Idaho murder suspect Bryan Kohberger reportedly messaged one of the female victims weeks before the quadruple murder – and sent more direct messages after she ignored him.
Speaking to PEOPLE, a police source said Kohberger, 28, had repeatedly reached out to one of the four University of Idaho students who were repeatedly killed via Instagram to get her attention.
“He slipped into one of the girls’ DMs multiple times but she didn’t respond,” the source told PEOPLE. “Basically, it was just him saying, ‘Hey, how are you?’ But he kept doing it.’
It’s currently unknown which student Kohberger sent Instagram messages to, or who the investigator “familiar with the case” who spoke to the magazine is.
The source also didn’t say if the woman who allegedly texted Kohberger intentionally ignored him or if the message he sent ended up in her “requested” folder from people she wasn’t friends with. These messages aren’t displayed as warnings and are harder to spot.
Idaho victim Kaylee Goncalves reportedly complained about a stalker leading up to the killings, but it’s unclear if there’s a connection between this and her murder.
Bryan Kohberger, 28, is said to have sent messages via Instagram to one of the victims
Kohberger is charged with the murders of Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Maddie Mogen, 21, Ethan Chapin, 20, and Xana Kernodle, 20
Kohberger, a Ph.D. Washington State University criminology student, was arrested December 30 at his family’s home in Allbrightsville, Pennsylvania.
He has maintained his innocence in the stabbings of Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Madison Mogen, 21, Ethan Chapin, 20, and Xana Kernodle, 20.
Now, a local law enforcement official close to the case says the evidence against Kohberger continues to mount.
The Instagram account in question was viewed by PEOPLE before it was removed.
Kohberger reportedly followed Mogen, Goncalves and Kernodle.
He has otherwise not interacted publicly with their accounts, the outlet says.
In alleged messages sent by the now-deleted Instagram, Kohberger appeared to be hoping to get the attention of the victim he was targeting.
Kohberger, 28, was linked to the crime via DNA found on a knife sheath at the scene
This is the house in Moscow, Idaho where the four students were found murdered
The criminology student reportedly followed Mogen, Goncalves and Kernodle on Instagram
It is unclear which of the four victims Kohberger allegedly was
Kohberger’s Instagram account has since been deleted
The victim, whose identity has not been confirmed, did not respond to the messages for unknown reasons.
However, the officer who spoke to PEOPLE claimed the victim may have missed them completely.
“She may not have seen them because they made news requests,” the source said over the news.
The DMs were reportedly sent out in October, just weeks before the November 13 murders.
When someone who isn’t followed by an Instagram user tries to send a message, it’s moved to a specific folder called Message Requests. “These requests are in a different place than typical messages.
Investigators said they were still trying to determine how aware the victims were of its existence.
Kohberger was arrested in Pennsylvania on December 30
However, the officer who spoke to PEOPLE claimed the victim may have missed them completely
“There’s no indication he was frustrated with her lack of response,” the source said
It’s possible Kohberger was upset at the lack of response, but that’s just one theory of many put forward by those who have been following the case.
However, the investigator who spoke to PEOPLE said there was “no evidence” of it.
“There’s no indication he was frustrated with her lack of response,” the source said.
Even with no sign of frustration, the source said Kohberger was “definitely persistent” in the messages to the University of Idaho students.
Although it has not been confirmed by police, reported in December that in the weeks leading up to her death, Goncalves begged friends to always walk close behind her for fear of a “stalker” who would follow her around town.
It’s still unknown if Goncalves was the one who messaged Kohberger, or if he was stalking her in any way.
A motive in the case has yet to be officially released by police in Moscow, Idaho.
Even with no sign of frustration, the source said Kohberger was “definitely persistent” in the messages to the University of Idaho students
reported in December that in the weeks leading up to her death, Goncalves begged friends to stay close behind her for fear of a “stalker” following her around town
One of the surviving housemates, who was at the home on the night of the killings, told police she saw “a figure dressed in black and a mask” walking past her as they left the scene, according to the probable cause affidavit.
A knife sheath was recovered at the scene and compared to DNA from Kohberger’s father, which linked the Washington State University student to the crime.
Investigators also tracked his cellphone pings to a nearby tower in the weeks leading up to the brutal stabbings.
However, some experts have cited the proximity of Kohberger’s school to the off-campus home where the victims lived as an explanation for the pings.
The December arrest followed a six-week investigation by local law enforcement
One of the surviving housemates, who was at the home on the night of the killings, told police she saw “a figure dressed in black and a mask” walking past her as they left the scene, according to the probable cause affidavit
“Moscow isn’t that far from Washington State University, so it would be natural that there would be some of these towers that could ping,” said David Wilson, a professor of criminology.
There are only eight miles between the Washington State University campus in Pullman, where Kohberger studied, and Moscow, Idaho, where the killings took place.
“There will be a defense,” Wilson said of the defense.
Kohberger has not filed a plea, but said he “looks forward to being exonerated.”
His next hearing is scheduled for June. He also faces a case of burglary.
The university where he worked was just over eight miles from the crime scene