How Idaho Murder Suspect Was Caught Using Genealogy Websites

Officially, the police have stayed incredibly tight-lipped about the University of Idaho murder investigation. Unofficially, we’re getting little peeks into the process by which they apparently caught their killer.

Six weeks after the brutal slayings of Kaylee Goncalves, Xana KernodleEthan Chapin, and Maddie Mogen in their off-campus house in Moscow, Idaho, it was starting to look like the cops had nada. But then on December 30, they surprised us by making an arrest.

Bryan Kohberger, a student at nearby Washington State University, only about 15 miles from the murder scene, was apprehended by the FBI all the way in Pennsylvania. How did they track him down? We heard from two law enforcement insiders speaking to CNN that it was DNA evidence that pointed to Kohberger. Apparently the criminology student had left his DNA at the scene — though no word on whether that was hair, blood from the struggle, or some other bodily fluid.

That has now been corroborated by new police sources speaking to ABC News. They’ve gone one step further, explaining that Kohberger was caught using genealogy databases! The PhD student didn’t have a record, so his DNA wasn’t in a criminal database. But much like they did with the Golden State Killer, the authorities were able to compare the DNA they found on the scene with what was on file thanks to websites like 23andMe and Ancestry.com. Apparently they found a match to a family member — and a further connection in that family to a white Hyundai Elantra, matching a vehicle that had been spotted near the scene. No wonder they kept asking about the car!

According to the sources speaking to ABC, once they were finally able to find the elusive Hyundai, they knew their suspect had fled to the Poconos Mountains in Pennsylvania — and after a few days of staking out the house, they got their man.

Wow, that’s really amazing work from a team that consisted of a lot of cops who had never even been at a major crime scene before!

Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long for more info. Moscow authorities already made clear they’ll release the arrest affidavit once their suspect is in custody back in Idaho. And that should happen fast. According to Kohberger’s Pennsylvania public defender Jason LaBar, he “intends to waive his extradition hearing to expedite his transport to Idaho” during his hearing on Tuesday. Why?

“ is eager to be exonerated of these charges and looks forward to resolving these matters as promptly as possible.”

Wow. OK. We guess we’ll see how that goes for him. Our guess is not good — but we’ll have a better idea once we figure out why his DNA was at the murder scene…

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