University of Idaho victim’s father wants to face suspect

MOSCOW, Idaho — The father of one of four murdered University of Idaho students swore Monday that when the Pennsylvania man charged with the murder finally appears in their courthouse, he and the other parents will be there to look down on it.

“I want him to be sick of seeing us and sick of knowing that these people won’t let it go,” Steve Goncalves said in an interview with NBC News. “You know, it’s a battle of wills and we’ll see who wins.”

Goncalves, whose 21-year-old daughter Kaylee Goncalves was one of the victims, spoke out as investigators prepare to extradite quadruple murder suspect Bryan Christopher Kohberger to Idaho from Pennsylvania, where he was was arrested on Friday.

The grieving father said he had never heard of Kohberger, a 28-year-old doctoral student at nearby Washington State University, until he was arrested in his home state on Friday.

Steve Goncalves, father of Kaylee Goncalves, speaks with NBC News.BNC News

Asked about any dealings Kohberger may have had with the victims, Goncalves’ attorney Shannon Gray said “we’re gathering as much information as we can that might help the investigation.”

“There is a lot of evidence that remains to be uncovered,” Goncalves said.

Kohberger, who is working on a Ph.D. in criminal justice and criminology, was arrested by Pennsylvania State Police seven weeks after the four students were stabbed to death in their bed on November 13.

In addition to Kaylee Goncalves of Rathdrum, Idaho, the other three students killed in the attack were Ethan Chapin, 20, of Conway, Washington; Madison Mogen, 21, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; and Xana Kernodle, 20, of Avondale, Arizona.

So far, no motive for the massacre has been revealed. But Kohberger’s attorney, Jason A. LaBar, the chief public defender for Monroe County, Pa., issued a statement of condolences on behalf of Kohberger’s parents, Michael and Marianne Kohberger, and his sisters, Amanda and Melissa.

Kaylee Goncalves.
Kaylee Goncalves, one of four University of Idaho students found stabbed to death on November 13.@kayleegoncalves via Instagram

The Kohberger family said they are cooperating with investigators but also standing by the suspect.

“Let the legal process unfold and as a family we will love and support our son and our brother,” the statement read in part.

Kohberger will be formally charged with four counts of first-degree murder and burglary for allegedly breaking into the Moscow home when he is returned to Idaho this week. The extradition hearing is on Tuesday and his public defender said he will most likely be returned to Idaho on Tuesday evening.

Two law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation said DNA evidence played a key role in linking the murders to Kohberger. But the probable cause affidavit with details supporting Kohberger’s arrest will remain sealed until it lands in Idaho and is served with the papers in court, authorities said.

It was not immediately clear who would represent Kohberger in Idaho. LaBar is just minding his extradition hearing.

Three of the victims – Goncalves, Mogen and Kernodle – were roommates at the home where they died, police said. Chapin, who was Kernodle’s boyfriend, was spending the night.

Two other housemates who were home at the time were sleeping during the stabbings, detectives said. One of their cell phones was used to call 911 when they woke up in the morning.

The massacre in the small college town made national headlines and resulted in some 19,000 public tips that police said were key to locating Kohberger.

But the Moscow Police Department’s reluctance to release information at the start of the investigation created an information vacuum and generated anxiety and fear among the public.

Moscow Police Chief James Fry later told NBC News that he regretted not being more transparent.

“I took responsibility at the very beginning of not getting into the press and talking about it,” Fry said in a sometimes emotional New Year’s Eve interview. the future. It’s a lesson learned.”

After news of Kohberger’s arrest was announced, Kernodle’s mother, Cara Northington, said Friday that a large weight had been lifted and she did not know the suspect.

“A big part of the heartbreak was not knowing who it was, knowing whoever was responsible is still out there,” she said. “So yeah, that definitely takes a lot of the grief that we used to have off our shoulders.”

But Kohberger remains an enigma to much of the public. In addition to being a doctoral student, he was known to make “scary” and inappropriate comments to employees and customers of a Pennsylvania brewery, the company owner told NBC News on Saturday.

Goncalves said Kohberger’s arrest is the start of “the second chapter” in what has already been a painful saga for his family and those of the families of other victims.

“We make sure we have the right person and we’re all focused on understanding what we’re about to go through,” he said.

“Hopefully everything falls into place and they have a solid case against this guy and we will get a conviction in the future,” added Gray, the attorney.

Gadi Schwartz and Deon J. Hampton reported from Moscow, Idaho, Minyvonne Burke reported from Monroe County, Pennsylvania, and Corky Siemaszko reported from New York.


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