The bizarre case of four students sliced and diced to death in Idaho took another strange twist, when news broke that accused killer Bryan Christopher Kohberger was a big fan of serial killer Dennis Rader. You may recognize his nickname as “the BTK Killer.” There are some intriguing overlaps.
Idaho killer studied killers
After police in Moscow, Idaho seemingly bungled the initial investigation, fresh experts with an assist from the FBI finally named a suspect. Bryan Christopher Kohberger, age 28, swears up and down that he’s totally innocent.
He also acts bizarrely in jail, swearing at the guards and allegedly exposing himself for good measure. They picked him up at the family home in Pennsylvania, nearly seven weeks after the violent murders.
Now that a suspect has been named, armchair sleuths have been running down his background. It turns out that Kohberger is a “a criminal justice Ph.D. candidate who studied under a leading expert on serial killer Dennis Rader.” That’s just the first breadcrumb of a trail.
#NEW: Indiana State Police have released body-camera video from one of its troopers that pulled over Bryan Kohberger and his father on I-70 just outside of Indianapolis. ISP says at the time there was no information available for a suspect in the Idaho murders pic.twitter.com/MyHA34xyo4
— Max Lewis (@MaxLewisTV) January 3, 2023
The four students, all but one female, were stabbed and slashed to death in their sleep. While Madison Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin were brutally murdered, two other women, “on the bottom floor of the three-story, six-bedroom house,” never knew it was happening.
While a student at DeSales University, Kohberger worked directly and closely with BTK expert Dr. Katherine Ramsland. It was Rader’s daughter, Kerri Rawson, who pointed out why that makes such a big difference.
When she heard about Kohberger in the news “she became sick to her stomach.” Professor Ramsland is not just an “expert on serial killers,” she was close with the BTK killer, having “both an academic relationship and friendship with Rader.”
Killer may have given tips
Ms. Rawson has a sinking feeling that her homicidal father had been giving Kohberger “tips” on how to kill people and get away with it. She believes that “Kohberger may have been in touch with her father before the crimes.” It wouldn’t have been difficult. “It’s really common for criminology students in general to write my father.”
She doesn’t get along well with him. She cut off contact with him long ago and “has not spoken to Ramsland in several years.” She also notes that the professor would know if her student had made contact with Rader. “Ramsland would know, but she’s not talking.”
Kohberger got his master’s degree at DeSales then went for his Ph.D. “in the department of criminal justice and criminology at Washington State University.”
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Even though across state lines, it’s “just a few miles from the home near the University of Idaho.” The killings didn’t disrupt his routine any. “After the slayings, Kohberger reportedly continued classes at WSU both in his Ph.D. program and as a teaching assistant.”
As related by Ms. Rawson, there are even more chilling connections. “The suspect is a criminology student, my father has a degree in criminal justice and after his first murders, which was of people at the age of 28, he enrolled at Wichita State University in Wichita, Kansas, for criminal justice.”
That was just the first connection she picked up on. Then, “sometime Friday I put together the Ramsland one, so that really bothered me.” Not only was he a criminology student, he studied with the expert on her dad. She explains that the killer’s family probably believes he’s being framed. They’re fooled “just as she was.“