The mother of University of Idaho mass murder victim Xana Kernodle is now locked up in jail and struggling to stay sober with no contact with her two surviving children, DailyMail.com can reveal.
It’s the latest in a series of tragic events for troubled Cara Northington, who revealed she suffered a relapse after the brutal murder of her daughter in November.
The 43-year-old woman is being held at the Kootenai County Jail in Coeur d’Alene, 66 miles from where 20-year-old Xana, her boyfriend and two housemates were killed on November 13.
She has been in custody on drug charges since February 24, after spending three weeks locked up 30 miles west in Spokane, Washington, where she had been staying in a ratty motel high on fentanyl and methamphetamine.
Cara Northington, 43, the mother of slain Idaho student Xana Kernodle (right), has been held on drug charges at the Kootenai County Jail in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho since February 24, DailyMail. how can you reveal
She is charged with two counts of drug possession.
Northington is now confined to a cell with three other inmates in bunk beds at the facility where she only has daytime access to a television that often broadcasts news about the savage murders, all while undergoing drug withdrawal.
“It’s a fucking nightmare,” the grieving mother yelled, during an exclusive telephone interview with DailyMail.com from behind bars. It is a living nightmare.
At night, he said, he can barely sleep as he replays the massacre in his mind and wrestles with his personal demons.
Her time behind bars also forced her to go through laborious withdrawal, with staff providing her with nothing more than ibuprofen and Gatorade to keep her going.
“That’s all they gave me,” he said. “It was horrible, absolutely horrible, absolutely terrible, on top of everything else.”
The ordeal has left Northington to soberly face her dark new reality.
But she noted that the only thing keeping her going is not wanting to disappoint Xana and her two surviving children, daughter Jazzmin, 22, and teenage son Elijah.
“They are my strength,” he said. ‘It’s one thing to lose a kid, but when you still have two great kids, you have to fix things for them, you know?’
Northington has battled drug abuse throughout her adult life and suffered the consequences, repeatedly arrested and imprisoned while alienating her own family.
She and Xana’s father, Jeff Kernodle, divorced in 2005.
But she told DailyMail.com that she was clean before the attack, working as a waitress and striving to make new inroads with her children.
Northington, who has two surviving children, including eldest daughter Jazzmin,22 (far left) revealed that the murder of her daughter Xana triggered her relapse
Northington has battled drug abuse throughout her adult life, which saw her repeatedly arrested and imprisoned while alienating her own family.
Xana and her boyfriend Ethan Chapin were murdered in their sleep in their off-campus rental home on November 13.
He planned to meet Xana for lunch at the end of October, but said he had to postpone because he had a court hearing that was delayed.
Xana, her boyfriend Ethan Chapin, 20, and her housemates Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves, both 21, were massacred in their off-campus rental home in the early hours of November 13.
‘She was a light in this world, you know?’ Northington told DailyMail.com. ‘She was so funny. She could make everyone laugh.
‘You send your children to good schools and you think they will be safe there.
You never think that they are going to be killed. You never think that is going to happen to you,” she added.
‘I relapsed after my daughter’s murder. Then four days after that, they arrested me on new charges.
That was on November 19 when Kootenai County police charged Northington with two counts of felony drug possession.
Out of mercy, authorities released her so she could attend a funeral for her daughter on December 2 at Real Life Ministries in Post Falls.
“They let me out because of what happened, so I could attend his funeral and everything,” he said. “And then I didn’t go to my next court date because I was still getting high.”
Shortly thereafter, a warrant for Northington’s arrest was issued. He went off the grid in Spokane, but still couldn’t escape the news.
The University of Idaho massacre had become a national true crime obsession and the subject of non-stop media coverage.
Police arrested Brian Kohberger, a criminology doctoral student at nearby Washington State University in Pullman, on Dec. 30, a revelation that was particularly shocking to Northington, whose eldest daughter, Jazzmin, is studying marketing there.
Northington spoke to News Nation host Ashleigh Banfield in January about her lawyer Ann Taylor’s decision to drop her drug case to defend accused murderer Bryan Kohberger.
Attorney Taylor is seen with Kohberger on January 5, the day she stopped representing Cara Northington.
Northington has not only had to deal with the consequences of her drug addiction and the pain of losing a child, but also with the media frenzy that has brought her into the spotlight in recent weeks.
In January, the mother appeared on NewsNation where she publicly criticized the fact that Jazzmin was allowed to continue his studies at WSU along with Kohberger even after he was identified as a suspect but before his arrest.
She also reacted to reports that Ann Taylor, the attorney defending her on drug charges, had left her to represent her daughter’s accused murderer.
“I’m heartbroken,” Northington said semicoherently, speaking to host Ashleigh Banfield.
I trusted her. She pretended that she wanted to help me… And to find out that she’s representing him, I can’t even express how betrayed I feel,’ she added.
The attorney would later explain that her name appears on nearly all documents filed in Kootenai County criminal cases because she is the county’s top public defender, but that she never met Northington in person or offered him legal advice.
However, Northington told DailyMail.com that he now regrets that interview.
“That was a huge misunderstanding on my part, and I was the victim of some kind of fake news,” he said.
“Hopefully that’s been fixed now and people understand that.”
On January 31, just five days after the interview with Banfield, she was arrested for trespassing in Spokane.
She spent the next 24 days in jail, before being transferred to Coeur d’Alene Jail, her former hometown where Mogen and Goncalves also lived.
Northington is being held on $100,000 bail and says she is trying to stay out of the way most of the time.
“I just hang out with myself, try to stay in my cell and read,” he said. ‘I’m just trying to get over this.’
Northington said he needs therapy but will not receive it while in custody.
Bryan Kohberger, 28, was arrested at his parents’ home in Albrightsville, Pennsylvania, on December 30 and is due back in court in June. He has yet to enter a guilty plea.
PhD student Kohberger is accused of murdering Idaho students Maddie Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin in November.
He can’t even discuss his daughter’s murder case with his fellow inmates due to a judge-imposed gag order that extends to the families of the victims.
“I could talk about my feelings, my loss, but I can’t talk about what happened,” she said.
“It’s the worst place to be when you’re going through something like this. It’s the worst possible place you could be.
His cell is unlocked during the day when he is allowed to hang out in an adjoining rec room where there is a TV.
“It’s really hard to go through what I’m going through, when the case is covered on all sides,” he said.
‘I haven’t seen any news. The last thing I heard was on Entertainment Tonight that the house was going to be demolished.
She said none of her surviving children have reached out since her arrest, but she still wants to be strong for them once she’s out.
She is seeking to enter a treatment program that would provide therapy and services to help her get a job.
“Obviously I need treatment and I need psychiatric counseling because of what happened,” he said.
“I just want to be sober for Xana and my other two living children,” she added.
She has a little brother who needs me and her older sister just lost her best friend and sister, so she doesn’t need to lose her mother too. And my son doesn’t need to lose his mom either.’