According to an author working on a true-crime book on the University of Idaho slayings of the NYPost.com, the FBI surveillance team entrusted with trailing the University of Idaho murder suspect Bryan Kohberger as he traveled across the country lost him nearly as soon as he started his journey.
The officials planned to closely check the disturbed 28-year-old criminology student and his father as they traveled three days from Pullman, Washington, to their family home in Pennsylvania for Christmas.
However, they lost the culprit nearly as soon as he drove out of his graduate housing parking lot, barely 10 miles from where he was accused of killing four students as they slept in a ruthless massacre on Nov. 13 last year, according to author Howard Blum.
It meant that the “primary suspect in a triple crime that had rocked the nation had seemingly gone” for “several scary hours — or more,” Blum wrote on Air Mail.
According to Blum, law enforcement confessed the potentially deadly blunder “with a prickle of discomfort.”
“It would be a disaster – not just professionally, but also for their personal peace of mind,” Blum wrote, referring to the police’s willingness to arrest him.
Worse, it meant they had lost sight of not just Kohberger, but also his white Hyundai Elantra, which had originally made him a suspect after a car matching that description was observed rushing away from the murder site at 4 a.m.
“They’d lost him even before” the intensive cross-country monitoring operation “could get going,” Blum wrote.
To complicate matters, Kohberger picked an indirect route home, one his 67-year-old father, Michael, would tell a friend seemed to make no sense, according to Blum.
“A tone of fear swiftly developed into one of despair,” Blum said of the FBI squad attempting to follow.
“Then they got fortunate,” he added, adding that authorities tracked down their suspect again when an electronic license plate scanner picked up his automobile in Colorado.
“The possibilities were too hazardous,” he said, fearing that local authorities may identify the automobile from the pleas and capture the culprit too quickly — or that he might be armed or evade arrest.
Instead, the cops failed to notice and let the Kohbergers escape, allowing the agents to ultimately track them down to the Pocono Mountains, where he was apprehended after officers obtained incriminating DNA evidence.
Kohberger’s father had traveled from their hometown to Washington to join his son on the long drive home for the holidays. He is not charged with any of the alleged offenses.
Kohberger was then extradited to Idaho and charged with the murders of Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Ethan Chapin, also 20.
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Kohberbger is being imprisoned at the Moscow, Idaho, jail. He has yet to enter a plea in the matter and will do so at his next court appearance in June.
He has previously stated through his attorneys that he plans to enter a not-guilty plea and is “ready to be exonerated.”