The grieving families of two of four slain University of Idaho students are talking about a major arrest in the slaying 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 University of Washington doctoral student is being held for extradition in the Nov. 13 slayings of Madison Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves, Jeanne Kernodle and Ethan Chapin at an off-campus student home in Moscow, Idaho.
Reacting to the arrest warrant issued by the Moscow Police Department and the Latah County District Attorney’s Office, Goncalves’ father, Steve Goncalves, told Fox News on Friday that it was the “first joy” his family had experienced in a while .
“For me and my family, it feels like the first joy we’ve had in seven days, because it really is,” Mr Goncalves said while appearing on The five. “You can’t even smile when you have that over your head. And it seems like a little bit of a burden has been lifted, and things are on track and we’re moving in the right direction.”
He added: “I want to congratulate these officers on what they’ve done because it’s been very difficult to deal with all the media, especially being so vocal.”
Chapin’s mother, Stacy Chapin, also shared her gratitude for the Idaho State Police, Moscow State Police and the FBI’s investigative efforts.
“We are relieved that this chapter is over because it provides a form of closure. However, it does not change the result or relieve the 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 by the Moscow Police Department, the FBI and the Idaho State Police, confident that they will solve this crime. So when we got the call last night, we congratulated them on their diligent work and service.”
Ms. Chapin went on to thank the University of Idaho and her son’s Sigma Chi fraternity for their support.
“We also appreciate the outpouring of kind words from so many others, which we will need as we move into 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 revolutionary arrest came on the same day that the families of Mogen and Goncalves had prepared a celebration of life for them.
Moscow investigators have been tight-lipped about developments in the case, often citing intelligence integrity as the rationale behind the measure. However, many doubted that the real reason behind the non-disclosure of information was the department’s small size and “lack of experience”.
Even after Mr. Kohberger’s arrest in the early hours of Friday morning, the department has yet to reveal whether the suspect knew the victims and other details of the case.
Chief James Fry said more information would be released when Mr. Kohberger makes his first court appearance in Idaho.
Pennsylvania State Police and the FBI arrested the 28-year-old suspect in the Scranton area early Friday and found a white Hyundai Elantra at the scene, NBC New York reported.
Mr. Kohberger is a criminology PHD student at Washington State University, which is about 10 miles from the crime scene.
He is the first person arrested in connection with the killings and is being held in the Monroe County Jail in Pennsylvania pending his extradition to Idaho, which a judge ordered Friday.
Police appear to have ruled out a second suspect in the killings.
“We have a person in custody who committed these horrific crimes, and I believe our community is safe, but we still need to be vigilant,” Moscow Police Chief James Fry said during a press conference Friday.
The Moscow Police Department says it has had more than 13,000 tips in the case, as well as thousands of digital media submissions to review.