Is the Internet to Blame for the Idaho Murders?


Jacob Eyring

On the morning of November 13, 2022, Idaho police responded to a 911 call from inside a University of Idaho residence home requesting aid for an “unconscious” person. Police arrived on the scene to discover blood-splattered walls, a leather knife sheath hidden under a bed, and four dead University of Idaho students. All of which were fatally stabbed. With little to no immediate explanation as to why or how these grisly killings took place since all other potential witnesses were presumed asleep for most of the killings, a prompt investigation was launched. Through DNA analysis, a thorough review of surveillance footage, and testimonies from surviving residents of the home, police were able to identify 28-year-old Bryan Kohberger as the killer. 

While Kohberger has been charged with 4 counts of first-degree murder and now faces a possible death sentence, the question puzzling many people’s minds is how could a seemingly normal ph.D student studying criminal justice, be the leading suspect in such a heinous criminal case? How did we miss them? Upon further research, a look back on Bryan Kohberger’s presence online and on social media may provide some insight as to why these seemingly random attacks may have taken place.

 Kohberger could be described as being an “internet addict”. The New York Times reported that “ Kohberger made a total of 118 posts on an online forum discussing mental illness.” Such posts consisted of declarations of mental health struggles while also featuring confessions of “crazy thoughts” and “delusions of grandeur”. It is quite interesting that around this time, the National Library of Medicine published a study researching the link between aggression and an internet addiction disorder in adolescents. They discovered that, “Findings suggest that adolescents with Internet addiction disorder seem to have more aggressive dispositions than do normal adolescents.” And that, “If more aggressive individuals are clinically prone to internet addiction, early psychiatric intervention may contribute to the prevention of IAD and possibly further aggressive behavior.”

 With the case and prosecution of Kohberger coming to a close, we will be forever reminded of these crimes, however, there may be an important lesson to be learned from this. Radicalization and extrapolation of mental illness are very commonplace on the types of online forums that Bryan was posting and engaging on. Had someone, whether a parent, friend or individual, come across the many alarming posts by Kohberger on the internet, there is a possibility that he could have been reported and maybe even helped and perhaps these killings would have never have happened. Never be afraid to speak up and say something.