Accused Idaho murder Bryan Kohberger grew up in an apparently average family with a “warm-hearted” mother, records and witnesses attest.
Nearly seven weeks after University of Idaho students Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Ethan Chapin, 20, were stabbed to death in their off-campus Moscow home on November 13, Kohberger, 28, was detained at his parents’ Albrightsville, Pennsylvania, residence on December 30.
Kohberger, who was born in 1994, is the only son and youngest child of Maryann Kohberger, 62, and Michael Kohberger Jr., 67. Before the family moved to the exclusive Indian Mountain Lake neighborhood in Albrightsville, Kohberger and his older sisters, Amanda and Melissa, spent the most of their childhood in the nearby town of Effort, Pennsylvania.
On Jan. 1, Kohberger’s public defender Jason A. LaBar issued a statement on behalf of the family that expressed sympathy for the victims and noted their desire to “promote [Bryan’s] presumption of innocence rather than judge unknown facts.”
Throughout Kohberger’s childhood, both of his parents worked for the Pleasant Valley School District. Records show that Michael Kohberger Jr. was a maintenance worker for the school district from 2006 through June 2019, while Maryann Kohberger was a paraprofessional assisting special-needs students until around 2020.
After the murders in Idaho, Michael Kohberger flew to Spokane, Washington, to drive back to Pennsylvania with his son, a criminal justice PhD student at Washington State University in Pullman, which is only 10 miles from the crime scene in Idaho.
The white Hyundai Elantra that has since been connected to the Moscow crime site was used by the two to travel. They were stopped twice for tailgating and speeding.
Kohberger’s mother was remembered by his former classmate Deja Mann as “the most warm-hearted, lovely individual,” but it is unknown how close the two were.
“Bryan’s mother was my special-needs teacher,” Mann told The Post this week.
“Whenever I was sad or depressed, she was always there right by my side. She would always cheer me up.”
Speaking to the Daily Beast, Kohberger’s former high school friend Thomas Arntz called both Maryann and Michael “genuinely kind people.”
“She must be a wreck right now, with what she’s going through,” Mann said.
A registered Democrat, Maryann Kohberger shared her stance on abortion, the death penalty and gun control in op-eds published in the Pocono Daily Record.
“I do not personally support abortion, and by all means do not support the death penalty,” she wrote in a letter to the editor from March 2008.
In a second letter titled “I pray we consider the children, before the gun,” published in the wake of the Uvalde school shooting in May 2022, Maryann said she was “wrestling with which actions need to be taken to stop all the madness.”
She also shared a poem written by her daughter Melissa, who is a practicing mental health counselor in New Jersey.
In addition to Maryann’s public writing, records show that the couple filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy twice — once in 1996, and again in 2010.
According to filing documents obtained by Heavy.com, in 2010 the couple listed $154,719.11 in assets against $260,173.18 in liabilities.
The Kohbergers reported $49.77 in savings in addition to $398 in a combined bank account.
Michael and Maryann Kohberger’s whereabouts at the time of their son’s arrest by a SWAT squad in the wee hours of December 30 are unknown. Kohberger’s parents and sisters intend to attend the extradition hearing on Tuesday in the afternoon, LaBar told WFLA.
He might be sent back to Idaho as soon as Tuesday night if he waives extradition as predicted. Once there, Kohberger will be charged with four counts of murder for the killings on November 13 as well as one count of felony burglary.