The sister of one of the four University of Idaho students stabbed to death on Nov. 13 said it was terrifying to find that suspect Bryan Kohberger, 28, had been observing the Moscow residence in the months leading up to the killings.
“We had absolutely no clue. She was completely unaware. “I had no clue that actual evil was monitoring them,” Alivea Goncalves, 26, sister of victim Kaylee Goncalves, 21, told NewsNation on Sunday.
Reading through the probable cause affidavit, which states that Kohberger’s mobile phone was in the neighborhood of the crime scene “at least twelve times” previous to the day of the murder, has been “the toughest part of this — to sit back and look at the entirety of it,” according to Goncalves.
“[Kohberger] was arranging his next visit to the residence as my sister was FaceTiming me about a new egg bites recipe,” she explained. “That’s pretty tough, that’s incredibly difficult, not to wish you had done more and knew more.”
According to Goncalves, it was especially upsetting to read from the affidavit that Kohberger, a criminology Ph.D. student, reportedly “went back to the residence the morning of [the killings], before police had been contacted, I guess to check whether his circus, so to speak, had begun to unravel.”
Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, 21, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Ethan Chapin, 20, of Conway, Washington; and Xana Kernodle, 20, of Avondale, Arizona are all accused of murdering Kohberger.
Kohberger appeared in court for the first time in Idaho on January 5 and faces four counts of first-degree murder, which carry terms of life in prison or the death penalty.
Kohberger was ordered detained without bond, with his next pretrial hearing scheduled for January 12.
Last Monday, Kaylee Goncalves’ parents, Kristi and Steve, appeared in court. It’s unclear whether Alivea was present, but she told NewsNation that she intends to attend “every single” court throughout the lawsuit.
Given that a suspect is in jail, she and her family “are starting” to be allowed to grieve, she added.
“It’s an unusual moment to do that because we still have such a long road ahead of us,” she says, “but the relief that we all felt having a suspect in custody was — I can’t even express it, like the weight of the world was lifted from our shoulders.”
In the NewsNation interview, Goncalves also addressed another key finding from the affidavit: Dylan Mortensen, identified as “D.M.” in the document, “saw a figure clad in black clothing and a mask” walking past her and exiting the house the night of the murders while she was in a “frozen shock phase.”
According to the affidavit, Mortensen “locked herself in her room after seeing the guy,” and 911 was not contacted from one of the roommates’ phones until hours later, shortly before noon.
According to Goncalves, Mortensen should not be held responsible for her actions, which independent experts told NBC News are not unusual in potentially dangerous situations.
“I know Dylan is extremely young and she was probably really, really afraid, and I believe everyone should wait passing judgment until we get any more information because you don’t know what you would do in that scenario,” Goncalves told NewsNation.
She also stated that any information she gets concerning any ties between Kohberger and the victims would be forwarded to police enforcement.
“I’ve had a lot of people reach out with Instagram posts or even Spotify or lots of connections that they’ve been able to find and those are super valuable, and those all go over to the Moscow Police Department as well as the Idaho State Police and the FBI because nothing is insignificant at this point and everything is being looked into,” she said.