Fact Check: Was Bryan Kohberger in the military? Yearbook revelations explored

School yearbook reveals Idaho student murder suspect Bryan Kohberger reportedly aspired to be an Army Ranger (Image via CrimeWithKenz/Twitter and LDBlondePod/Twitter)
School yearbook reveals Idaho student murder suspect Bryan Kohberger reportedly aspired to be an Army Ranger (Image via CrimeWithKenz/Twitter and LDBlondePod/Twitter)

Bryan Kohberger, the suspect arrested in connection to the University of Idaho student murders, reportedly aspired to be an Army Ranger. A picture of him in a law enforcement class has been featured in the 2011 Pleasant Valley High School yearbook.

In the yearbook photo, Bryan is seen in a mid-air push-up posture while exercising in uniform alongside other students. A US flag is visible in an insignia on his right sleeve and a badge is seen dangling from his left pocket.

According to Yahoo News, the caption of the photo read:

“Sophomore Bryan Kohenberger [sic] performs his daily push-ups as part of his law enforcement class. Kohenberger [sic] used the skills he learned to help him reach his goal to one day serve in the Army Rangers.”

Bryan Kohberger's last name was allegedly misspelled as “Kohenberger” in the photo and no other student of the same name was found in the yearbook records from 2011, 2012 and 2013.

According to the official U.S. Army website, Army Rangers is a premier infantry force that serves as a branch of the elite Special Operations Forces. The Rangers reportedly specializes in “conducting raids and assault missions deep inside enemy territory.”

While Bryan took law enforcement classes, he was never part of the U.S. military. Later in life, he moved away from his dreams of joining the military and established a career in the academic field instead.

Educator and YouTuber Dr. Todd Grande analyzed Kohberger’s yearbook photo. Grande theorized that a connection with law enforcement or the military is “evident in a number of cases involving notorious serial killers.”

Grande used examples of Gary Ridgeway, Dennis Rader, Jeffrey Dahmer, David Berkowitz, Arthur Shawcross and Timothy McVeigh and said:

“All these men served in the military at one time. What is it about being a police officer or a soldier that is so appealing to notorious killers or alleged notorious killers?”

The content creator further opined that careers in the military and law enforcement possibly “provide excitement,” “satisfy the desire to dominate,” and “grant a state-sanctioned opportunity to engage in violence.”

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Bryan Kohberger was a Ph.D. student at the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington.

He also earned a psychology degree from Northampton Community College in 2018 and a master’s degree in criminal justice from DeSales University in Center Valley in 2022.


Bryan Kohberger applied for police department internship

Bryan Kohberger applied for internship at Pullman Police Department (Image via Monroe County Correctional Facility)
Bryan Kohberger applied for internship at Pullman Police Department (Image via Monroe County Correctional Facility)

Bryan Kohberger’s probable-cause affidavit was made available to the public after the former was extradited to Idaho to face murder charges for allegedly stabbing four University of Idaho students in November 2022.

According to the affidavit, Bryan wanted to intern with the Pullman Police Department in the Fall 2022 semester even though moved away from his high school dreams of pursuing a career in the military.

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The criminology student reportedly submitted an essay with his application, mentioning that he wanted to assist “rural law enforcement agencies with how to better collect and analyze technological data in public safety operations.”

Although Kohberger did not manage to get the job, reports suggest that he had a years-long interest in working with or in law enforcement. A former teacher from Pleasant Valley High School in Pennsylvania told the Daily Beast that the former was passionate about criminal justice:

“I thought he would become a police officer or correctional officer. He liked to watch movies about police, and ask me the next day if I’d seen it. It was more than a hobby for him, he was always asking questions.”
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His former friend Nick McLoughlin said that the alleged murder suspect took additional criminal justice courses at his local vocational school to potentially become a cop.

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Edited by Barsha Roy