One of two Idaho students who survived the massacre at their shared house is emerging from her self-imposed isolation, new photos show, a year after the attack.
Dylan Mortensen, 21, has been wracked with ‘survivor’s guilt’, her stepmother said earlier this month. Her father in October said she was reclusive, staying at home and playing video games.
But newly-emerged photos show her at a sorority initiation on September 15 with her University of Idaho friends, and at an October 31 Halloween party, dressed in a gold sparkly outfit.
Mortensen’s stepmother, Patricia Munroe, said earlier this month that she had dropped out of University of Idaho and switched schools, so it was not clear whether she was back to visit, or if Munroe’s information was incorrect.
Dylan Mortensen, far left, is seen at a sorority initiation – known as the Big Little Reveal – with her University of Idaho friends Jessa Patnode (center) and Makenah Jackson, in an Instagram photo posted September 15
Mortensen and her friends all shared photos celebrating the September 15 initiation ceremony
Mortensen and Jackson are seen at the September 15 gathering
Dylan Mortensen (left) parties with a friend on Halloween 2023
Mortensen and her friends are seen celebrating on October 31
Mortensen, second from left, is pictured with her friends celebrating Halloween
Mortensen (right) is seen in a photo with her sorority sisters taken a month before the murders, on October 13, 2022
The Idaho housemates, from left: Dylan Mortensen, Xana Kernodle, Bethany Funke, Kaylee Goncalves, and Madison Mogen. Only Mortensen and Funke survived the attack
Mortensen has found her life turned upside down since the murder of her four roommates in November 2022 – Madison Mogen, 21; Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and her boyfriend, Ethan Chapin, 20.
The four were stabbed to death in their beds in the early hours of a Sunday morning.
Mortensen said she saw a man leaving the house in Moscow, Idaho, in the early hours, but did not realize until hours later that four of her roommates had been murdered.
Bryan Kohberger, a 28-year-old criminology student, has been charged with four counts of murder, and pleaded not guilty. He remains in jail, with no trial date set.
Mortensen left Moscow earlier this year, said Munroe, Mortensen’s stepmother.
Dylan Mortensen is one of two to survive the November 13, 2022 murders at the Idaho student house
Mortensen, far left, is seen with her roommates: Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen (on Kaylee’s shoulders) Ethan Chapin, Xana Kernodle and Bethany Funke
Munroe was married to Mortensen’s father Brent, and helped raise Dylan from the age of seven until almost her graduation for high school.
She told The New York Post she remained close to the family, and Mortensen was ‘okay’.
Munroe, 53, said: ‘There’s a lot of guilt because, you know, if someone says, ‘Oh, well, Dylan was so lucky,’ you know, you don’t want to take on that luck — because all of the children deserved luck.
‘They all deserved to be spared from that.’
Mortensen told police she stood in a ‘frozen shock phase’ as ‘a figure clad in black clothing and a mask walked towards her,’ then ‘towards the back sliding glass door’ and left the house.
She then locked herself in her room, and did not emerge until the next morning.
Mortensen and Bethany Funke, the other roommate who survived the attacks, did not call police until noon the next day, which has given rise to online trolls attacking Mortensen and Funke and claiming they were involved in the murders.
Bryan Kohberger, who is accused of killing four University of Idaho students in November 2022, is pictured on September 13 at Latah County District Court
‘You never really think about online backlash and trolls until you deal with it, and it’s just a really hurtful thing,’ Munroe said.
‘I challenge anyone to be in a position where they wake up to four of their roommates gone and, you know, not even realizing it.
‘People have to understand that these children are very young . . . You know, they’re just young kids, and it’s just a really traumatizing thing. I just think that people need to have compassion.
‘There needs to be space and time for all the details to come out in trial.’
Mortensen’s father Brent told author and private investigator J. Reuben Appelman that she was isolating herself, and playing video games to deal with the stress.
Appelman told NewsNation: ‘In the beginning weeks after those homicides, she was basically dogpiled on, on social media.
‘This was part of the trauma that she experienced.
‘Dylan herself has retreated from the public eye, very few people see her.’
Mortensen is keeping herself to herself, her father said, and has switched universities
Mortensen’s father told Appelman that his daughter is in the process of healing, despite being hounded by bullies.
‘She is in trauma therapy of sorts, she’s getting help from the spiritual community,’ he said.
‘Isolating herself but she is stepping out a little at a time, she is gaming online with peers in group gaming session.
‘She’s doing what she can without going into public.’