Clue Found at Idaho Murder Scene Sparks Questions About Possible Target

2 weeks ago 30

A new clue about the Idaho murders could point to a possible target in the crimes with which Bryan Kohberger is charged.

In the probable cause affidavit released last week, investigators with the Moscow Police Department said they discovered a knife sheath on the bed where Madison Mogen was found fatally stabbed. Investigators later used DNA found on the sheath to build a DNA profile, linking back to Kohberger's father. Kohberger, 28, was later arrested on four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Mogen, 21; Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Ethan Chapin, 20; and Xana Kernodle, 20.

Kenneth Mains, a nationally renowned cold-case expert and retired detective, told Newsweek that in his opinion, "either one or both of those victims found where the sheath was located were [the] intended targets." According to investigators, Mogen and Goncalves were found in the same bed on the morning of November 13, both fatally stabbed.

Moscow, Idaho
A sign welcomes visitors to Moscow, Idaho, the site of a November quadruple murder. Inset, suspect Bryan Kohberger enters a hearing in Latah County District Court on January 5, 2023. The knife sheath left at the scene could potentially provide investigators more clues regarding the targeted victims in the slayings. David Ryder; Ted S. Warren - Pool/Getty Images

"If that was not the case the offender would take out the biggest threat first to accomplish [the] mission, that would have been the male victim. The sheath would have been found in that room ... yet that is not what the crime scene tells us," Mains told Newsweek. "[The assailant] removed the knife from the sheath and began [the] deadly assault on [the] intended target(s). During the frenzy and euphoric high [the assailant] was going through, [the attacker] simply forgot the sheath. Fortunately, [the killer's] fatal flaw."

Kohberger's attorney in Pennsylvania, Jason LaBar, previously said that his client was "eager to be exonerated" of the charges filed against him. The statement was issued prior to his extradition to Idaho, where he is currently charged.

While speaking with Fox News Digital, distinguished professor of applied forensics at Jacksonville State University in Alabama, Joseph Scott Morgan offered a similar opinion on what the knife sheath could reveal.

"I think that's where the attack initiated, and that's important," he told Fox News Digital. ""It's a very dramatic thing when you think about it ... [The attacker's] near the bed, grabs the handle of the blade and flips that button on the sheath [while the] other hand drops the sheath in the bed after drawing the knife."

However, Thomas O'Connor, senior consultant for The Soufan Group and retired FBI agent, provided a different take on the sheath discovery.

"At some point when you take the knife out, it's [possible] that the sheath comes off then, when you're trying to get the knife out of the sheath during this attack," O'Connor told Newsweek. "And so that could show that it was the first time it came out of the sheath is when it came off but that is not something that is rock solid."

"You can also look at if someone is struggling with this person that the sheath got knocked off ... or maybe it wasn't on the belt, there's a lot of other things. I wouldn't put a lot of credibility in just the fact of where the sheath was found, there's a lot of other information that is going to be gathered around that crime scene," O'Connor added.

According to O'Connor, another piece of information that could likely show the order in which the victims were killed, or who the intended target was, is through possible footprints found in the blood, which would trace the steps of the perpetrator through the home.

Newsweek has reached out to the Kootenai County public defender's office, which is representing Kohberger.

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