One of the two Idaho students who survived the attack at their shared house is beginning to emerge from self-imposed isolation, new photos taken a year after the tragic incident show. Dylan Mortensen, 21, has been grappling with 'survivor's guilt,' according to her stepmother, and has withdrawn from social activities.
She has adopted a reclusive lifestyle and is spending her time at home playing video games, her father shared. However, recently surfaced photos show her at a sorority initiation on September 15 alongside her University of Idaho friends. She was also seen at a Halloween party on October 31, dressed in a gold sparkly outfit, which contradicts her parents' version.
Totally Different Pictures
Patricia Munroe, Mortensen's stepmother, mentioned earlier this month that her daughter had dropped out of the University of Idaho and transferred to another school. So, it remains unclear whether she was back to visit or if she is currently enrolled in the same college.
In the first video, Mortensen is seen attending a sorority initiation, while in the second video, she is seen dancing and making merry at a Halloween party.
Mortensen's life has dramatically changed since the tragic murder of her four roommates in November 2022. The victims were Madison Mogen, 21; Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and her boyfriend, Ethan Chapin,20.
The four were fatally stabbed in their beds during the early hours of a Sunday morning.
Mortensen reported seeing a man leaving the house in Moscow, Idaho, during that time but only realized hours later that her four roommates had been murdered.
Bryan Kohberger, a 28-year-old criminology student, has been charged with four counts of murder and pleaded not guilty. He is currently in jail, with no trial date set at this time.
Mortensen left Moscow earlier this year, according to Patricia Munroe, who is Mortensen's stepmother.
Munroe was married to Mortensen's father, Brent, and played a significant role in raising her from the age of seven until almost her high school graduation.
Patricia Munroe, while speaking to The New York Post, mentioned that she has remained close to the family and indicated that Mortensen is doing "okay."
Munroe, 53, said: "There's a lot of guilt because, you know, if someone says, 'Oh, well, Dylan was so lucky,' you know, you don't want to take on that luck — because all of the children deserved luck.
"They all deserved to be spared from that."
Mortensen told police that she stood in a "frozen shock phase" as a person dressed in black clothing and a mask approached her, then walked toward the back sliding glass door and exited the house. Afterward, she locked herself in her room and did not come out until the following morning.
Surprisingly, Mortensen and Bethany Funke, the other surviving roommate, did not contact the police until noon the next day.
This delay has led to online trolls making unfounded accusations against Mortensen and Funke, alleging their involvement in the murders.
"You never really think about online backlash and trolls until you deal with it, and it's just a really hurtful thing," Munroe said.
"I challenge anyone to be in a position where they wake up to four of their roommates gone and, you know, not even realizing it.
"People have to understand that these children are very young . . . You know, they're just young kids, and it's just a really traumatizing thing. I just think that people need to have compassion.
"There needs to be space and time for all the details to come out in trial."
Mortensen's father, Brent, revealed to author and private investigator J. Reuben Appelman that she had been isolating herself and resorting to playing video games as a coping mechanism for the stress she was experiencing.
Appelman told NewsNation: "In the beginning weeks after those homicides, she was basically dogpiled on, on social media.
"This was part of the trauma that she experienced.
"Dylan herself has retreated from the public eye, very few people see her."
Mortensen's father conveyed to Appelman that his daughter is in the process of healing, even though she has been targeted by bullies. She is in trauma therapy of sorts, she's getting help from the spiritual community," he said.
"Isolating herself but she is stepping out a little at a time, she is gaming online with peers in group gaming session. She's doing what she can without going into public."