Cara Kernodle Reveals How She Reconnects With Murdered Daughter Xana

The mother of one of the slain University of Idaho students has said she is coping with her daughter's murder by watching their TikTok videos.

Xana Kernodle, 20, was found stabbed to death in a rental house in Moscow, Idaho, along with her boyfriend Ethan Chapin, 20, and roommates Kaylee Goncalves, 21, and Madison Mogen, 21, on November 13.

Bryan Kohberger, who was working towards a doctorate in criminology at nearby Washington State University at the time, was arrested in connection with the killings at his parents' home in Pennsylvania on December 30. He was extradited to Idaho, where he is charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of burglary.

Kohberger has yet to enter a plea, but his lawyer in Pennsylvania previously said he was "eager to be exonerated." A preliminary hearing is scheduled to begin on June 26.

In her first on-camera interview, Kernodle's mother Cara Kernodle said she is grieving with friends around her, as well as watching videos that her daughter posted on social media.

"Honestly, I watch a lot of Xana's TikTok videos and that helps," she told NewsNation's Ashleigh Banfield. "I mean, I'm managing as best as you can."

Objects left for a makeshift memorial
Objects left for a makeshift memorial sit at the site of a quadruple murder on January 3, 2023 in Moscow, Idaho. David Ryder/Getty Images

She went on to describe her daughter as someone who was strong and tough, but also funny and carefree.

"Xana was tough.. she was strong. She was funny," she said. "She just could make you smile no matter what and she just had a quirkiness about her that not a lot of people possess, that kind of talent to be able to light up a room like she did. I think you can see from her TikToks, you know, just how funny she was and how carefree and just funny."

Cara Kernodle said she is hopeful she will be alright as the case against her daughter's alleged killer proceeds.

"I guess I've just got to take it one day at a time," she said. "I don't think I'll ever get over losing one of my children. That will never go away, I don't think that the grief ever gets any better really. I just think that she would want all of us to live our best life and remember the good things about her."

During the interview with Banfield, she also spoke about how she feels betrayed that her former attorney, Kootenai County chief public defender Anne Taylor, is now representing Kernodle's mother—a detail legal experts told Newsweek raises questions about a conflict of interest.

"I'm heartbroken because I trusted her," she said. "She pretended that she was wanting to help me and to find that out that she's representing him, I can't even convey how betrayed I feel."

She also said that she had signed power of attorney over to Taylor.

"I'd already signed over power of attorney so that she could help me with getting into rehab and whatnot," she said. "I don't understand what how she could do this. I don't understand what happens now. Does she still have power of attorney or what goes on now?"

The details of the power of attorney document have not been made public, but courts records show Taylor filed an attorney withdrawal notice in Kootenai County Court for Kernodle's mother on January 5—the same day Kohberger made an initial appearance in the Latah County courtroom. The substituted attorney, Christopher Schwartz, is listed as a "conflict public defender" in the court documents.

Newsweek has contacted Cara Kernodle and Taylor's office for comment.

A gag order issued by Latah County Magistrate Judge Megan Marshall earlier this month bars Taylor—as well with law enforcement agencies and others associated with the case—from talking about it. The order was broadened last week to also prohibit attorneys representing survivors, witnesses or the victims' family members from talking or writing about the case.