Kentucky College Wrestler Killed in Dorm Room, Teammate Arrested

The suspect, who was a wrestling teammate of the victim’s, was found hiding in a barn on a farm.

Kentucky College Wrestler Killed in Dorm Room, Teammate Arrested

Photo via Adobe by Justin

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – A member of the Campbellsville University wrestling team was killed in his on-campus dorm room over the weekend.

Josiah Kilman, 18, was discovered unresponsive early Saturday morning and pronounced dead at Taylor Regional Hospital. The coroner’s report identified his cause of death as manual strangulation, reports WLKY.

Charles “Zeke” Escalera, 21, is believed to be Kilman’s killer and was arrested on Saturday, reports WHAS11. Police found Escalera in Green County after being contacted by a farmer who reported a suspicious person hiding in his barn. Police have not indicated the suspect’s motive in the case, saying they are continuing their investigation.

Escalera has been charged with the victim’s murder as well as second-degree burglary. He’s being held at a local detention center on $2 million bond.

Both Kilman and Escalera were on the Campbellsville University wrestling team.

Immediately after the discovery of Kilman’s body, the campus was placed on full lockdown. The lockdown was lifted when Escalera was apprehended.

Campbellsville University, which is a Christian institution of higher education, is reeling from the tragedy. Taylor County Coroner Daniel Cook told LEX18 the campus and the town that surrounds it is a small community, and he couldn’t recall a time when a student was charged with murder.

In response to the tragedy, Campbellsville University President Joseph Hopkins, DM, said in a statement to students, faculty, and staff:

“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. 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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About the Author

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Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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