Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
absolutvision WYd PkCa1BY unsplash?width=719&height=464&fit=crop&auto=webp
absolutvision WYd PkCa1BY unsplash?width=398&height=256&fit=crop&auto=webp
/ Unsplash
Culture > News

Crime Update: The Idaho Murders

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wisconsin chapter.

A summary of what is known about the crime that shook the Midwest

Trigger Warning: Mentions of murder/homicide

On November 13, 2022, four college students were stabbed to death in their home in Moscow, Idaho, in the middle of the night. This senseless attack was the talk of the nation for months before the case was resolved and the killer was brought to justice. Now, I’m sure most readers know the general details about this tragedy,  but now that the Tik Tok conspiracy theories have faded away, it’s time to put to rest what we really know about the quadruple homicide. 

Firstly, let’s give our attention to the victims. Kaylee Goncalves and Madison Mogan, both 21, and Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin, both 20. Chapin and Kernodle were dating at the time, and Mogan and Goncalves were lifelong best friends. All four students were attending the University of Idaho at the time. All four students were out that evening, and returned home between 1 and 2 am, just a mere two hours before they were killed. Ethan was sleeping over at Xana and her roommates’ house that night. We know that Kernodle picked up a Door Dash order at the house around 4 am, so she was likely awake during the attacks. A personal opinion, but I would bet that if Xana was awake, Ethan would have been awake too. Finally, we know that at least Kaylee was awake as well, due to a terrifying testimony by one of the surviving roommates who saw the attacker. She claims that at around 4 am she heard Goncalves say, “There’s someone here”, and a man’s voice say something like, “It’s okay, I’m going to help you.” Sick. 

In addition, a security camera that was 50 feet from Kernodle’s room picked up sounds of crying and a “loud thud” at around 4:17 am. We know that the bodies were discovered on the second and third floor. Being that the sliding glass door through which the killer allegedly entered was on the second floor, it is likely that those on the second floor were killed first. Worse yet, it seems that Maddie and Kaylee were discovered in the same bed. Another shocking detail that was recently released from this case describes how the surviving roommate who originally heard Kaylee allegedly saw the killer in a mask and black clothes walk past her room with a “blank stare”.  She claimed she just went into her room and shut the door after that, too scared to move. Police were called later that morning to respond to the scene, with reports of an unconscious person at the home. The victims were killed after being stabbed many times as if in a fit of rage, and they died almost instantly, (hopefully) without much suffering. Horrifying, and my heart is with these victims and their families. I absolutely cannot imagine. 

Moving onto the killer himself: a man named Brian Kohberger, who is a 28-year-old CRIMINOLOGY PHD student at a nearby university. Yeah, criminology. The motive? As of now, it remains unknown, and the families of the victims claim to have no knowledge of who this man is. Could it have been random? Could he have developed an unhealthy obsession with one of the victims? Or, a scary thought, but could Brian have dedicated his life to learning how to commit the perfect crime? Clearly not perfect, because he currently has been charged with all four murders. Now, as for how he was caught: police saw on surveillance video Brian’s car driving past the house three times that night, and a fourth time at 4:04 am. His phone was also tracked, and it was suspiciously turned off from the hours of 2:47 to 4:48 am. The final kicker? A piece of garbage collected from the Kohberger home in Washington was matched with DNA found on a knife sheath that was collected at the scene. The knife itself was never found, but the DNA evidence was enough for Brian to be arrested for the quadruple murder on December 30, 2022; at his family home in Pennsylvania. He has not currently entered a plea. 

This was a frightening case to hear about as a college student myself, and it sickens me that there are people out there capable of such an act. I’m a crime fiend myself, so I wanted to write about this case, but in no way am I trying to glamorize the trauma that these families and the survivors have gone through. I hope that the victims get the justice they deserve, and I hope that he rots in hell. 

Her Campus Placeholder Avatar
Frankie Tarlizzo

Wisconsin '25

hello:) my name is Frankie Tarlizzo, and I’m from Scandia, Minnesota. I go to the university of Wisconsin Madison as a sophomore this year, planning to major in psychology and criminal justice. I love to write, and I have a lot of useless opinions, so I’m very excited to have somewhere to put them now! Hope you enjoy!