A murder victim at the University of Idaho attempted to flee alleged killer Bryan Kohberger but was ‘trapped’ by a friend’s body: family
The parents of one of the University of Idaho students slain in a triple stabbing at an off-campus residence last autumn allege their daughter attempted to flee the assailant but was trapped by the suspect and the layout of the bedroom where she died.
“There’s evidence to show that she awoke and tried to get out of that situation, [but] she was assaulted and stabbed,” Steve Goncalves said of his daughter, Kaylee Goncalves, to CBS News’ Peter Van Sant.
Kaylee, 21, was murdered in the early hours of November 13, 2022, with her closest friend Madison “Maddie” Mogen, 21, housemate Xana Kernodle, 20, and Kernodle’s boyfriend, Ethan Chapin, 20.
Kaylee and Maddie were discovered dead next to each other in the latter’s bed, according to Kaylee’s mother, Kristi Goncalves, in a preview of the upcoming “48 Hours” program, “The Night of the Idaho Murders.”
According to the coroner’s assessment, Maddie was most likely the killer’s first victim.
When the intruder turned on Kaylee, she was trapped between her friend’s corpse and the wall, Kristi explained.
“The bed was leaning against the wall.” The headboard and the left side of the bed were both touching the wall. “And we believe Maddie was on the outside while Kaylee was on the inside,” the bereaved mother revealed.
“Because of the way the bed was set up, [Kaylee] was trapped.”
Kristi thought that the killer may have been astonished to see the two pals in the same bed.
“I believe his strategy went astray. “I do believe he intended to kill one and killed four,” she explained.
Jeffrey Kernodle, Kernodle’s father, told Van Sant that he believed allegations that his daughter fought back against her assailant.
“I think so… “Thinking about it makes me sad,” he said.
“I don’t know why [the murders] happened,” Jazzmin Kernodle, Xana’s sister, continued.
“I wish we had known. They were all such wonderful people who had such an influence on the lives of those around them.”
While the Kernodle family has been relatively quiet, the Goncalveses — whose oldest daughter, Alivea, was also featured in the show — have been public about the inquiry since the day the crimes were discovered.
“We’re not going to sit back and cross our fingers and hope for justice,” stated Steve, who often slammed police enforcement in the weeks leading up to the arrest of the key suspect, Bryan Kohberger, 28, on Dec. 30.
Steve and Kristi both agreed with the prosecution’s argument that Kohberger followed the friends’ rental property near the Moscow campus previous to the stabbings during their conversation with Van Sant.
“He had to know when people were coming when people were going,” Steve said of Kohberger, whose phone records indicated that he made frequent excursions to the neighborhood around the house in the months leading up to the killings.
“I believe he opened the door [to the house], went in, tested the waters, and looked around,” Kristi concurred.
The family claims to have discovered Kohberger’s Instagram account, which revealed that he followed both Kaylee and Maddie.
“From our investigation of the account, it appeared to be the real Bryan Kohberger account,” Kristi claimed.
However, Kohberger’s defense team has frequently refuted assertions that the aspiring criminologist knew the victims.
“There is no connection between Mr. Kohberger and the victims,” Howard Blum, an investigative journalist, told Van Sant.
“The prosecution wants everyone to assume that this is a simple case… But I believe the evidence they have makes the case more open than closed.”
Blum noted that if Latah County prosecutors are unable to prove a link between Kohberger and his claimed victims, “then there is no motive.” And if there is no motivation, it becomes very difficult to prove that he is the murderer.”
According to Blum, the purported cellphone evidence is strong, but “it’s not putting someone on someone’s doorstep, it’s putting… someone in someone’s neighborhood.” And there is a significant difference.”
“And if you can persuade a jury of this if you can cast doubt on the validity and accuracy of the cellphone data, I think you’re halfway to getting the case against Kohberger, either a hung jury — or a not guilty verdict,” he said.
While most high-profile cases are under gag order, even some legal professionals have cast doubt on what was once thought to be a potentially closed case.
“I don’t think there’s any slam dunk,” Bryanna Fox, a former FBI special agent and professor of criminology at the University of South Florida, said in the CBS production.
According to Fox, the defense is already questioning several aspects of the evidence against Kohberger, including claiming that the reported film of his Hyundai Elantra near the site of the murder was mistaken.
“It appears that the defense is alleging a rush to judgment, that law enforcement made an arrest too quickly, and that they focused too quickly on their client,” she stated.
Kohberger was apprehended in late December at his parents’ Pennsylvania home, over two months after the triple murder.
In Latah County, he is being held on four charges of first-degree murder and one count of felony burglary. He renounced his right to a speedy trial last month, as the defense and prosecution scrambled to prepare for arguments.
Despite the delay in proceedings, the Goncalveses insist that Kohberger is guilty.
“He’s going to feel all of us just staring at the back of his head,” Kristi said of the family’s intention to attend the trial.
“And he’s aware of… what he did to our daughter.”