Idaho College Massacre Suspect Bryan Kohberger 'Changed' in High School, Friend Tells Inside Edition Digital

Bryan Kohberger
Monroe County Detention Center

The news of Bryan Kohberger’s arrest came as a complete shock to one former friend who grew up with Kohberger and said they had been close friends through most of high school.

The suspect arrested for the murders of the four University of Idaho students slain in November is a “quietly intense” young man who struggled in his interactions with women, according to friends and colleagues who spoke to Inside Edition Digital. 

Bryan Kohberger, 28, is due in court Tuesday afternoon after being arrested at his family home in Pennsylvania on Friday in connection with the deaths of Madison Mogen, 21; Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20.

The four were found dead in two bedrooms at an off-campus home rented by the three women in the town of Moscow. 

The news of Kohberger’s arrest came as a complete shock to one former friend who grew up with Kohberger and said they had been close friends through most of high school.

“He was not always so quietly intense and scary,” that former friend tells Inside Edition Digital. “He was such a fun and goofy guy for most of his life, and then something just snapped.”

The friend spoke with Inside Edition Digital on the condition of anonymity, but did provide photos of herself and Kohberger to confirm the two were friends back when they attended Pleasant Valley High School.

“Now, if I am sort of looking back, I would say things changed when he started doing more than just drinking on the weekends,” says the friend. “By senior year we stopped speaking because that person was not Bryan.”

The friend says that Bryan lost weight and that his behavior became unpredictable. 

“Bryan was never like a bad kid. He was not like getting suspended or getting into fights in the parking lot,” says the friend. “But he was always moody and had like a chip on his shoulder. Like we were friends for years and now he was so much better than me.”

When asked what might have caused this change, the friend quickly replies: “Heroin. He started doing heroin, which just makes me so sad because that changed everything.”

The friend's account of Kohberger's alleged drug use was also reported in The New York Times over the weekend. "Mr. Kohberger had struggled with a heroin addiction beginning in high school but had seemed to have moved past it in recent years, friends from Pennsylvania said," the Times wrote. 

“It surprised me, like I was not expecting that my chill friend who has the nicest parents would start doing heroin,” the friend tells Inside Edition Digital.

She also says that Bryan, who had once been shy around girls, turned into a misogynist

The friend says she last saw Kohberger a few years ago at a local bar but the two did not speak. 

“It was so weird,” recalls the friend. “[Me and my friend] wanted to say ‘hi’ to [the person at the bar with Kohberger], so we wait until Bryan goes to the bathroom and walk over. Then, Bryan comes back and looks at me like he has never seen me before in his life.

"At the time I was offended, but now, with these murders, it really scares me."

The friend says that Kohberger did seem to have things in order at that time.

“He was going to school and back at Pleasant Valley working as, like, security,” says the friend. 

Kohberger attended DeSales University at that time, where in 2020 he received his bachelor’s degree. Two years later, he received his master’s degree in criminology and criminal justice from the same school. 

From there, Kohberger enrolled in the doctoral program at Washington State University (WSU). 

He had just completed his first semester at the school last month. The WSU campus is located less than 10 miles from the University of Idaho campus. 

Inside Edition Digital reached out to a number of Kohberger’s WSU classmates, who said that they had been instructed not to speak to the press.

“I got an email from someone at the school saying there is a chance that any of us could be called to testify or may have to speak to investigators, so we should decline any requests from members of the media,” one classmate tells Inside Edition Digital.

Kohberger is expected to waive extradition when he appears in a Monroe County courtroom on Tuesday afternoon, said Kohberger’s attorney, Jason LaBar, a local public defender.

“Mr. Kohberger is eager to be exonerated of these charges and looks forward to resolving these matters as promptly as possible,” said LaBar in a statement obtained by Inside Edition Digital. 

The motive and any possible relationship between Kohberger and the victims will not be revealed until he is extradited back to Idaho per a state statute requiring criminal complaints to remain sealed until a defendant is in the state. 

“Mr. Kohberger has been accused of very serious crimes, but the American justice system cloaks him in a veil of innocence," reads LaBar’s statement. "He should be presumed innocent until proven otherwise— not tried in the court of public opinion."

Kohberger’s family is also voicing their support for the accused murderer, releasing a statement that reads: “We have fully cooperated with law enforcement agencies in an attempt to seek the truth and promote his presumption of innocence rather than judge unknown facts and make erroneous assumptions.”

Guilty or not, it will still be a difficult trial for the Latah County Prosecutor's Office.

As one of Kohberger's WSU classmates tells Inside Edition Digital: “I would not want to go head-to-head with a defendant who happens to be an expert in criminology." 

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