The father of one of the Idaho students killed says surviving the grief comes ‘one day at a time’


Since the November slayings of four University of Idaho students, Ben Mogen says he has been going through life “one day at a time.”

It’s all he can do.

His daughter, 21-year-old Madison Mogen – a bright, bubbly girl that loved to watch live music with him – was among the victims, along with Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20.

“It’s just so surreal,” Mogen told CNN’s Anderson Cooper Friday night, describing what the weeks since losing his daughter have been like. “Maddie,” as she was affectionately known, was preparing to graduate college with a business degree, and when they celebrated their last Fourth of July together over the summer, Mogen was proud of her and curious to see what she would go on to do next.

Ben Mogen

“She could have done anything she wanted to,” he said. “She was so bright and so good with people and just had a magnetic personality.”

His comments come a day after the 28-year-old man accused of killing the students appeared in court and a judge scheduled a preliminary probable cause hearing to begin in June. Bryan Kohberger, who is facing four counts of first-degree murder and a charge of burglary, waived his right to a speedy probable cause hearing within 14 days and spoke only briefly to answer the judge’s questions. The judge ordered the suspect remain remanded in state custody without bond.

Kohberger has been held in an Idaho jail since last week, following his extradition from Pennsylvania, where he was arrested in late December. He has not entered a plea.

The slain students were each stabbed multiple times in the early hours of November 13 at an off-campus house in the small college town of Moscow. In the weeks since the quadruple homicide – which rattled the nearby community and sent shock waves across the nation – authorities shared little details about the investigation but continued to affirm they were making progress in the case.

Since Kohberger’s arrest, an affidavit released last week offered a look at both the investigative work that went into identifying the suspect and some grim details about the night of the crime.

But Mogen, Maddie’s father, said other than the updates he’s been receiving regularly from authorities and later the prosecutor’s office, he has not kept up with the details circulating online about the case.

“It’s too painful,” he said. “As far as reading or watching (the news), I can’t really do it.”

Instead, he thinks about the memories they shared: the last photo they snapped together over the summer, the live music they’d often like to watch, the way she played with her younger cousins during family gatherings.

“We all miss Maddie so much,” Mogen said. “It’s hard.”

“But we’re surviving.”

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