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DNA, genetic genealogy helped lead police to Idaho slayings suspect

Police ran DNA left at the scene through a public database, then used genetic genealogy techniques to connect the DNA to Bryan Kohberger through his family members


Photo/YouTube via ABC 7 News

By Ashley Silver

STROUDSBURG, Pa. — The nationwide search for a suspect in the quadruple murder of University of Idaho students came to an end last week when 28-year-old Washington State University doctoral student Bryan Kohberger was arrested at his parents’ home. University of Idaho students Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin were found murdered on Nov. 13. But what led authorities to Kohberger?

DNA and genealogical evidence played a key role in the investigation, according to the New York Post.

Police first zeroed in on Kohberger through DNA left at the scene of the murders, running it through a public database, then using genetic genealogy techniques to connect the DNA to Kohberger through his family members, CNN reported.

As officers searched for Kohberger, they eventually discovered he took a cross-country road trip with his father, who authorities say was unaware of his son’s part in the murders. Authorities began trailing him for four days during the road trip as they worked to obtain an arrest warrant, eventually taking him into custody during a pre-dawn raid at his parent’s home in Pennsylvania.

There have been no details released yet on a motive and a murder weapon has not been located. Kohberger has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder with additional charges likely to be filed.

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