10 Things to Know About Idaho Murder Suspect Bryan Kohberger From Those Who Know Him
Former friends, classmates, and even a Tinder date have offered clues to who the man accused of murdering four Idaho college students really is.
The gruesome murder of the University of Idaho students, Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20, left the world wondering what kind of a monster could commit such a heinous crime. Now, weeks after Bryan Kohberger's arrest in Pennsylvania, we are still piecing together who the accused murderer is and what inspired him to brutally stab four seemingly strangers to death. Several people who know the 28-year-old criminology student, including friends, former classmates, and even a Tinder date, have come forward and offered clues to the mystery enshrouding him. Here are 10 things to know about Idaho murder suspect Bryan Kohberger from those who knew him.
Jack Baylis, a friend of Kohberger's since the eighth grade, said he was fascinated with why people acted the way they did. "It's wild," he told the New York Times. "Bryan himself would've been fascinated by it."
At Pleasant Valley High School in Brodheadsville, Pennsylvania, former classmates and peers have revealed that he was analytical but could be cruel. Casey Arntz and a woman named Bree, who asked to have her last name kept private, spoke with 48 Hours. Initially overweight, Kohberger was bullied in his younger years.
However, in his senior year, he lost 100 pounds, and his demeanor changed. "He was rail thin," and "It was after that weight loss that a lot of people noticed a huge switch." Arntz's brother was also friends with Kohberger and was bullied by him. "When Bryan would get kinda angry with him, he would gaslight him and get physically aggressive," she said. He also got physical, putting her brother in chokeholds.
It was around this time that Bryan started using heroin, according to Bree. "You just saw him becoming more self-destructive," she said. "He really stayed secluded." After college, it appeared that Kohberger was sober and getting his life together. He attended Pennsylvania's Northampton Community College and worked security for the Pleasant Valley School District.
"He was telling me that he wanted to get sober, that he was getting sober," says Bree, "And he wanted to let me know, 'I'm gonna do better. I'm gonna be better.'"
While described as quiet and an independent worker by one of his DeSales classmates, Brittany Slaven, he was quick to come up with good ideas when it came time to figure out a crime scene and showed a particular interest in crime scenes. "At the time it seemed as if he was just a curious student, so if his questions felt odd we didn't think much of it because it fit our curriculum," she told New York Times.
Another student told the New York Times that Kohberger "seemed interested in the thought processes of criminals while they committed crimes and less interested in the social factors that might lead people to do so, saying that he believed some people were just bound to break the law," they write.
They also described him "as the black sheep of the class, often taking contrarian viewpoints and sometimes getting into arguments with his peers, particularly women," the paper claims.
The New York Times unearthed online posts by Kohberger from his teenage years, in which he "berates himself and talks about feeling disconnected from society, unable to find meaning in life," they says. He describes an array of mental health challenges, including anxiety, depression, depersonalization, lack of emotion and the "constant thought of suicide."
"I feel like an organic sack of meat with no self worth," he wrote on the mental health forum Tapatalk, previously known as Yuku, in 2011, when he was 16. "As I hug my family, I look into their faces, I see nothing, it is like I am looking at a video game, but less." He added, he could do "whatever I want with little remorse."
Rich Pasqua, a former acquaintance, told Fox News host Lawrence Jones on Saturday's "Cross Country" that Kohberger was just your "average guy." "I met him through some friends and they told me that he was a little weird and he was a little socially awkward, I guess you could say, but he wasn't a bad guy," Pasqua said.
"He needed a job, so I worked at a pizza shop at that time and they were hiring and I said, 'Yeah, come on in and apply.' And he did, and he got the job. So I worked with him for a little bit, but he was quiet, though."
According to Pasqua, Kohberger was not known to ever have a girlfriend, adding that his wife went to high school with him. "They graduated together and she doesn't remember him ever having a girlfriend, and I don't remember him ever having a girlfriend and he didn't have many friends," he continued.
"So he, like, would do anything to fit in and would do, like, you know, he just wanted to be liked by everybody. But he wasn't a bad kid, like, you know, he was alright. And I knew his sister. I went to school with his sister and I knew his father worked for the school. And I believe his mother did, too. But his family, they were just, they were all nice people. And, you know, his dad was always really nice to me. Very polite, but, I just — I never thought that he would do something like that."
Benjamin Roberts took four classes with Kohberger at Washington State, telling 48 Hours' correspondent Peter Van Sant that Kohberger "seemed comfortable around other people. He was very quick to offer his opinion and thoughts." He added that he was "highly intelligent" but would try to impress people.
"He would describe things in the most complicated, perhaps academic way possible," said Roberts. "It was like he was trying to convince people that he knew what he was talking about."
In a new TikTok video a woman named Hayley claims to have gone on a Tinder date with Kohberger seven years ago while she was a psychology student at Penn State Hazelton. "My interactions with Bryan were very brief. I don't know much about him," she said. "We matched on Tinder, we talked for a couple of hours and then he was like, 'Hey, you want to go to the movies with me tonight?' I was like, sure. So we went to the movies," she said.
She told The New York Post that they only went out once. "He like, completely changed once we were in my dorm so I'm glad I was able to get away. I thought he was just going to drop me off, but that was not the case. He kind of invited himself inside," she said. When they got back he wanted to watch a movie on Netflix. "He was very pushy when it came to coming back in my dorm with me. But I didn't get like scary vibes or anything from that. I just thought he was a stage five clinger because he said he wanted to spend more time with me," she said.