The Campbellsville University student who was found dead in his dorm room died by manual strangulation, the local coroner announced on Monday.

The Campbellsville University student who was found dead in his dorm room died by manual strangulation, the local coroner announced on Monday.

Josiah Malachi Kilman, 18, freshman wrestler, was found unresponsive in his dorm at the Kentucky university at 12:43 a.m. Saturday. 

Kilman, of Columbia Falls, Montana, died of asphyxia by manual strangulation, according to preliminary autopsy results, the Taylor County Coroner’s Office said Monday. 

Josiah Kilman, freshman wrestler at Campbellsville University.Campbellsville University

Fellow Campbellsville University student, Charles E. Escalara, 21, was arrested Saturday evening on a murder charge in connection with Kilman’s death.

Campbellsville police said in an update Monday: “A motive for the crime is still undetermined at this time, however the case is on-going.”

Escalara was on the school’s men’s wrestling team from 2021 to 2022 under the name “Zeke Escalera,” according to the roster from that year. Campbellsville Police Chief Shannon Wilson told NBC News that Escalara goes by the nickname “Zeke.”

Campbellsville police launched a search for Escalera after Kilman was found dead. Just after 5 p.m. on Saturday, authorities received a call regarding a “a suspicious male inside a barn” in Green County. Escalera was located there and taken into custody by Kentucky State Police.

He was booked into the Taylor County Detention Center on a charge of murder and second-degree burglary with bond set at $2 million, online booking records show.

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

Kilman’s family said in a statement that 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.”

Campbellsville University President Joseph Hopkins remembered Kilman as a “beloved member of our community” and “a bright light.”

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