Authorities are delving into the digital footprint of Bryan Kohberger, the prime suspect in the murder of four Idaho college students, in their relentless pursuit of justice. Recent court documents have shed light on search warrant applications targeting Kohberger’s online activities, as well as the social media accounts of the victims. Prosecutors firmly believe that these records hold the potential to uncover crucial evidence regarding the November killings of Kaylee Goncalves, Xana Kernodle, Ethan Chapin, and Madison Mogen at their off-campus residence in Moscow, Idaho.
While the precise information obtained through the warrants remains undisclosed, the documents confirm that prosecutors have initiated an extensive examination of Kohberger’s online presence and potential links to the victims and the crimes he stands accused of committing.
Renowned Chicago Reporter News contributor and retired Chief of Detectives in the New York Police Department, Robert Boyce, stressed that the arrest of a suspect is just the beginning of a case. He explained that investigators are driven to uncover what Kohberger was searching for, what he was discussing, and with whom, both under his real identity and any assumed online personas.
Bryan Kohberger, 28, was indicted last month on multiple charges, including four counts of first-degree murder and one count of burglary. During his arraignment, Kohberger declined to enter a plea, prompting the judge to enter a not-guilty plea on his behalf. The trial is scheduled to commence on October 2.
According to prosecutors, the tragic incident unfolded in the early hours of November 13, 2022, when Kohberger, a Ph.D. student in Washington State University’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, broke into an off-campus residence and allegedly stabbed to death four University of Idaho students: Ethan Chapin, 20; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21.
The arrest of Kohberger came after an intensive six-week investigation during which authorities tracked his white Hyundai Elantra and analyzed his cell phone signal data. Additionally, they discovered what is believed to be his DNA on a knife sheath found near one of the victims’ bodies. However, the murder weapon itself has not yet been recovered. Kohberger was apprehended on December 30 while driving from Washington to his family home in Albrightsville, Pennsylvania.
Bryan Kohberger’s Digital Footprint
Among the newly disclosed documents are search warrant applications targeting Kohberger’s accounts on Reddit, Google, and TikTok, as well as the Snapchat accounts of the four victims. Investigators have accessed information from Kohberger’s Reddit account, including public posts, private messages, saved files, photos, and location data.
Regarding Kohberger’s Google account, the filings indicate that investigators have extracted a wealth of information, including emails (including drafts and trash), “hangouts” and “chats” (including photos), Google Drive documents, spreadsheets, presentations, associated metadata, search history, calendar events, contacts, Google Play purchases, and Google Pay transactions. This comprehensive data collection aims to create a psychological profile of the suspect, as well as identify any relevant evidence.
The investigators have also acquired additional AT&T records for an unknown subscriber during a specific timeframe, including messages, files, logs, and deleted information that may still be accessible. This includes cell tower pings that transmitted outgoing and incoming calls. Previous court documents have indicated that cell tower data was instrumental in linking Kohberger to the crime scene.
Furthermore, records from “Strava,” an internet service focused on tracking physical exercise and performance sharing, were obtained, which encompassed biometric information, exercise data, session logs, geolocation data, contacts, and photos. Although the names and accounts obtained were redacted, the search warrant application clarifies that these records are relevant to the investigation into the students’ murders.
Importance of Technological Evidence
Undoubtedly, this case involves significant technological elements. The utilization of digital evidence is an evolving and crucial aspect of modern investigations, as it provides irrefutable and unbiased information free from human error. Robert Boyce emphasized the significance of these records, stating that they might not provide a single smoking gun but could collectively form overwhelming circumstantial evidence.
Building a Psychological Profile
By scrutinizing Bryan Kohberger’s online behavior, purchases, communication patterns, and location data, investigators aim to develop a psychological profile of the suspect. This profile will aid in establishing his state of mind, potential motives, and potential connections to the victims.