Bryan Kohberger Case: Eyewitness at Scene Is Same Student Police Previously Claimed Slept Through Murders

Latah County Detention Center
Latah County Detention Center

The eyewitness who claimed to see someone on the night of the murders is the same student the Moscow Police Department previously said slept through the attack.

A week after the murders of four University of Idaho students, police announced that there had been six people in the home on the night of the massacre.

The two women who survived had been asleep, according to authorities, a claim that was published in the daily updates that were handed out to the public and press prior to the arrest of suspect Bryan Kohberger.

That statement changed, though, on Dec. 30, when Corporal Bret Payne of the Moscow Police Department (MPD) wrote in a probable cause affidavit seeking an arrest warrant for Kohberger that one of the women who survived the Nov. 13 massacre saw someone that night.

“D.M. stated she opened her door for the third time after she heard the crying and saw a figure clad in black clothing and a mask that covered the person's mouth and nose walking towards her," says the affidavit.

That is a different account than what the MPD included in the daily reports it released on the investigation into the University of Idaho murders.

The MPD update released to the press and public on Nov. 20 reads: “Detectives believe that on November 12th, the two surviving roommates had also been out in the Moscow community, separately, but returned home by 1 a.m. on November 13th. The two did not wake up until later that morning.”

Read: Moscow Homicide Dec. 19 Update

That information is included as part of the investigative timeline in every subsequent release put out by the MPD until Dec. 20, at which time the timeline is no longer included as part of the daily update. 

Ten days later, Payne stated in his affidavit that one of the surviving roommates was not only awake but possibly an eyewitness in the case. 

“D.M. described the figure as 5' I0" or taller, male, not very muscular, but athletically built with bushy eyebrows. The male walked past D.M. as she stood in a ‘frozen shock phase,’” says the probable cause affidavit. 

“The male walked towards the back sliding glass door. D.M. locked herself in her room after seeing the male. D.M. did not state that she recognized the male. This leads investigators to believe that the murderer left the scene.”

Investigators had surveillance footage that captured a man they believed to be Kohberger driving to and from the victims’ neighborhood on the night of the attacks  along with his alleged DNA on a knife sheath left at the scene. 

A latent shoe print found just outside the door of D.M.’s bedroom supported her claim, though that print was not discovered until the second processing of the crime scene by the ISP Forensic Team, according to the affidavit.

It is unclear when that second processing took place, and a gag order in the case prohibits members of the MPD, Idaho State Police, or Federal Bureau of Investigation from commenting on the investigation.

122922 Affidavit - Exhibit A - Statement of Brett Payne_1.pdf

Police clams they were not called to the home until just before noon the following day, almost eight hours after the murders.

A source tells Inside Edition Digital that the two surviving roommates called Chapin’s two siblings, who also attend the University of Idaho, to the home before calling police.                                       

Chapin’s mother noted last week that two of her family’s vehicles were with Kohberger’s legal team. The MPD seized all the cars parked at the residence when they responded to the initial 911 call to examine them for any possible evidence before turning them over to the defense.

“For an update, anything we/Ethan had is not frozen with the defense,” said Stacy Chapin in a statement on social media. “For us, it involves two vehicles, E’s belonging, and a nice set of golf clubs.”

Kohberger, 28, is currently behind bars at the Latah County Detention Center. He is not due back in court until June. A public defender assigned to Kohberger's case after his arrest in Pennsylvania said that his client is innocent of the charges that have been filed against him.

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