The gag order may still firmly be in place in the Bryan Kohberger murder case, but slowly and surely we’re getting a more complete look at what happened the night four University of Idaho students were murdered in their off-campus home in Moscow.
In the early morning hours of November 13, roommates Kaylee Goncalves, Maddie Mogen, and Xana Kernodle, as well as Xana’s boyfriend Ethan Chapin, were brutally stabbed to death. Two other roommates were also in the house but were unharmed — and weren’t even aware of the murders for hours. The murders likely took place some time around 4 a.m. — but the police didn’t find the scene… until 4 p.m.! How did that happen?
Well, first off you have that night…
What Dylan Heard
We know from an affidavit released by the Moscow Police Department in January that all the house residents were “asleep or at least in their rooms by approximately 4 a.m.” We know sound carried through the house — but how could someone possibly assume what they were hearing was murder and not college horseplay??
Officer Brett Payne wrote in the affidavit that survivor Dylan Mortensen heard a noise:
“D.M. stated she originally went to sleep in her bedroom on the southeast side of the second floor. D.M. stated she was awoken at approximately 4 a.m. by what she stated sounded like Goncalves playing with her dog in one of the upstairs bedrooms, which were located on the third floor. A short time later, D.M. said she heard who she thought was Goncalves say something to the effect of ‘there’s someone here.’”
Dylan told police she looked out the window but didn’t see anything. Payne wrote that there was more noise bothering the confused roommate:
“D.M. stated she opened her door a second time when she heard what she thought was crying coming from Kernodle’s room. D.M. then said she heard a male voice say something to the effect of ‘it’s ok, I’m going to help you.’”
Then there’s that shocking bit of evidence — that Dylan opened her door and “saw a figure clad in black clothing and a mask that covered the person’s mouth and nose walking towards her.” Payne wrote that Dylan said she was in a “frozen shock phase” as the man walked past her and toward the sliding glass door — so she locked herself in her room.
Now, many followers of the case have wondered, if that was just after 4 a.m., why didn’t she call the police? Well…
What She Thought
We got an answer about that earlier this week when we learned from a source who’d spoken to Dylan that she’d thought the sounds she heard from outside her room were late night partying. In fact, she’d even shouted at her friends to keep it down so she could sleep. As for the masked figure? It seems she thought that was just a guest — possibly the person delivering the DoorDash order? It’s not unusual these days for strangers to wear masks in new homes.
She may have told the police she didn’t move because she was in shock. And certainly the image of the masked man is chilling now — but how much of that is because we know what was happening? Really, put yourself in her shoes — how could she know? A party house where people are coming and going all the time? Where police have been called multiple times in the past few months on noise complaints? It also seems likely she was in such a tired daze that she just didn’t think to call them.
Dylan didn’t call the police the next morning, either. Nor did the other surviving roommate, Bethany Funke. No, that call was actually placed by a third person. A source explained to NewsNation on Tuesday that on Sunday morning Ethan Chapin’s BFF came to the house to check on his friend just before noon. He entered Xana’s room — only to find Ethan with his throat slashed. The new source revealed he took the pulses of the stabbing victims and then called 911 on one of the roommates’ phones. He was the one to speak to the 911 dispatcher — that was at approximately 11:58 a.m., nearly eight hours after the murders.
Why was the friend there? We initially assumed it had been just to meet up with his buddy. But apparently Ethan’s sister-in-law posted online that Dylan had called the friend because she was scared after what she’d heard. The sister-in-law said she’d heard Dylan did try to call her roommates and didn’t get an answer…
So by the next morning, when she didn’t see Xana, Kaylee, or Maddie, that’s when she called the friend. And we know people will wonder, why didn’t she call the cops first? Well, it’s easy to ask that in hindsight, but you have to remember to put yourself in her shoes. What would YOU have done in the situation? If you didn’t know — couldn’t know — something so horrible was going on?
The final curious element of this isn’t a question about the motivations of scared college students. It’s about the effectiveness of the local cops.
OK, remember how the call was finally placed at about 11:58 a.m.? Well, the police didn’t show up until 4 p.m. Four hours later?! How much was going on in Moscow, Idaho that it took police four hours to get to the scene of a brutal stabbing??
Well, that’s another question we still have. See, according to the records, the cops were responding to a call of an “unconscious person.” We know the friend took the pulses of Ethan and Xana. Presumably that plus the injuries was enough to see they were dead, right? Why was the order to check on an unconscious person and not a murder? We still have no idea what this friend said to the police dispatcher or how she interpreted it. Will that call be released to the public? Moscow Police Chief James Fry told KREM back in December that the tape of the 911 call would be released “when the prosecution believes that we can.”
With that gag order we imagine it will be some time. As slow as the trial is going to take, it may be some time before we learn every detail about why it took so long to call the police — AND so long for police to respond the call.
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