Bryan Kohberger May Have Been Driven by 'Incel Complex' to Kill the Four Idaho University Students, Ex-FBI Agent Believes

Men who struggle to form romantic or sexual relationships are frequently referred to as incels, an acronym for "involuntarily celibate."

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University of Idaho murder suspect Brian Kohberger may have been driven to kill the four students due to an "incel complex" and his history of other social issues, a former FBI investigator claims. According to Pete Yachmetz, Kohberger is believed to have stabbed the four students in an attempt to "assert self dominance" emerging from his "incel complex."

Kohberger, 28, was arrested late last month for the Nov. 13 stabbing deaths of Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Ethan Chapin, 20, at an off-campus residence in Moscow, Idaho. Although police managed to arrest Kohberger six weeks after the quadrupole murders, they are yet to find any motive behind the killings.

Possible Motive

Bryan Kohberger
Bryan Kohberger Twitter

Yachmetz posted that Kohberger, who was raised in Pennsylvania, had a history of social troubles as his former classmates recall, Kohberger was a disturbed, angry young man who didn't fit in at school.

"The murders may have been... an effort to assert some type of dominance," former FBI agent and security expert Pete Yachmetz told the New York Post.

"I believe a continued stabbing of a victim uncontrollable rage and extreme anger," Yachmetz said, noting that Kohberger has been described as "socially awkward with a long history of interpersonal problems."

Dylan Mortensen
Dylan Mortensen, 21, (extreme left) and Bethany Funke, 21 (extreme right), the two survivors, with the four slain Idaho students Twitter

"I think he may have developed a sort of incel complex," he surmised.

Men who struggle to form romantic or sexual relationships are frequently referred to as incels, an acronym for "involuntarily celibate." The identity has occasionally been connected to crimes and, in some cases, misogynistic online forums:

In 2021, self-proclaimed incel Tres Genco was arrested for planning a mass shooting that would have killed 3,000 sorority girls at an undisclosed Ohio institution. The twisted plot was admitted to by Genco, 22, who now faces a life sentence.

Psychology Today reported last year that men who identify as incels frequently have poor mental health and experience feelings of victimhood, inferiority, and loneliness, despite the fact that this is not a true clinical definition.

Strange Mindset

However, Koberger has entered a not guilty plea to the four murder charges, and according to his former attorney, the evidence against him is circumstantial. According to the NY Post, Yachmetz's evaluation of Kohberger was consistent with Dr. Carole Lieberman, a forensic psychiatrist who last week told CourtTV that she thought the suspect fit the incel description.

Kaylee GonCalves and Madison Mogen
Kaylee GonCalves and Madison Mogen were found dead under mysterious circumstances Twitter

"I've been saying from the beginning that he's an incel," Lieberman said, adding that Kohberger's alleged "choice of victims," or choice to prey primarily on female college students, had largely convinced her.

She was also intrigued by evidence revealing that he went back to the location mere hours after the students were killed, according to Lieberman.

"Incels like to be known for when they kill people, or when they have a conquest like this. On the one hand, he wanted to commit the perfect crime and not be caught, but on the other hand, he did want to be caught, and be proud, in a sense, of what he did," she said.

Chapin and Xana Kernodle
Chapin and Xana Kernodle Twitter

Kohberger was a criminology PhD student at Washington State University, which is located approximately 15 minutes from Moscow, at the time of the killings. While his WSU contemporaries characterized him as "gregarious," his Pennsylvania hometown peers regarded him as a loner who suffered from weight discrimination before developing a drug addiction.

Kohberger allegedly had a middle school crush on Kim Kenley, who apparently spoke with the FBI about their interactions. "'He would always say, 'Oh Kim, I think you're very pretty.' Just like weird comments. And she'd say, 'Oh my God, leave me alone,'" Kenley's mother, Sandra, told the Daily Mail.

"She did not give him the time of day. When kids are little, they're mean. They don't say, 'Oh my god, thank you, but no.'"

Kohberger's heart would eventually be broken when Kenely told him to go. She was then living in Sciota, a small town in eastern Pennsylvania, about 30 minutes' drive from Kohberger's house in Albrightsville and 90 miles north of Philadelphia.

Kim Kenely
Kim Kenely Facebook

According to former classmates, Kohberger was overweight and the target of brutal teasing and bullying throughout middle school.

"The whole clique of popular girls made fun of him in school. They were the cheerleaders and the ones that every kid had crushes on," another classmate who wanted to remain anonymous told

"They literally tortured him, girls started making fun of him in middle school."

However, Kohberger appeared to change his ways in high school, where he started boxing and slimmed down. "He was a totally different person. He worked out constantly and was super aggressive," the male friend told the outlet.