Since the killing of four University of Idaho students in November, Ben Mughen says he’s been living “every day at a time.”
That’s all he can do.
His 21-year-old daughter Madison Mugen — a bright, bright girl who loves to watch live music with him — was among the victims, along with Kylie Goncalves, 21; Zana Kernodel, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20.
“It’s very surreal,” Maugin told CNN’s Anderson Cooper Friday night, describing what it’s been like to be weeks since losing his daughter. “Maddy,” as she was affectionately known, was preparing to graduate college with a degree in business administration, and when they celebrated the Fourth of July together over the summer, Mugen was proud of her and curious as to what she would do next.
“She could do anything she wanted,” he said. “She was so bright and so good with people and just has a magnetic personality.”
His comments come a day after the 28-year-old accused of killing the students appeared in court and a judge has scheduled a possible preliminary hearing in June. Brian Kohberger, who faces four counts of first-degree murder and one count of burglary, waived his right to an expedited probable cause hearing within 14 days and spoke only briefly to answer the judge’s questions. The judge ordered that the suspect remain in pretrial detention without bail.
Kohberger has been held in an Idaho state prison since last week, after being extradited from Pennsylvania, where he was arrested in late December. He did not enter the appeal.
Each of the murdered students was stabbed multiple times in the early hours of November 13 in an off-campus house in a small university town in Moscow. In the weeks since the quadruple murder – which rocked a nearby community and sent shockwaves across the country – authorities have shared few details about the investigation but have continued to stress that they are making progress on the case.
Since Kohberger’s arrest, an affidavit released last week has provided a look at both the investigative work done to identify the suspect and some harrowing details about the night of the murder.
But Mugen, Madi’s father, said that beyond the updates he receives regularly from the authorities and the attorney general’s office, he has not kept up with details circulating online about the case.
“It hurts so much,” he said. “In terms of reading (the news) or watching it, I can’t really do that.”
Instead, he thinks of the memories they shared: the last photo they took together over the summer, the live music they often wanted to watch, the way she played with her younger cousins during family gatherings.
“We all miss Maddie very much,” said Mugen. “Difficult.”
“But we are alive.”