The 911 call alerting law enforcement to the murder of the four University of Idaho students has long been shrouded in mystery after Moscow police said the caller originally reported “an unconscious individual ” in the House.
The call was made from the mobile phone of one of the two surviving housemates at around 11:58 a.m. on November 13, with the dispatcher talking to several people.
Officers arrived at the home to find a bloody scene, with Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin all dead from multiple stab wounds.
Since then, questions have persisted over why the caller reported an “unconscious individual” as officials described the crime scene as one of the worst they had ever seen.
A potential reason for the mysterious 911 call has now been revealed in Air Mail’s ‘Eyes of a Killer’ article.
Civilian employees of Whitcom 9-1-1, an agency in Pullman, Wash., handle 911 calls to the Moscow Police Department as well as several other agencies, according to the report.
The agency is so severely understaffed that the Dispatchers Guild has previously warned that “our ability to maintain public safety is at risk”.
According to standard protocol, when callers “are agitated”, the dispatcher often assigns the call the generic tag of “unconscious person” rather than wasting valuable time and resources trying to gather specific details.
In this case, it is possible that the dispatcher assigned the generic label by addressing the students who were panicked by what they saw and passed the phone from one to the other.
The explanation comes as many questions remain unanswered about the case that has sent shockwaves through the small college town of Moscow, near the Washington state border.
Suspected quadruple killer Bryan Kohberger is accused of breaking into the student house in the early hours of November 13 and stabbing all four students to death in a savage knife attack.
The motive for the killings is still unknown and it remains unclear why Mr Kohberger allegedly targeted the victims – or if he even knew them.
A lawyer representing Goncalves’ family said “no connection” was found between the four students and the suspect.
Victims’ families will now have to wait another six months for more answers in the case after its next court date was set for June.
Mr. Kohberger appeared in Latah County Court on Thursday for his status hearing in which he waived his right to a speedy trial.
Wearing an orange t-shirt and with unexplained cuts on his face, Mr Kohberger spoke only to answer ‘yes’ when asked if he understood his rights to a speedy preliminary hearing within 14 next few days and whether he would agree to waive these rights.
Mr Kohberger’s public defender, Anne Taylor, then requested that his next court date be pushed back to June.
The prosecution granted the request and the judge scheduled the preliminary hearing for the week of 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 Mr. Kohberger is likely to plead the charges.
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.
Mr Kohberger did not plead guilty at Thursday’s hearing – his second appearance in an Idaho court since his extradition from Pennsylvania last week.
However, he reportedly intends to fight the allegations with Jason LaBar, the attorney who represented in Pennsylvania, saying Mr Kohberger was “eager to be exonerated”.
He was formally indicted on four counts of murder and one count of burglary when he first appeared in court in Idaho on January 5.
His latest court appearance coincides with the start of the spring semester at the University of Idaho, with many students returning to campus this week for the first time since the brutal murders.
Several students expressed relief that the suspect is now behind bars, with second student Ryder Paslay telling KXLY he was “breathing [a] sigh of relief” when news of Mr. Kohberger’s arrest broke on December 30.
While Mr Kohberger has so far remained tight-lipped about the killings during his court appearances, sources have come out to reveal he made offhand comments about the murders before and after his arrest.
Mr. Kohberger’s neighbor, who wished to remain anonymous, told CBS News that Mr. Kohberger told him about the quadruple homicide just days after the Nov. 13 attack.
“He brought it up in conversation,” they said.
“[He] asked if I had heard of the murders, which I did. And then he said, ‘Yeah, looks like they don’t have any leads. Looks like it was a crime of passion. At the time of our conversation, it was only a few days after it happened, so there weren’t many details.
During his extradition from Pennsylvania to Moscow, he also allegedly made an offhand comment about the killings to officers.
“He said, ‘It’s really sad what happened to them,’ but he didn’t say anything more. He’s smarter than that,” a law enforcement source told People.
Mr Kohberger seemed “really nervous” on the trip back to Moscow and talked to himself aloud in an apparent effort to reassure himself, the source added.
“He looked really nervous. He was telling himself everything that was going on,” they said.
“At one point he was like, ‘I’m fine, I’m fine.’ As if reassuring himself that all of this wasn’t horrible.
Some chilling details were revealed about the murders in Mr Kohberger’s affidavit – released last week – with cell phone data suggesting Mr Kohberger stalked the student’s home at least 12 times before the night of the murders, according to the affidavit. .
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.
In addition to the cellphone data, the affidavit reveals that other evidence also led them to arrest Mr. Kohberger for the student murders.
Police say his DNA was found on a knife sheath left at the scene by the killer.
A white Hyundai Elantra spotted at the crime scene at the time of the murders was also traced to the suspect, the affidavit reveals.
One of the victims’ surviving housemates was also able to partially describe the killer to investigators after coming face-to-face with him following the murders.
Investigators believe the murders took place between 4 a.m. and 4:25 a.m. on November 13, when the four students had returned from their parties.
Two other housemates were also in the student house at the time of the attack but were not injured.
Around noon the next day, a 911 call was made from the phone of one of the surviving housemates alerting police to the bloody crime scene.
The affidavit has now revealed for the first time that one of the surviving housemates – Dylan Mortensen – came face to face with the masked killer as he left the house after killing his four friends.
In her chilling account to investigators, she revealed that she heard the killer inside the house and heard what sounded like crying coming from one of her roommates.
At one point she heard the voice of a woman – assumed to be Goncalves or Kernodle – saying something like “there’s someone here”, before hearing the voice of a man saying “it’s okay, I will help you”.
She was then lucky enough to escape by opening her door to see what was going on and saw “a figure dressed in black clothes and a mask that covered the mouth and nose of the person walking towards her”.
The man walked right past her and towards the back sliding glass door of the house.
The description she gave – a bushy-browed man who was about 5ft 10in or taller and “not very muscular but athletic” – helped point investigators to Mr Kohberger.
The Washington State University doctoral student and teaching assistant was arrested Dec. 30 during an early morning raid on his family home in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains, where he had been spending vacations.
He was extradited to Idaho last week to face charges and his white Hyundai Elantra was seized by investigators.
The murder weapon – a knife with a fixed blade – has not yet been found.
As a criminal justice doctoral student at Washington State University, he lived just 15 minutes from the victims across the Idaho-Washington border in Pullman.
He had moved there from Pennsylvania 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”.
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.