Idaho murder victim Kaylee Goncalves had already left the house where she and three other students were brutally murdered – but tragically returned to Moscow to visit her best friend that fateful weekend.
Goncalves’ parents told NBC’s “Dateline” that the 21-year-old recently moved out of the student rental property on King Road, Moscow, ahead of her upcoming graduation in December and a move to Austin, Texas, for a new job in a technology. business.
Then, on the weekend of Nov. 12, she decided to head back to college town to visit her best friend Madison Mogen.
The two young women had been inseparable since meeting in sixth grade and Goncalves wanted to show Mogen her new Range Rover that she had saved up and bought.
The couple had also planned to go to a party together on the night of Saturday, November 12.
“These girls were best friends since sixth grade, like inseparable,” Goncalves’ mother, Kristi Goncalves, said.
“That was the last time I saw Kaylee.”
In the early hours of November 13, Goncalves, Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin were all stabbed to death in the three-story home.
Goncalves and Mogen were found in the same bed together in Mogen’s bedroom, with a knife sheath left by the killer next to their bodies.
DNA found on the sheath was matched to suspect Bryan Kohberger, who now faces the death penalty for the quadruple homicide that rocked the small college town.
Ms Goncalves told ‘Dateline’ she first learned of her daughter’s murder from a family member with connections in Moscow.
She said the relative told her ‘something bad happened to Kaylee’ and she tried to contact both Goncalves and Mogen – to no avail.
She said she was urging people to “relax” because she was convinced that if anything had happened to her daughter, Mogen – who was also part of the family – would have made contact.
“I said, ‘Everyone needs to relax, because if anything had happened to Kaylee last night, Maddie would have called me,'” the grieving mother said.
However, hours later, she said police officers arrived at the family’s home and delivered the terrible news that Goncalves and Mogen were among the four victims.
The motive for the murders is unknown and it remains unclear why Mr. Kohberger allegedly targeted the victims, with no known connection between the four students and the suspect.
Now victims’ families will have to wait at least another six months before they can get more answers about their children’s murders, after his next court date was pushed back to June.
Mr. Kohberger appeared at the Latah County Courthouse on Thursday for his status hearing, where he waived his right to a speedy trial. The judge scheduled the preliminary hearing for the week beginning June 26.
The whole week has been set aside for the hearing – when the evidence in the case against Mr Kohberger will first be presented in court and he is likely to plead the charges.
His request for a delay before the next court appearance came after the defense asked the prosecution to turn over all findings in the case within the next 14 days – including witness statements, digital media and police reports.
Ms Taylor told the judge that waiving the 14-day deadline would give the defense more time to consider all the evidence in the case.
Until then, Mr Kohberger will be held behind bars in Latah County Jail after being ordered to be held without bond for the second time.
In addition to DNA evidence found at the scene, the suspect was also found through cellphone data and his white Hyundai Elantra, which was spotted at the crime scene at the time of the murders.
Cellphone data suggests Mr. Kohberger tracked down the student’s home at least 12 times before the night of the murders, the affidavit said. The exact dates and times of these instances were not disclosed in the affidavit, but all but one occurred late at night or early in the morning.
At the time of the murders, investigators believe Mr Kohberger turned off his mobile phone in an attempt to avoid detection.
However, cellphone data puts him near the house on King Road around 9am on November 13 – suggesting he returned to the crime scene just hours after he allegedly murdered the four victims around 4am morning.
One of the victims’ surviving roommates was also able to partially describe the killer to investigators after coming face-to-face with him following the killings in the early hours of November 13.
As a doctoral student in criminal justice at Washington State University, Mr. Kohberger lived just 15 minutes from the victims across the Idaho-Washington border in Pullman.
He had moved there from Pennsylvania to begin his studies in August and has just completed his first semester.
Prior to that, he studied criminology at DeSales University – first as an undergraduate, then graduating in June 2022.
There, he studied with famed forensic psychologist Katherine Ramsland who interviewed serial killer BTK and co-wrote the book. Confession of a Serial Killer: The Untold Story of BTK Killer Dennis Rader with him.
He also conducted a research project “to understand how emotions and psychological traits influence decision-making during the commission of a crime”.
On December 30, he was arrested during an early morning raid on his family home in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania, where he had been vacationing.
He was extradited to Idaho and his white Hyundai Elantra was seized by investigators.
The murder weapon – a knife with a fixed blade – has not yet been found.
Now he faces life in prison or the death penalty for the murders that rocked the small university town of Moscow and grabbed headlines around the world.