Indiana law enforcement officials have refuted claims suggesting a connection between two routine traffic stops and the investigation into suspected serial killer Bryan Kohberger, accused of the University of Idaho murders, CrimeSpace has learned. Reports circulating on social media alleged that the stops, which occurred as Kohberger and his father traveled across the country to Pennsylvania, were directed by the FBI as part of their tracking efforts. However, both the FBI and Indiana officials have denied any such involvement.
The two traffic stops took place on December 15 along Interstate 70, east of Indianapolis. The first stop was conducted by a Hancock County Sheriff’s deputy, followed by a stop by an Indiana State trooper, within a span of 10 minutes. In both cases, the reason for the stops was cited as following too closely, and the officers issued verbal warnings before allowing the Kohbergers to proceed.
Bryan Kohberger was eventually arrested on December 30 at his parents’ residence, facing charges related to the murders of Ethan Chapin, Xana Kernodle, Madison Mogen, and Kaylee Goncalves.
Earlier reports had suggested that law enforcement had been monitoring the Kohbergers’ cross-country journey and that the FBI specifically requested the Indiana traffic stops, potentially to examine the suspect’s hands. According to CrimeOnline, both the FBI and Indiana officials have refuted these claims.
Captain Robert Harris of the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office clarified that both traffic stops were routine drug interdiction checks. The first stop, conducted by Sheriff’s Sgt. Nick Ernstes, was described as a standard part of his daily duties. Harris emphasized that Ernstes had not received any directives to stop the vehicle and was unaware of any ongoing surveillance or alerts related to the case.
Similarly, an Indiana State Police spokesperson declined to provide further details on the traffic stops but noted that at the time of the second stop by Trooper Christopher Waltz, no identifying or specific information about the Idaho murders or the suspect’s vehicle had been made available.
Former New York Times reporter Howard Blum, currently working on a book about the Idaho murders, previously published an article suggesting the FBI’s tracking of Kohberger’s movements, including the Indiana traffic stops. Despite the denials from Indiana officials, Blum stands by his reporting.
As the investigation into the University of Idaho murders continues, authorities are focusing on gathering evidence and building a strong case against Bryan Kohberger. The precise circumstances surrounding the traffic stops remain unrelated to the ongoing probe, according to law enforcement officials involved in the case.
As CrimeSpace previously reported, Kohberger’s defense team requested additional time to determine whether to provide a formal alibi.
After nearly seven weeks of intense investigation, authorities have arrested and charged Bryan Kohberger, 28, in connection with the murders of four University of Idaho students: Madison Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves, Xana Kernodle, and Ethan Chapin.
Bryan Kohberger was arrested on Friday, December 30, in Pennsylvania, in relation to the murders of the four University of Idaho students. He was subsequently charged with four counts of murder and one count of felony burglary. On January 3, Kohberger appeared in a Pennsylvania courtroom and voluntarily waived his extradition to Idaho. He was transported back to Idaho on January 4 to face the charges against him.
The slayings occurred on November 13 in an off-campus rental home located in Moscow, Idaho. Madison Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves, Xana Kernodle, and Ethan Chapin were tragically stabbed to death. It is important to note that Ethan Chapin was not a resident in the home but was staying overnight with his girlfriend, Xana Kernodle. Two other roommates who were present at the 1122 King Road residence, Dylan Mortensen and Bethany Funke, were unharmed.
Initially, it was believed that the surviving roommates had slept through the attack. However, a probable cause affidavit, released after Kohberger’s return to Idaho, revealed new information. One of the surviving roommates reported seeing the killer as a “figure clad in black clothing and a mask” who passed by her while leaving the crime scene. Additionally, she recalled hearing crying on the night of the killings. The affidavit also indicated that Kohberger was linked to the crime scene through DNA and cell phone pings.
Following Kohberger’s arrest, reactions among those who knew him varied. Some expressed shock and disbelief at the allegations, while others revealed they were less surprised. The community and the university have been deeply affected by the tragic loss of these young lives.