Suspect in Idaho student murders followed victims on Instagram, says family

Suspect in Idaho student murders followed victims on Instagram, says family

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Among the never-ending questions surrounding the November 2022 murders of University of Idaho students Kaylee Goncalves, Madson “Maddie” Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin — was did they know their killer?

In an affidavit outlining the case, investigators say DNA, cellphone records and surveillance camera evidence link the accused murderer, Bryan Kohberger, to the crime. But his defense attorneys say in a court filing that “there is no connection between Mr. Kohberger and the victims.” 

Criminologist and CBS News consultant Bryanna Fox adds that “the defense is claiming that the defendant, Bryan Kohberger, and the victims have absolutely no connection. There’s no motive, there’s no reason for this crime to take place. So, essentially, it’s raising additional doubt in jurors’ minds.”

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From left, Kaylee Goncalves, Madison “Maddie” Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin.

CBS News


But Kaylee Goncalves’ parents, Steve and Kristi, believe they have proof of a connection. 

In the minutes after learning Kohberger’s name, Kristi Goncalves says, “We went online and immediately started Googling.” 

Steve Goncalves adds, “He was a PhD student at Washington State they told us. We’re like PhD? What the heck is going on? Who?”

Steve and Kristi Goncalves talked with “48 Hours” correspondent Peter Van Sant for “The Night of the Idaho Student Murders.”

They say they discovered “digital evidence” they say showed a tie of Kohberger to two of the victims. 

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The Goncalves family provided “48 Hours” with screenshots of an Instagram account they believe belonged to Kohberger. Those screen shots include what they say is Kohberger’s Instagram profile, and a list of people he was following, including Maddie Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves.

Steve Goncalves


In the interview with Van Sant, the Goncalves family provided screenshots of an Instagram account they believe belonged to Kohberger. Those screen shots include what they say is Kohberger’s Instagram profile, and a list of people he was following, including Maddie Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves. 

“48 Hours” has not been able to confirm the authenticity of this account.

Kristi Goncalves says when they attempted to cross reference the accounts of Kaylee, Maddie, Xana and Ethan’s accounts, it appeared that this Kohberger account had interacted with Maddie’s Instagram. 

“You would go to Maddie’s Instagram account and look at her pictures, and he liked them,” Kristi said. “He had liked them. Bryan’s name was under a lot of Maddie’s pictures. Liked her pictures, liked that picture and that picture, and that picture, and that picture. So, he was actively looking at the Instagram account.”

The Goncalves’ say the account is no longer active. It disappeared shortly after Kohberger’s arrest, on the same day as a “Celebration of Life” ceremony for Kaylee and Maddie. 

“By the time we got home from the Celebration of Life, it was gone … the Instagram account was gone,” Kristi Goncalves says. 

A judge entered a plea of not guilty on Kohberger’s behalf. A trial date has not been announced.

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