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College student from Montana murdered in Kentucky

Josiah Kilman
Posted at 12:47 PM, Feb 26, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-26 14:49:07-05

The investigation continues into the death in the small community of Campbellsville after Josiah Kilman, a student from Montana, was found dead in his dorm room at Campbellsville University on Saturday, February 24, 2024.

According to Taylor County Coroner Daniel Cook, 18-year-old Josiah Kilman died as a result of manual strangulation, and police have charged 21-year-old Charles Escalera with murder.

Escalera was also a student at Campbellsville University. According to a Campbellsville University Athletics roster, Escalera was on the wrestling team at Campbellsville University from 2021 to 2022. Campbellsville Police confirmed Escalera goes by the name "Zeke."

College student from Montana murdered in Kentucky

Cook said, "Our office obviously was notified, and it was through the investigation that we deemed the death suspicious. A little bit later on, we released to the public that we were looking for a person of interest due to findings through the investigation."

Police said Escalera was found in Green County when a farmer saw him in a barn.

Escalera has been charged with murder and second-degree burglary.

The Kilman family said in a news release:

Josiah Malachi Kilman was a young, 18-year-old Christian man from Columbia Falls, Montana, who had a passionate heart on fire for the Lord. He was attending Campbellsville University in Campbellsville, Kentucky on a biblical scholarship with the dreams of leading others to follow the Lord through the Christian principles, of which he himself adhered to. He was well known to many as an avid athlete and faithful religious leader. Josiah influenced many hearts as he was a true example of compassion, kindness, and love. His example compeled so many others to make the same changes he wished to see in the world, and his impact on their lives will never truly be forgotten. During this time, his family is grieving and asks for privacy to deal with the devastating loss of their beloved son, brother, grandson, nephew, cousin, and true friend known to so many.

The university hosted a prayer and healing ceremony on campus Sunday night and plans to conduct similar services and offer counseling as the week begins.

Kilman's family is expected to travel to Kentucky in the coming days.

A GoFundMe has been created to help the Kilman family. Click here if you would like to donate.