The grieving families of two of the four slain University of Idaho students have spoken of a landmark arrest in the murder investigation.
Bryan Christopher Kohberger, 28, was arrested by FBI agents and Pennsylvania State Police officers near the Pocono Mountains early Friday morning, according to documents obtained by The Independent.
The Washington State University doctoral student is being held for extradition in the November 13 murders of Madison Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin at an off-campus student residence in Moscow, Idaho.
Reacting to the arrest complaint filed by the Moscow Police Department and the Latah County Prosecutor’s Office, Goncalves’ father, Steve Goncalves, told Fox News on Friday that it was the “first joy” that his family had known for a while.
“For me and my family, this feels like the first joy we’ve had in seven days, because it really is,” Mr. Goncalves said when appearing on The five. “You can’t even smile when you have this over your head. And I feel like some weight has been lifted, things are on the right track and we’re moving in the right direction.
He added: “I want to commend these police officers in everything they have done because it has been very difficult to work with all the media, especially me who speaks so loudly.”
Chapin’s mother, Stacy Chapin, also shared her gratitude to the Idaho State Police, Moscow police and FBI investigative efforts.
“We are relieved that this chapter is complete as it offers some form of closure. However, this does not change the result or relieve pain. We miss Ethan and our family is forever changed,” Stacy Chapin said in a Facebook post.
“For the past seven weeks, we have stood with the Moscow Police Department, the FBI and the Idaho State Police in the belief that they will solve this crime. So when we received phone call last night, we commended them for their hard work and service.”
Ms Chapin then thanked the University of Idaho and her son’s fraternity, Sigma Chi, for their support.
“We also appreciate the outpouring of kind words from so many others, which we will need as we enter the next chapter of this nightmare,” Ms Chapin said. “Today we marvel at the continuing stories about Ethan and the lives he touched in his short 20 years. If we all lived and loved like Ethan, the world would be a better place.
The landmark arrest came the same day the families of Mogen and Goncalves had prepared a celebration of life for them.
Moscow investigators had remained tight-lipped about the progress of the case, often citing the integrity of the information as the reasoning behind the measure. However, many doubted that the real reason for the withholding of information was the department’s small size and “lack of experience.”
Even after Mr. Kohberger was arrested in the early hours of Friday morning, the department has yet to release whether the suspect knew the victims and other details of the case.
Chief James Fry said more information will be released when Mr. Kohberger has his first court appearance in Idaho.
Pennsylvania State Police and the FBI arrested the 28-year-old suspect in the Scranton area in the early hours of Friday morning and found a white Hyundai Elantra at the scene, NBC New York reported.
Mr. Kohberger is a doctoral criminology student at Washington State University, located about 10 miles from the crime scene.
He is the first person to be arrested in connection with the murders and is being held in Monroe County Jail in Pennsylvania pending extradition to Idaho, which a judge ordered on Friday.
Police appear to have ruled out a second suspect in the murders.
“We have an individual in custody who committed these horrific crimes and I believe our community is safe, but we must always be vigilant,” Moscow Police Chief James Fry said during a briefing. Friday press conference.
The Moscow Police Department said it had more than 13,000 pieces of information in the case as well as thousands of digital media submissions to sift through.