Accused Idaho killer Bryan Kohberger grew up in an apparently average family with a “warm-hearted” mother, records and witnesses attest.
Kohberger, 28, was arrested Dec. 30 at his parents’ home in Albrightsville, Pa., almost seven weeks after the stabbing deaths of University of Idaho students Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Ethan Chapin, 20, in their off-campus house in Moscow on Nov. 13.
Born in 1994, Kohberger is the youngest child and only son of Michael Kohberger Jr., 67, and Maryann Kohberger, 62. Along with his older sisters, Amanda and Melissa, Kohberger was raised largely in nearby Effort, Pa., before the family relocated to the private Indian Mountain Lake community in Albrightsville.
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.
In the aftermath of the Idaho killings, Michael Kohberger flew to Spokane, Wash., to accompany his son, a doctoral student in criminal justice at Washington State University in Pullman — just 10 miles from the Idaho murder site — on the 2,500-mile drive back to Pennsylvania.
The pair traveled in the white Hyundai Elantra that has subsequently been linked to the Moscow crime scene. They were pulled over twice for speeding and tailgaiting.
It is unclear how close Kohberger was with his mother, whom his former classmate Deja Mann remembered as “the most warm-hearted, kind individual.”
“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.”
Mann also recalled that Maryann “never” discussed her son, who was an “aggressive” loner with social issues.
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.
In addition to $398 in a joint checking account, the Kohbergers’ reported $49.77 in savings.
It is unclear with Michael and Maryann Kohberger were home when a SWAT team arrested their son in the early hours of Dec. 30. LaBar told WFLA that both parents and sisters plan to attend Kohberger’s extradition hearing on Tuesday afternoon.
If he waives extradition as expected, he could be returned to Idaho as early as Tuesday night. Once there, Kohberger will faces four murder charges for the Nov. 13 killings, in addition to one count of felony burglary.