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The Campus Times

‘He lived life the right way’

CU mourns the loss of student-athlete
Josiah Malachi Kilman, 18, a freshman from Montana, was discovered unresponsive in his dorm room in the early morning hours on Saturday, Feb. 24.

The victim of an alleged murder on Campbellsville University’s campus has been identified.

Josiah Malachi Kilman, 18, a freshman from Montana, was discovered dead in his dorm room early Saturday morning, Feb. 24.

James Carmany, a wrestling teammate and friend of Kilman’s, said he always had a smile on his face.

“He was always a beaming source of hope to all of us,” Carmany said. “He always had a smile and something nice to say… He was one of the most inspiring individuals I have ever met.”

Jaden Sonner, another teammate and friend, said Kilman was a “fun-loving kid.”

“He lived life the right way,” Sonner said.

Campbellsville Police responded to campus at 12:43 a.m. in reference to an unresponsive male. The victim, Kilman, was transported to Taylor Regional Hospital where he was pronounced deceased. According to the Taylor County Coroner’s Office, preliminary autopsy results show the cause of death was asphyxiation by manual strangulation.

Campbellsville Police arrested CU student Charles E. Escalera, 21, on Saturday evening, Feb. 24, inside a barn located on the Green County/Taylor County line. He’s being charged with murder and second-degree burglary. He’s currently being held in the Taylor County Detention Center on $2 million bond.

Campbellsville University President Dr. Joseph Hopkins issued the following statement Saturday evening:

Dear students, faculty, and staff,

Our campus family is grieving a heavy loss at this moment, and our hearts are broken.

Josiah Killman was a beloved member of our community. He was a bright light, and a person of incredible hope. His faith was contagious across our campus. Because of the faithful life and bold witness he lived in front of us, we take comfort in knowing he is with his Lord and Savior right now.

Josiah came to us from Montana and joined our wrestling team. I gathered in prayer with our wrestlers and their coaches today. I told them the wrestling team is about to get much bigger as you, our staff, students, and this community, stand with them over the coming days and months.

We extend our deepest sympathies to Josiah’s family, friends, and to all who had the privilege of knowing him. We stand together in prayer, offering our love and support during this time of mourning.

This is an incredibly difficult time for our community. The safety and wellbeing of our community is paramount. Please know we have a range of resources available to you including our counseling services, faculty and staff mentors, and our campus ministry.

Be vigilant. Police are still actively investigating this senseless crime. Please keep up with any Campbellsville University Alerts that are issued. We are committed to sharing information with our community as we receive it. Also, help us extend gratitude to law enforcement and all those who are serving and protecting across the campus.

As we navigate this period of mourning, let us hold fast to the memory of Josiah, allowing his spirit of hope and faith to guide us. Together, in unity and love, we will honor his legacy and continue to support one another.

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    Stephanie CrenshawFeb 24, 2024 at 9:32 pm

    Brought me to tears reading this. Seems like he was such a fine young man. Praise the Lord for the hope we have that he is with Jesus! Many prayers for his family and teammates.