Sister of woman in Pennsylvania cold case breaks silence on Bryan Kohrberger
The sister of a missing Pennsylvania woman says Idaho murders suspect Bryan Kohberger is likely not connected to the disappearance of her sister, despite his parents being called into testify.
Dana Smithers, 45, went missing on May 28, 2022. Her remains were uncovered in a wooded area in Stroudsburg on April 27 this year – about 30 miles away from Kohberger’s family home in Albrightsville.
In a bombshell development this week, Kohberger’s parents were subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury investigating her case.
Smithers’ family called the cops after they were alerted by internet sleuths to the ‘possibility’ that Kohberger had been in the area at the time she vanished.
However, in an interview, Smithers’ sister Stacey Anne told NewsNation ‘there was evidence he was not in the area where her sister was last seen’ and therefore could not be connected to her disappearance.
The sister of a missing Pennsylvania woman Dana Smithers (pictured right) says that despite his parents being called into testify, Idaho murders suspect Bryan Kohberger (pictured left) is likely not connected to the disappearance of her sister
‘She is hopeful people will continue to be invested in Dana’s case to find out what happened,’ she told Brian Entin.
It remains unclear why Kohrberger’s parents were summoned by the grand jury.
Smithers’ note confirms what the Stroud Area Regional Police Department said Thursday: ‘The SARPD has no evidence that Dana Smithers’ disappearance is in any way tied to Idaho murder suspect Bryan Kohberger.’
Stacey Anne posted to her Facebook page, ‘Finding Dana,’ on January 2, thanking those who had been ‘reaching out recently regarding the possibility of the suspect in the horrific murders in Idaho having been in our area around the time of my sister, Dana’s disappearance.
She added: ‘I have forwarded all of your suggestions on to local law enforcement. Please pray for everyone involved.
CNN first reported the news, citing a source who said that the accused killer’s mother has already given evidence to the grand jury while his father will appear to testify on Thursday.
The information can then be shared with Idaho prosecutors.
The Stroud Area Regional Police Department said it is: ‘Aware of the many currently reported news articles in which various media outlets have reported connections between the SARPD’s Dana Smithers missing person investigation and Idaho murder suspect Bryan Kohberger.’
A source told News Nation that Kohberger’s alibi proves he likely wasn’t involved in Smithers’ disappearance.
On the day she went missing, Smithers, her youngest daughter, 7, and the daughter’s father had gone to a festival in Stroudsburg.
Smithers was no longer in a relationship with his father, but they were on good terms, according to friends.
The trio appeared to be in good spirits before returning to Smithers’ home.
That night, Smithers went to the home of friend and neighbor Tara Cioni, who later said she thought something may have been troubling her.
Smithers – who had a history of substance abuse – was smoking, something she only did if she was “nervous” or on edge, Cioni said.
The mother-of-three was last seen in Cioni’s Ring camera footage at around 11pm.
She was reported missing days later, and her family said she would never have stayed away from her youngest daughter for that amount of time.
Her cellphone, wallet and daily medication were later found at her home.
Her cause of death is still unknown.
Kohberger, 28, was charged with the murders of University of Idaho students Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves, both 21, and young couple Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin, both 20, on November 13 last year.
His father Michael is expected to testify in court on Thursday while his mother Maryann has already testified.
Maddie Mogen (top) Kaylee Goncalves (left) Xana Kernodle (right) and Ethan Chapin (center) – all students at the University of Idaho – were knifed to death on November 13 in the quiet college town of Moscow
The transcripts from the closed session can be transferred to Idaho where their son is set to go on trial on October 2.
The suspect appeared in an Idaho courtroom Monday. He refused to enter a plea to four counts of murder in the first degree.
Kohberger had been expected to plead not guilty but chose to use Idaho’s ‘standing silent’ plea, meaning he has not pleaded either way but can still be tried.
The Washington State University PhD candidate has been behind bars since December 30 when police raided his parent’s Pennsylvania home.
He was transferred to Latah County Jail on January 4 where he has remained since.
The criminology major is believed to have planned the murders of the four Idaho students with a probable cause affidavit noting that he had repeatedly visited the area around their home prior to the killings.
His DNA was found on a KA-BAR knife sheath found next to the bodies of Kaylee and Madison.
Goncalves and Mogen were discovered dead in bed next to each other, while Chapin and Kernodle were found on the floor below, with Kernodle discovered slumped over on the floor of her bedroom.
According to the document, survivors Dylan Mortensen and Bethany Funke heard something of what happened, with Mortensen telling cops she heard Goncalves say ‘there’s someone here’ at approximately 4am.
Police descended on Kohberger’s family home at the Indian Mountain Lake Estates in Chestnuthill Township of Albrightsville just before 1:30 am on December 30.
Ten minutes later, she heard a thud and crying from Kernodle’s room and a male voice saying ‘it’s ok, I’m going to help you.’
Minutes later, Mortensen said she opened her bedroom door and saw a tall male with bushy eyebrows leaving through the sliding glass doors at the back of the house.
She described how she had been ‘frozen in shock’ as the suspect walked towards her. Mortensen said she locked herself in her room after he left.
The affidavit also reveals that Kohberger’s white Hyundai Elantra was captured on camera near the scene before being seen driving rapidly away from the home toward Pullman at approximately 4.20am.
Police rapidly connected the vehicle to Kohberger and noted the similarity between his appearance and Mortensen’s description of the intruder at the rental home.
May 28, 2022: Dana Smithers, 45, goes missing, having last been seen on Ring doorbell footage from her friend’s home in Stroudsburg, Monroe County, Pennsylvania
June 2022: Bryan Kohberger graduates from DeSales University in Pennsylvania, having studied there since 2018
November 13, 2022: Four University of Idaho students are murdered. At this time, Kohberger was a criminology PhD student and teaching assistant at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington, about eight miles from the Idaho students’ residence.
December 30, 2022: Police apprehend Kohberger during raid on his parents’ home in Albrightsville, Pennsylvania
January 2, 2023: Smithers’ family call cops after internet sleuths alert them to the ‘possibility’ that Kohberger had ‘been in the area’ at the time she vanished
January 4, 2023: Kohberger is flown back to Idaho. He is formally charged with the murders of the four Idaho students the following day.
April 27, 2023: Pennsylvania police are called after human remains are found in wooded area in Stroudsburg – about 30 miles away from Kohberger family home
May 1, 2023: Police identify remains as Dana Smithers and she is pronounced dead.