Authorities have temporarily sealed the search warrant for University of Idaho murder suspect Bryan Kohberger‘s Washington home – as they claim releasing details could ‘prematurely’ end the investigation and ‘create a threat to public safety’.
Kohberger, 28, was arrested in the early hours of December 30 at his family’s home in Pennsylvania and subsequently charged in connection to the quadruple murder of students Kaylee Goncalves and Madison Mogen, both 21, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin, both 20.
Kohberger’s apartment in Pullman, Washington, was combed by police for evidence into the ongoing investigation, and court documents – filed the same day as his arrest – state that ‘compelling circumstances warrant the temporary sealing ordered in this matter.’ The information will remain secret until March 1.
Language used in the court document has left some questioning what the ‘threat to public safety’ and ‘threat to the privacy of witnesses, victims and victim families names in the affidavit’ could be.
Authorities have temporarily sealed the search warrant for University of Idaho murder suspect Bryan Kohberger’s Washington home – as they claim releasing details could ‘prematurely’ end the investigation and ‘create a threat to public safety’
The document states: ‘Premature public disclosure of the details of this law enforcement investigation will create serious and imminent threat to effective law enforcement and could result in the premature end of this investigation which could create a threat to public safety.
‘This matter is in the investigative stage and while criminal charges have been brought, those charges are not yet publicly known,’ the documents state (it was filed before those charges later became public).
The documents state that it is within the interest of those connected to the brutal slayings to keep the search warrant sealed.
The search warrant, which is shrouded in mystery, won’t be sealed forever. The documents go on to say: ‘For these reasons, the information contained in the application and the nature of this investigation must be kept secret for a limited period of time.
‘It is estimated the investigation will likely be concluded within two months from this date [December 30], so an order sealing the file for that period of time is appropriate and necessary.’
The prosecuting attorney can ask to unseal the records if the investigation and/or criminal case proceeds more quickly than currently anticipated.
Kohberger has been charged in connection with the quadruple murder of students Kaylee Goncalves and Madison Mogen (left), both 21, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin, both 20 (right)
Chris Anderson, a homicide detective and fugitive unit supervisor, told NewsNation that there is ‘information that suggests that the defendant in this case is guilty.
‘No police department wants to be the cause of any disruption in an investigation,’ Anderson said.
‘They’re going to do everything that is asked of them to not release information, to not say too much about what was found or what they did because it only goes to help the defendant and his defense in this case.’
Attorney Darren Kavinoky told the outlet that the language used in the document suggests it is, in fact, trying to protect the victims.
‘Often times victims make certain lifestyle choices that could subject them to public criticism. There could be private medical information that generally, out of decorum, they don’t want that information released to the public,’ said Kavinoky.
‘Let’s keep in mind what is vital here is for law enforcement to maintain the integrity of their information.
‘The more statements made to the public by a potential witness in the case, the more opportunity there is to develop information that a good defense lawyer will use in cross examination.’
Kohberger’s apartment in Pullman, Washington, was combed by police for evidence into the ongoing investigation
Court documents filed the same day as his arrest state ‘compelling circumstances warrant the temporary sealing ordered in this matter.’ The information will remain secret until March 1
A neighbor told DailyMail.com exclusively that Kohberger had only moved to the Steptoe Village apartment complex, where police conducted an investigation following his arrest, at the start of the semester, just months before the quadruple murder
The court documents emerged following a gag order released by the Moscow Police Department last week.
Latah County Magistrate Judge Megan Marshall issued a nondissemination order on January 3 in regard to the murder case against Kohberger.
‘The order prohibits any communication by investigators, law enforcement personnel, attorneys, and agents of the prosecuting attorney or defense attorney concerning this case,’ police said in a release.
‘Due to this court order, the Moscow Police Department will no longer be communicating with the public or the media regarding this case.’
Just hours after Kohberger’s arrest on December 30, DailyMail.com revealed pictures of police raiding his office and searching his home.
The suspected murderer is a Pennsylvania native and was studying criminology at the University of Washington’s Pullman campus, which is a 15-minute drive from Moscow, Idaho, where the murders took place.
All four students died in their beds at their home in the early hours of November 13, in a killing so brutal, police described the scene to DailyMail.com at the time as ‘the worst we have ever seen.’
A neighbor told DailyMail.com exclusively that Kohberger had only moved to the Steptoe Village apartment complex at the start of the semester, just months before the quadruple murder.
‘I didn’t really know him, we just said hi,’ said the neighbor, who wished not to be named, at the time of Kohberger’s arrest.
‘Sometimes he would make loud noises late at night – at 1, 2am. Like he was cleaning – vacuuming or something.’
The neighbor said they complained to the property management about the noise.
‘He hasn’t been here for a while – we haven’t heard any noise upstairs for around two, three weeks. I just thought he left for the holidays. We had no idea about what happened – I just saw it on the news this morning like everyone else,’ they added.
A Rambo-style knife was used to carry out the murders, police said, at the six-bedroom rental property where three of the victims’ lived.
The murders were the first in Moscow since 2015, and left the small town of 25,000 people in a state of shock as police desperately searched for answers.
In Albrightsville, Pennsylvania, access to Kohberger’s family home was blocked the morning of his arrest by aggressive private security guards who prevented all but residents and law enforcement from getting through.
Indian Mountain Lake, where the home is situated, is a private and gated community in the Pocono Mountains, on approximately 4,600 acres. It is made up of 3,262 single family residential building lots, many available as luxury vacation rentals for tourists drawn to the nearby ski resorts.
Best friends Kaylee Goncalves and Madison Mogen, both 21, were murdered along with roommate Xana Kernodle and her boyfriend Ethan Chapin, both 20 in an off-campus home in Moscow
Amenities include a clubhouse, five lakes – the largest two being 53 acres and 30 acres – two outdoor swimming pools and a kiddie pool, four tennis courts and two basketball courts.
It was here that Kohberger was arrested. A spokesman for the Pennsylvania State Police said at the time of the arrest: ‘Bryan C. Kohberger, 28, was arrested on a fugitive from justice warrant early this morning by members of Troop N and the Special Emergency Response Team at a home in Chestnuthill Township, Monroe County.
‘Chestnuthill Township is 15 miles southwest of Monroe County seat of Stroudsburg where he appeared in court early Friday.
‘Kohberger was arraigned before on-call Magisterial District Judge Michael Muth and remanded to Monroe County Correctional Facility pending extradition to Idaho,’ the statement continued.
Moscow Police Chief James Fry gave few new details following the arrest but said his force had remained ‘laser-focused ‘ on solving the killings.
Kohberger has been charged with four counts of first degree murder and one of felony burglary, prosecutor Bill Thompson said at the time of the arrest.
Idaho is a death penalty state. Fry defended the scarcity of information released during the investigation. Providing more, ‘might have alerted the suspect of our progress,’ he said.
Kohberger’s arrest is the culmination of an investigation that has dragged on for more than a month and left the Moscow Police Department facing a barrage of criticism.
Cops have also been criticized for describing the murders as ‘targeted’ while refusing to release any information to explain why.