take that pain away from them, at least they had each other,” she told ABC News.
The other two victims were 20-year-old Xana Kernodle and her boyfriend, 20-year-old Ethan Chapin.
Chapin was a triplet. His brother and sister also attend the University of Idaho.
Chapin and Kernodle were the “perfect couple” who had an “unstoppable, loving relationship,” a surviving roommate said in a statement in December.
“They would both look at each other with so much love,” she said.
After the victims were discovered, authorities reviewed surveillance video from the area and saw the suspect’s white Hyundai Elantra pass the victims’ house three times before entering the area a fourth time at 4:04 a.m., according to the affidavit.
Police said they traced the car’s journey that night back to nearby Pullman, Wash., where the suspect lived while attending Washington State.
Kohberger’s phone was tracked en route to Moscow before the attack and when the driver of the white Elantra returned to Pullman. However, the phone was off from 2:47 a.m. to 4:48 a.m., which “is consistent with Kohberger’s attempt to conceal his location during the quadruple homicide,” the document states.
His phone was near the victims’ house at least 12 times before the murders, at least as far back as August, the document said.
According to the documents, DNA from the suspect was also found on a knife sheath left on Mogen’s bed.
Where does the case stand?
Kohberger is charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of burglary. He faces the death penalty if convicted.
The former Ph.D. student declined to enter a plea at his May arraignment, so the judge entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.
Kohberger’s attorneys have said their client was not at the home where the killings took place and that they were driving around alone that night.
In August, Kohberger waived his right to a speedy trial, indefinitely delaying what was supposed to be an Oct. 2 start date.
A new trial date has not been set.
What possible obstacles are ahead during the experiment?
The DNA found on the buttonhole of the knife sheath found near Mogen’s body is a critical key for the prosecution in a largely circumstantial case.
That DNA, authorities argued, undeniably links Kohberger to the crime scene, saying the DNA “showed a statistical match” with a cheek swab taken directly from Kohberger after his arrest.
Kohberger’s lawyers have tried to cast doubt on the strength of the investigators’ evidence and whether it irrefutably pointed to their particular client, including the DNA. The defense has repeatedly asked for more information about the genealogical analyzes used to zero in on Kohberger and has pushed back on investigators’ analysis that the DNA is a statistical match.
Kohberger’s attorneys also highlight what they called a “total lack of DNA evidence” from the victims in Kohberger’s home or car.
“There are so many layers that make this an extraordinary case — and the defense will attack any aspect of it that they see as vulnerable,” David Calviello, a former New Jersey prosecutor who is now a criminal defense attorney, told ABC. News in August. “It makes sense for them to take pictures of how certain evidence was presented to the grand jury — whether there were missing steps, cut corners, chain of custody issues, contamination — or not.”
The knife used in the murders has not been found.
A series of now-unsealed search warrant documents show that investigators searched for records of Amazon purchases and click history data for an Amazon customer, including “all detailed customer click activity related to knives and accessories,” as well as a long list of information that could be filled. out of the customer’s full shopping movements and interests on the site, such as items that were on the wish list or saved for later. If prosecutors can link Kohberger to the purchase of a knife that could have been used in the killings, experts say it could help strengthen their case.
What will happen to the house?
The University of Idaho announced in February that the house where the four students were killed would be demolished, and university president Scott Green called it “a healing step.”
In June, a university spokesman said the school planned to demolish the building before students returned to campus in the fall.
In July, the university announced an abrupt halt to the demolition plans as they removed asbestos and lead from the home — and amid objections from some of the victims’ families, who expressed concern that demolishing the house before Kohberger’s trial could cause unexpected problems for prosecutors. as they try to secure a guilty verdict.
About two weeks after Kohberger waived his right to a speedy trial in August, university officials decided they would wait to demolish the house until at least the end of the fall semester, which ends in mid-December .
With no new trial date set, prosecutors asked the University of Idaho for access to the house.
The university said FBI agents would be at the house on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 “to obtain documentation to construct visual and audio exhibits and a physical model of the home.”
“While the university still intends to demolish the building, it will not be done this semester,” the university said on Oct. 31.
Ethan Chapin, who was a triplet, had been planning his 21st birthday with his siblings “forever,” his parents said. Last month his brother, Hunter, and sister, Maizie, turned 21 without him.
As the Chapins face a year without Ethan, they said they plan to recognize Nov. 13 with a private fundraiser for their foundation, Ethan’s Smile Foundation, to help provide scholarships for students after high school to follow their dreams. The Chapins said they can’t think of a better way to honor their son than to support education.
“Ethan represented love, kindness, laughter and loyalty,” his mother, Stacy Chapin, told ABC News. “He was the very best.”
Kaylee Goncalves’ father, Steve Goncalves, said Kaylee’s younger siblings are now struggling with their own birthdays. He said “they will not be older than their sister.”
For Steve Goncalves, November 13 is not a special day.
“This is more like a memorial — kind of an event that you have to look at and think about, but it’s not something you ever look forward to,” he told ABC News.
“My daughter has given me the opportunity to meet people all over the world through her life and memory and her beauty. And I will thank her one day when I see her,” said Steve Goncalves. “I want to tell her how much she impacted the world and how proud I am of her.”
FOLLOW THE PODCAST: “The King Road Killings: An Idaho Murder Mystery” from ABC News, available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music or your favorite podcast player.
ABC News’ Kayna Whitworth, Nick Cirone and Timmy Truong contributed to this report.