Kaylee Goncalves’ father thanks roommates who survived Idaho murders for helping in Bryan Kohberger case
The father of slain University of Idaho student Kaylee Goncalves has expressed his support for the young women who survived the attack in which his daughter was killed.
Dylan Mortensen and Brittany Funke were inside their off-campus home in Moscow when roommates Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Kernodle’s boyfriend Ethan Chapin were stabbed to death in the early morning hours of 13 November.
According to an affidavit released earlier this year, Ms Mortensen told investigators that on the night of the murders, she saw “a figure clad in black clothing and a mask that covered the person’s mouth and nose walking towards her”.
Ms Mortensen and Ms Funke faced online harassment as speculation grew and questions were raised over the eight hours that passed between the attack and the time police were called. They were never considered suspects and authorities have described them as survivors since the early stages of the probe.
In an interview with NewsNation’s Ashleigh Banfield aired on Wednesday, Goncalves’ father Steve Goncalves thanked Ms Funke and Ms Mortensen for their cooperation with the investigation, which he called critical to build a strong case against suspect Bryan Kohberger.
“They’re going through a lot; I appreciate what they’ve done for the case and all the information that they’ve provided,” Mr Goncalves said. “I wish they wouldn’t have to go through it but it’s critical, it’s absolutely going to make the case so I commend them for their courage and to go through this and to know I can’t fix it for them.”
The grieving father said he has spoken with one of the surviving roommates and hopes he can support them in any capacity to make the process easier.
“I’ve been able to talk to one of them. They know where we stand. These girls... If I saw them, I’d give them a hug,” Mr Goncalves said. “I’m there to let them know that we really appreciate it and, all the parents, we’re vulnerable so we need those girls to come forward and provide those details and they have done that, and we really appreciate it.”
Mr Goncalves also said that at least two other families will attend Mr Kohberger’s arraignment on Monday following his indictment on one burglary and four murder counts by a grand jury. The bombshell indictment on Tuesday effectively rerouted the case directly to the state’s felony court level and allowed prosecutors to skip the preliminary hearing process, the Associated Press reported.
“I know on Monday, I won’t be the only parent down there. There’ll be other families there. And, I think it’s a moment of solidarity that we’re getting we’re getting more and more people active, and you got to give people time to figure out how they want to respond and how they’re going to just wake up and deal with an everyday situation,” Mr Goncalves said.
He said that his family and other victims’ parents have been planning the route they’ll take to the courthouse on Monday.
“But they’re all starting to get their power and their strength and they’re all ready to go to court and I think that courtrooms gonna get more and more crowded,” he added.
Mr Kohberger said through a public defender earlier this year that he “was eager to be exonerated”. He was linked to the crimes by DNA evidence, cellphone data and surveillance video of what prosecutors believe is his white Hyundai Elantra leaving the scene, according to the arrest affidavit.
Another roommate, who survived the attack, was also able to partially describe the killer to investigators after she came face-to-face with him. The murder weapon, a fixed-blade knife, was not recovered during searches and remains missing.
Two warrants obtained by The Independent show that investigators collected a Glock .40 calibre gun, empty gun magazines, a knife, a pocket knife, black face masks, black gloves, electronic devices, and clothing items from the home of Mr Kohberger’s parents in Pennsylvania where he was arrested.
The family home was raided on 30 December, the same day that a search was also carried out at Mr Kohberger’s apartment in Pullman, Washington a 15-minute drive from the crime scene in Moscow. He was arrested in Pennsylvania that day and later extradited to Idaho.
The Washington warrant revealed that investigators seized a “collection of dark red” spotting and a pillow with a “reddish/brown stain” at Mr Kohberger’s apartment. At least two items seized from that search tested positive for blood.