Authorities have made an arrest in connection with the death of 21-year-old Ally Kostial, a female Ole Miss student whose body was discovered over the weekend.
Brandon Theesfeld, 22, of Texas, was booked into the Lafayette County Jail at 3:43 p.m. Monday and charged with murder, according to NBC affiliate WLBT.
The Mississippi Clarion-Ledger reported that Theesfeld was a student in the School of Business Administration. He has been suspended from the university, according to Rod Guajardo, associate director of strategic communications for Ole Miss.
“I know my son is innocent. And I have reasons to believe that I can’t share anything now. But I would ask everybody to please give him the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise,” Brandon’s father Daniel Theesfeld told NBC affiliate WMC.
Information on legal representation for Theesfeld was not immediately available.
Authorities had suspected foul play in Kostial's death after her body was found over the weekend about 30 miles from campus. Kostial was shot eight times, according to authorities.
A Lafayette County Sheriff's Department news release said foul play was apparently involved in the woman's death.
U.S. & World
News from around the country and around the globe
Authorities close to the case told WLBT that Kostial was last seen Friday night outside a bar near the University of Mississippi, where she was taking summer classes. The same sources also said a sheriff's deputy discovered her body with multiple gunshot wounds near a lake Saturday morning.
The lake, a popular destination for students at Ole Miss, is about 20 miles from the campus.
The discovery stunned both Kostial's fellow students and those living nearby, the TODAY show reported.
"It's just hard for me, because all I can think about when I see her face is what she went through, what she was thinking, what she was saying," said Anna Pasco, a friend of Kostial. "It's really, really hard."
Kostial grew up in St. Louis, TODAY reported.
Her father, Keith Kostial, initially confirmed the news of his daughter's death on Facebook, where he posted: Saturday afternoon we were visited by police, who communicated to us that our beautiful dear Alexandria (Ally) Kostial was the victim of a homicide."
The university said Kostial was working toward a bachelor's degree in marketing. Kostial's father said 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.
On social media, friends are posting emotional tributes.
"She was the brightest light and always had a smile on her face," one wrote. "She truly was a ray of sunshine."
"Praying justice is served soon and that god wraps his arms around the Kostial family," posted another.
With investigators calling this a case of foul play, students in Oxford, Mississippi, are nervous and hope to find out what happened to their classmate.