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HomeGeneralKentucky College Student Murder Rocks Campus As Killings Plague Schools

Kentucky College Student Murder Rocks Campus As Killings Plague Schools

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The death of a beloved student-athlete at a Christian Kentucky College has left friends and family devastated. Many cannot fathom why his wrestling teammate allegedly strangled him in his dorm room. According to reports, the teammate allegedly strangled him days before their team traveled to Kansas for a national championship.

A picture of Kentucky student found dead in his dorm
Source: FoxNews/X

Authorities found Josiah Kilman, 18, dead in his dorm at Campbellsville University on February 24, 2024. His death is one of four homicides on college campuses nationwide in 10 days. Like Kilman, police found Samuel Knopp, 24, and Celie Rain Montgomery, 26, murdered in a dorm room on February 16, 2024.

The two were students at the University of Colorado at Colorado Spring campus. Similarly, Augusta University nursing student Laken Riley, 22, died on February 22, 2024. Someone murdered her while she was jogging on a trail on the University of Georgia’s campus in Athens.

“It boggles my mind,” O’Brien Byrd, Kilman’s soccer coach from eighth grade through high school, told Fox News Digital. “I hope this isn’t a pattern we’re seeing, but I also think this could happen to everybody anywhere.” While investigations are still ongoing, several questions remain unanswered.

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According to a Campbellsville wrestling teammate who asked not to be identified, Kilman had three roommates in his dorm. However, it’s unclear where they were at the time of his death. Also, there are no details regarding how authorities discovered Kilman’s body.

Following the discovery, the Kentucky State Medical Examiner’s Office examined the body. According to the Campbellsville Police Department, the examiner determined Kilman’s cause of death to be “asphyxia by manual strangulation.”

Consequently, sophomore teammate and engineering major Charles “Zeke” Escalera, 21, faces murder and burglary charges. According to police reports, police found Escalara hiding in a barn after they issued a warrant for his arrest. Hence, they are holding him at Taylor County Detention Center on $2 million bail.

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However, the Campbellsville Police Department has not released a motive for the shocking murder. After the tragic incident became public, Kilman’s friends spoke to the media. 19-year-old Tyler Gilfry, Kilman’s childhood best friend, characterized the slain student as thoughtful, humble, gracious, and kind. 

He struggled with what could have pushed the suspect to the “unthinkable” act. “He wasn’t the dude to start fights, but he was a dude that everybody liked,” Gilfry recounted. “I can see someone getting jealous over him just being himself.” 

“Someone who was struggling with themselves seeing someone so outstanding and outgoing, just a great human being,” he added. “That’s all I can think of. I can’t see anyone who would want to do that to Josiah.”

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“Unthinkable. It’s unthinkable. Whatever his involvement was, we don’t know yet,” Byrd proclaimed. “I’m sure we will find out one way or another, but Josiah’s not an instigator of violence at all.”

The late student’s then-soccer coach added, “He was a peaceful guy, a loving guy, and a leader.” Escalera’s preliminary court hearing will happen in March 2024 in Taylor County Circuit Court. 

According to Taylor County Attorney John D. Bertram, a public attorney has been appointed for Escalera. In addition, Bertram told Fox News that the burglary charges Escalera faces stem from his arrest. The college student reportedly broke into a barn to hide from the authorities.

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