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Campbellsville University student found dead in dorm room, another student arrested

A 21-year-old student at Campbellsville University in Kentucky was arrested in connection with the death of 18-year-old Josiah Malachi Kilman.
According to authorities, an arrest warrant was issued for suspect in connection with the death of a student at Campbellsville University.
According to authorities, an arrest warrant was issued for suspect in connection with the death of a student at Campbellsville University.Google Maps

A student was found dead in his Campbellsville University dorm room early Saturday morning, and another student was arrested in connection with the killing, officials said.

Campbellsville police identified the deceased student as Josiah Malachi Kilman, 18.

Charles E. Escalara, 21, was arrested on a charge of murder after he was found in a barn, police said Saturday evening. After the arrest, a lockdown at the university was lifted.

Escalara is a student at Campbellsville University, the school said on X.

Kilman was found unresponsive in his dorm room at the university in Campbellsville, Kentucky, at approximately 12:43 a.m. Saturday, police said.

Josiah Kilman
Josiah KilmanCourtesy Joe and Jessica Kilman

He was taken to Taylor Regional Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police said.

A cause of death has not been determined. Kilman’s body was transferred to the Kentucky State Medical Examiner’s Office in Louisville, where an autopsy will be performed, police said.

In a statement Kilman's family said he "was a beautiful, young, 18 year old Christian man from Columbia Falls, Montana who had a passionate heart on fire for the Lord."

They said Kilman was at Campbellsville University 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," his family said. "Josiah influenced many hearts as he was a true example of compassion, kindness and love. His example compelled 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."

“Campbellsville University is grieving the loss of one of our family,” university President Joseph Hopkins said in a statement. “We have lost a student and our hearts are broken. During this devastating time, the continued safety of our students and the residents of our community are our primary concern.”

Malte Akmam, a student at Campbellsville University, said it was quiet on campus Saturday in the wake of Kilman’s death.

“I think everyone is shocked from what happened yesterday,” he told NBC affiliate WLEX of Lexington, Kentucky. “It’s kind of hard to grab what really happened but we’re trying to stay safe now and just take care of each other.”

Before the arrest, the university said in a statement that though police had determined there was no continued threat to students, it advised students and people living near campus to “heighten precautions.”

“Secure your residences, secure vehicles, and increase awareness of your surroundings,” the statement said.

Counselors were available for “students seeking emotional support during this tragedy,” the university statement said. The Ransdell Chapel is also open for students and staff “for prayer and support of one another.”

Campbellsville, a private Christian university, is located 85 miles south of Louisville.