Bryan Kohberger Completed High School Online for Reasons That Remain Unclear: Report

Bryan Kohberger

Donna Yozwiak tells the Idaho Statesman that the 28-year-old PhD student transitioned to online learning after spending his sophomore and junior years in a technical program offered by his school district.

Bryan Kohberger did not attend classes at his Pennsylvania high school during his senior year and instead earned his diploma through an online course, according to his former guidance counselor.

Donna Yozwiak told the Idaho Statesman that the 28-year-old PhD student transitioned to online learning after spending his sophomore and junior years in a technical program offered by his school district.

Administrators would not say whether Kohberger or school administrators made the decision to remove Kohberger from in-person learning.

Tanya Carmella-Beer, a former “technical school administrator who oversaw student discipline and mental health,” said she met with Kohberger in her official capacity prior this his transition.

She said she could not speak about why Kohberger left the program but said that a student could choose to leave or be asked to leave due to disciplinary action.

“Sometimes, depending on the disciplinary offense and any issues surrounding it, it may not be the student’s choice to be removed from a program — particularly a program that might have many rules and regulations in place,” Carmella-Beer said. “In general, a student can be very strong academically and perform very well in clinical work, but one or more infractions would take the opportunity to participate in that program away.”

Kohberger enrolled in the law enforcement program at the district's technical school during his sophomore year, then switched to the HVAC program his junior year, Yozwiak said.

The law enforcement program trained students to be a police officer, firefighter or EMT, but “barred certain behaviors" said Carmella-Beer. 

It is unclear if Kohberger chose to leave the law enforcement program or was asked to leave.

Yozwiak said that Kohberger had been a good student with parents who took an active interest in his education and both worked for the school district at times.

His mother had been a teacher's aide and his father a maintenance worker at one point.

“I recall no problems. He was a regular kid, and thankfully his parents were involved in his education,” Yozwiak said. “I don’t recall anything that was out of the ordinary.”

Kohberger's friends from that time said that the "close of his high school career and the years that followed ... were marked by a marijuana habit graduating into a heroin addiction."

That is also when he began an intense workout routine that resulted in him losing half his body weight and being hospitalized for an eating disorder, former friend Jack Baylis told the Statesman.

“Honestly, I feel he was looking for validation, and that’s why he fell into that crowd,” Casey Arntz, the sister of one of Kohberger's closest friends at the time, told the paper. “And honestly, it’s why he fell into the whole drug scene.”

Baylis said the drugs changed Kohberger into a different person. 

"I think drugs goofed him pretty bad. He was having a time. He’d tell me, ‘I’m clean now, I’m totally clean now,’ and he’d have bleeding track marks," Baylis said of the years after high school.

He told one friend he had stopped using in 2016 and had gotten his life back on track.

Kohberger did seem to turn his life around at that time, and in August 2022 began working towards his PhD in criminology at Washington State University.

Then, in the early morning hours of Nov. 13, police say he allegedly drove across the state border and murdered  four University of Idaho college students: Madison Mogen, 21; Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20.

Kohberger, who told the public defendant assigned to handle his extradition from Pennsylvania to Idaho that he expects to be exonerated at trial, is now being held without bail at the Latah County Detention Center ahead of a preliminary hearing in June.

He faces four counts of first-degree murder and one count of burglary.

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