A man arrested Monday for the suspected killing of Alexandria “Ally” Kostial – an Ole Miss student whose disappearance and killing triggered a manhunt – was her classmate, school officials said Tuesday.
The body of Kostial, 21, was discovered by Lafayette County Sheriff’s Office deputies during a routine patrol on Saturday in Harmontown, Miss., ABC News reported, about 30 miles from the University of Mississippi campus.
Their investigation led them to Brandon Theesfeld, 22, of Texas. He was arrested Monday, ABC News reported, and made a court appearance Tuesday, though ABC News reported he did not enter a plea. He is charged with murder.
Theesfeld and Kostial were students at the University of Mississippi School of Business Administration, university spokesman Rod Guajardo said. Theesfeld was suspended from the university, Guajardo said, but it was unclear if that suspension was before or after officials learned of his arrest and alleged killing.
It was also unclear what, if any, relationship he had with Kostial beyond being students in the same program. The sheriff’s office did not return a request for comment.
“We are truly saddened by the death of Alexandria Kostial. Ally was a valued member of our campus community,” interim university chancellor Larry Sparks said in a statement. “We extend our deepest sympathy to her family, friends, and classmates and stand ready to support them during this time.”
A message from Interim Chancellor Larry Sparks: pic.twitter.com/abWuRfvjnz
— Ole Miss (@OleMissRebels) July 23, 2019
Kostial’s death rippled through the Ole Miss community, and back home in St. Louis, where she graduated from Lindbergh High School in 2016.
“She spent her summers going on mission trips. She cared about people and just wanted to help,” high school and college classmate Kassidy Desnoyer told ABC News. “She was the brightest light I’ve ever came across.”