This woman must feel very lucky to be safe and sound.
Hayley Willette says she had not been closely following the latest developments in the case of the four University of Idaho students who were murdered inside their campus home when she came across a news article last week about the grisly crime.
As Willette was reading the story in a small Pennsylvania news outlet, detailing the scene where Bryan Kohberger had been arrested on Dec. 30, the 26-year-old OB/GYN nurse stumbled upon the suspect’s mugshot. That’s when she says she realized that Kohberger was the same man she went on an uncomfortable December 2015 Tinder date with when she was in college.
“As soon as I saw his mug shot, I knew. He just has an unforgettable face,” Willette told The Daily Beast.
Willette said that after matching on Tinder, the pair went to go see an action movie before Kohberger drove her back to her dorm at Penn State Hazleton. Once back on campus and briefly talking inside his car, she said, Kohberger “started being really pushy about coming” into her room to watch another movie. She said that while she initially agreed, she later pretended to “loudly throw up” in the bathroom before Kohberger—who she said was waiting for her outside the bathroom door—left.
“After an hour or so of him being gone, he messaged me and said I had good birthing hips and I just never messaged back,” she added.
Willette first detailed her story about a strange date with one of the most notorious murder suspects in America in a series of TikToks beginning on Sunday evening. Kohberger’s lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this story.
Authorities allege Kohberger, 28, murdered four students—Kaylee Goncalves, Ethan Chapin, Xana Kernodle, and Madison Mogen—on Nov. 13 around 4 a.m. in Moscow, Idaho. The first-year Ph.D. student in criminology at Washington State University was extradited back to Idaho last week from Pennsylvania and is facing four counts of murder in the first degree and a burglary charge.
But seven years before prosecutors say Kohberger committed the harrowing crimes, Willette says he was a “quiet but not shy” psych major who had matched with her on the dating app one morning. Kohberger graduated from Northampton Community College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with an associate degree’s in psychology in 2018.
Property records show that the Kohbergers have been living in their Lamsden Drive home since at least 2014. If Kohberger was living at his parents’ house at the time, he would have been approximately 45 minutes from Willette’s Hazleton dorm room.
Willette provided The Daily Beast with texts she sent two of her friends on Jan. 2 after learning of Kohberger’s arrest—a conversation in which one friend responded that she remembered the nurse telling her about the date in question previously.
Willette told The Daily Beast that she chatted with Kohberger all morning and afternoon on the day of their date before he “mentioned he wanted to go to the movies and asked if I’d like to go with him.” After agreeing to the date, she said Kohberger had a movie in mind—and while she does not remember the title, she said she “didn’t really care to see whatever” it was.
“I got off work and met him at the theater,” she said. “He paid for my movie ticket but he didn’t want popcorn, so I ended up buying some for myself. We watched the movie and then he said he would take me back to my dorm.”
After driving her back to her dorm, Willette said, Kohberger ended up parking his car in a move she figured meant “he just wanted to talk, because we couldn’t really talk during the movie.”
While she does not remember exactly what they discussed, she said that after chatting for a while, she told Kohberger she wanted to go back up to her dorm room “and check to see if my roommate needs me, and he said he would come with.” (Willette said that her roommate was not in their dorm room at the time and did not see Kohberger.)
Back inside her dorm room, the pair sat down to start picking another movie to watch together, Willette said. In her TikTok describing the date, she also claimed that Kohberger kept trying to rub her shoulders and tickle her.
When she asked him why he was touching her, Willette said in her video that he “got super serious” and denied he was doing so, which she described as gaslighting. She told The Daily Beast that Kohberger later followed her to the communal dorm female bathroom and “waited outside the door.”
“I thought that was the weirdest thing so I was like, ‘I need to get this guy to leave’ but I didn’t wanna be mean, so I started to pretend to loudly throw up,” she said. “After a minute or two, he messaged me on Tinder saying he was going to go.”
The two never spoke again, she said, after Kohberger sent her the curious follow-up text about her hips. She said that while Kohberger “was very polite and nice” during the date, he “completely changed gears” when the pair got to her dorm.
“He just seemed very different,” she said. “Definitely felt uncomfortable when he decided he needed to wait outside of the bathroom for me.”
Willette said in her TikTok that she decided to come forward with her story about Kohberger after seeing false information about herself online and to warn others about “who they are meeting up with… and maybe save another 19-year-old girl from being stupid.”
“It was shocking for sure,” Williette said about seeing Kohberger’s mugshot. “I don’t know if I’m a good judge of character either way, but I don’t feel surprised that he was arrested for it, either.”