MOSCOW, Idaho – The father of one of the four slain University of Idaho students vowed Monday that when the Pennsylvania man accused of the murders finally appears in court, he and the other parents will be there to stare at him.
“I want him to be sick of seeing us and knowing that these people are not going to let it go,” Steve Goncalves said in an interview with NBC News. “You know, it’s a battle of wills and we’ll see who wins.”
Goncalves, whose 21-year-old daughter, Kaylee Goncalves, was one of the victims, spoke as investigators prepared to extradite quadruple-murder suspect Bryan Christopher Kohberger back to Idaho from Pennsylvania, where he was arrested Friday.
The grieving father said he had never heard of Kohberger, a 28-year-old doctoral student at nearby Washington State University, before he was arrested in his home state on Friday.
When asked about any connections Kohberger may have had to the victims, Goncalves’ attorney, Shannon Gray, said “we are gathering as much information as we can that can help the investigation.”
“There is a lot of evidence that hasn’t been discovered yet,” Goncalves said.
Kohberger, who is working on a Ph.D. in criminal justice and criminology, he was arrested by the Pennsylvania State Police seven weeks after the four students were stabbed to death in their beds on November 13.
In addition to Kaylee Goncalves of Rathdrum, Idaho, the other three students killed in the attack were Ethan Chapin, 20, of Conway, Washington; Madison Mogen, 21, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; and Xana Kernodle, 20, of Avondale, Arizona.
So far, no motive for the massacre has been revealed. But Kohberger’s attorney, Jason A. LaBar, the top public defender for Monroe County, Pennsylvania, has released a statement of condolences on behalf of Kohberger’s parents, Michael and Marianne Kohberger, and her sisters, Amanda and Melissa.
The Kohberger family said they are cooperating with investigators but are also supporting the suspect.
“Let’s let the legal process play out and as a family we will love and support our son and brother,” the statement read in part.
Kohberger will be indicted on four counts of first-degree murder and robbery for allegedly breaking into the Moscow home when he returns to Idaho this week. The extradition hearing is Tuesday, and his public defender said he would most likely be transferred back to Idaho Tuesday night.
Two law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation have said DNA evidence played a key role in linking the killings to Kohberger. But the probable cause affidavit with details supporting Kohberger’s arrest will remain sealed until he lands in Idaho and receives the documents in court, authorities said.
It was not immediately clear who would represent Kohberger in Idaho. LaBar is just handling her extradition hearing.
Three of the victims, Goncalves, Mogen and Kernodle, were roommates at the house where they died, police said. Chapin, who was Kernodle’s boyfriend, was staying the night.
Two other roommates who were home at the time were asleep during the stabbings, detectives said. One of their cell phones was used to call 911 when they woke up in the morning.
The massacre in the small college town made national news, prompting some 19,000 tips from the public that police said were crucial to locating Kohberger.
But the reluctance of the Moscow Police Department to release information in the early stages of the investigation created an information vacuum and generated public anxiety and fear.
Moscow Police Chief James Fry told NBC News later that he regretted not being more transparent.
“I took responsibility early on for not going out in the press and talking about it,” Fry said during a sometimes emotional New Year’s Eve interview. “That would be something that would change in the future. It’s a lesson learned.”
After Kohberger’s arrest was announced, Kernodle’s mother, Cara Northington, said Friday that a huge weight had been lifted from her shoulders and that she did not know the suspect.
“A lot of the pain was not knowing who it was, knowing that whoever was responsible for it is still out there,” he said. “So yeah, this definitely takes away a lot of the pain that we were experiencing.”
But Kohberger remains an enigma to much of the public. In addition to being a doctoral student, he was known to make “creepy” and inappropriate comments to female employees and customers at a Pennsylvania brewery, the company’s owner told NBC News on Saturday.
Goncalves said Kohberger’s arrest is the beginning of the “second chapter” in what has already been a painful saga for his family and the families of the other victims.
“We are moving forward to make sure we have the right person and we are all focused on understanding what we are about to go through,” he said.
“We’re hopeful that everything works out and they have a strong case against this guy and we’ll get a conviction in the future,” added Gray, the attorney.
Gadi Schwartz and Deon J. Hampton reported from Moscow, Idaho, Minyvonne Burke reported from Monroe County, Pennsylvania, and Corky Siemaszko reported from New York City.