ST. LOUIS (AP/KMOV.com) -- An arrest has been made in the death of a 21-year-old St. Louisan who was found dead in northern Mississippi Saturday morning.
Lafayette County Sheriff's Major Alan Wilburn says Brandon A. Theesfeld, 22, is charged with murder in the death of Alexandria "Ally" Kostial.
Theesfeld was arrested Monday afternoon at a Memphis gas station and booked into Lafayette County jail, according to the Oxford Eagle. According to the paper, Theesfeld was tracked to the South Memphis location through his cellphone and credit cards.
Kostial’s body was found near a lake in northern Mississippi, about 30 miles from Oxford and the Ole Miss Campus.
The Lafayette County Sheriff's Department says Kostial died from multiple gunshot wounds in a homicide.
According to WLBT, she was shot eight times and her body was found by a deputy who was patrolling the area. The local medical examiner did not comment on those allegations.
The station also said that Kostial was last seen on a security camera stopping at the door of a bar. She reportedly didn’t go inside the establishment and then walked out of the camera’s view.
Information on what led to the charges has not been made public, but family told News 4 Kostial and Theesfeld have dated in the past.
"We are not releasing details of the investigation as this is an ongoing investigation," Wilburn said. "We will release when it is appropriate and not before."
"DIDN'T HAVE ANY ENEMIES"
Kostial's childhood friends and family remembered her as a kind and outgoing person who never had an enemy.
"Ally was just very fun and outgoing, very friendly girl really didn’t have any enemies in life," said Claudia Swyres, who had known Kostial since second grade.
The two went on to be teammates on the track team at Lindbergh High School before graduating in 2016. Swyres says they lost touch in high school, but Kostial’s friends from college told News 4 she was a ray of sunshine—genuine and selfless.
Friend Maddy Norris said Kostial was someone who could always been counted on.
"Even if I was having a bad day, I could text her and say 'hey.' I always knew she was there, she was my person that I could could always count on," said Norris.
Kostial’s dad went to Facebook to post a photo of her. He said she was attending summer school and teaching fitness classes at Ole Miss. She was studying marketing and set to graduate next year.
Brandon Theesfeld, the suspect in a the death of fellow Ole Miss student Ally Kostial made his first court appearance Tuesday morning.
“We are truly saddened by the death of Alexandria Kostial. Ally was a valued member of our campus community," Ole Miss interim 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.”
THEESFELD ALSO A STUDENT
Ole Miss spokesman Rod Guajardo said Theesfeld was studying business administration, but has been suspended from the university.
Lawyer Swayze Alford, who represented Theesfeld in a Tuesday morning appearance before Lafayette County Circuit Judge Andrew Howorth, didn't return a phone call or email seeking comment. Howorth agreed to consider whether to set bail for Theesfeld at a later date to be agreed on by Alford and Assistant District Attorney Mickey Mallett.
Kostial was working toward a bachelor's degree in marketing. Kostial's father, Keith Kostial, posted on Facebook that his daughter had been attending summer school and teaching fitness classes at the university. He says she graduated from Lindbergh High School in 2016.
Ole Miss Interim Chancellor Larry D. Sparks issued a statement through the university, saying:
"Earlier today, the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department announced an arrest in the murder of university of Mississippi student Alexandra “Ally” Kostial.
Charges have been filed against Brandon Theesfeld, a UM student who has been suspended by the university.
I want to extend our deepest sympathies once again to Ally’s family, friends and all others who knew her or interacted with her on campus. Ally was an engaged member of our community with friends across our campus and a promising future. The university will support the Kostial family in every way we can during this traumatic time.
These events remind us of the importance of leaning on each other in the wake of an event that we cannot understand. If needed, the University Counseling Center is offering walk-in grief counseling between the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. to students, faculty and staff seeking additional support, or you can schedule an appointment by calling (662) 915-3784.
Ally’s death shocks the conscience and causes much pain and sorrow, but it does not define our campus community. We must draw strength from what brings us together as a community, even as we grieve this unspeakable loss."
Fort Worth Country Day School spokeswoman Shannon Allen tells local news outlets that Theesfeld attended the school from 2012 to 2014, but didn't return the next year because of academic reasons.
A GoFundMe account has been created to help the Kostial family with funeral expenses.