Arrest made in death of 21-year-old University of Mississippi student found dead near a lake, local media say

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Brandon Theesfeld has been arrested in the killing of Alexandria Kostial, a University of Mississippi student who was found dead near Oxford over the weekend.

Posted: Jul 24, 2019 8:20 AM
Updated: Jul 24, 2019 8:20 AM

Police arrested a Texas man Tuesday in the murder of a 21-year-old University of Mississippi student whose body was found near Oxford over the weekend, they say.

The Lafayette County Sheriff's Department and The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation arrested Brandon Theesfeld in the killing of Ally Kostial, the sheriff's office said. Theesfeld is slated to make his initial court appearance Tuesday, police said.

Citing the ongoing investigation, the sheriff's office declined to release more details.

"We want to thank the family of Alexandria for their patience and their trust," the department said.

Theesfeld also attended Ole Miss, studying in the same business administration school as Kostial, and has been suspended, university spokesman Rod Guajardo said.

CNN reached out to Theesfeld's attorney, Swayze Alford, Tuesday night.

Lafayette County sheriff's deputies found Kostial's body Saturday while they were on patrol near Sardis Lake, about 30 miles from the northern Mississippi campus, CNN affiliate KMOV reported. Her cause of death has not been released, according to CNN affiliate WMC.

Mississippi Bureau of Investigation Capt. John Poulos confirmed to CNN that state investigators are assisting the sheriff's office and referred additional questions about the case to county department.

The University of Mississippi Police Department and Oxford Police Department are also assisting in the case, WMC said.

Authorities previously said they were following multiple leads to determine how Kostial ended up near the lake, WMC reported.

Kostial was working toward a bachelor's degree in marketing, University of Mississippi Interim Chancellor Larry Sparks said in a statement.

"Ally was a valued member of our campus community," Sparks said. "We extend our deepest sympathy to her family, friends and classmates and stand ready to support them during this time."

Anna Pasco, one of Kostial's friends, told WMC she was shocked.

"She quite possibly was the nicest human being that I've ever met," Pasco told the affiliate. "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. It's hard."

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the distance from campus where Kostial's body was found. She was found about 30 miles away.

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