Brandon Theesfeld has been identified as the suspect in the murder of his 21-year-old University of Mississippi classmate Alexandria “Ally” Kostial,according to police. Ally Kostial, a St. Louis native and Ole Miss senior, was found dead the morning of July 20 near a remote lake in Lafayette County, Mississippi, about 20 miles from her college’s campus in Oxford.
Kostial was shot eight times, sources told WLBT-TV. Sources also told the news station’s Therese Apel that all of the shots were to her torso and stomach area. Preliminary autopsy results released on July 24 revealed she died of multiple gunshot wounds and her death has been classified as a homicide.
The Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations put out a press release on July 23 confirming Theesfeld’s arrest. “As stated in the earlier press release we are not releasing details of the investigation. We will release it when it is appropriate and not before,” Major Alan Wilburn said in a statement. “We want to thank the family (of) Alexandria for (their) patience and trust in the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department.”
It is not clear if Kostial was killed at the lake or if her body was brought there after she was already dead. Police have not said what kind of weapon was used to kill Kostial. An acquaintance of Theesfeld, who asked to remain anonymous, told Heavy that Theesfeld would carry a Glock handgun in his truck that held eight rounds.
Online jail records show that 22-year-old Brandon Theesfeld is being held at the Lafayette County Jail on a murder charge. Theesfeld was arrested in Memphis at a gas station by local police at 9:30 a.m. on July 22, authorities said. He was taken back to Mississippi and booked into custody.
Brandon Theesfeld, 21, of Fort Worth, Texas is charged with the murder of Alexandria “Ally” Kostial. Justice court judge allowing time for prosecutors and defense to set bond hearing date/time pic.twitter.com/3bRTSjmU49
— HottyToddy.com (@HottyToddyNews) July 23, 2019
Theesfeld is a Texas native and is also a senior at the University of Mississippi, according to his Facebook page. Photos from his arrest in Memphis show several officers surrounding his Dodge Ram pickup truck that was parked at a gas pump.
— Greg Coy (@GCoyFOX13) July 23, 2019
— Greg Coy (@GCoyFOX13) July 23, 2019
According to Fox 13 Memphis, investigators tracked Theesfeld to the gas station in South Memphis using his cellphone and credit card activity. He was spotted entering the store at the station wearing an Ole Miss shirt. After his pickup truck was spotted by a patrol officer, police swarmed the gas station and blocked Theesfeld in, the news station reports.l He was taken into custody there by Lafayette County deputies. Sources told the news station that Theesfeld’s clothes appeared to have blood on them and a weapon was found inside his truck.
Police have not released details about how Theesfeld and Kostial knew each other or if they were in a relationship. They followed each other on Twitter and were pictured in photos on one of Kostial’s social media profiles posted in December 2016. Her friends and family told WREG-TV that Kostial and Theesfeld had dated in the past.
Theesfeld’s 20-year-old sister is in the same University of Mississippi sorority chapter that Kostial was a founding member of, Alpha Phi. One of Kostial’s close friends wrote on Twitter, “He harassed her for years, took advantage of her for years, I spent countless nights holding Ally close drying her tears about this monster for years. You deserve hell you disgusting excuse for a human. #JusticeForAlly You will never diminish her sunshine.”
A motive in the shooting is also not known. Investigators have said they need to remain tight-lipped in order to not jeopardize the investigation. Theesfeld and his family could not be reached for comment by Heavy. His attorney during his first court appearance, Swayze Alford, has declined to comment. He is now being represented additionally by high-profile Oxford attorneys Tony Farese and his brother, Steve Farese.
“Of course, he’ll plead not guilty at this point in time,” Steve Farese told WMC-TV. He said they are preparing their defense. “We’ll certainly try to obtain copies of police reports. We’ll interview witnesses. We’ll go to the scene in question and we will look at the forensics.”
Theesfeld’s father, Daniel Theesfeld, told WMC-TV’s Kendall Downing, “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.”
A GoFundMe has been set up to help the Kostial family with funeral expenses. Her funeral will be held at Concordia Kirkwood Lutheran Church in St. Louis, Missouri. The public visitation will be Friday night, July 26 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and the funeral will be Saturday, July 27, at 10 a.m.
Here’s what you need to know about Brandon Theesfeld and the murder of Ally Kostial:
1. Kostial Left Her House Sometime After Midnight Saturday & She Was Seen on Surveillance Video at a Market Near Where She Was Found Dead, Police Sources Tell a Local News Station
According to WLBT-TV, Ally Kostial was seen on surveillance video stopping at the door of a bar in the square in Oxford, Mississippi, Friday night. According to the news station, she didn’t go into the bar, she just paused, turned and walked out of the camera’s view.
NEW: Surveillance footage shows Ally Kostial getting in an Uber leaving the Square on Friday night pic.twitter.com/N7J7E2nDYb
— Rex Ravita II (@RexRavita) July 25, 2019
Kostial’s roommates told police she went to their Oxford home about midnight, but at some time after that left again, the news station reports. Her roommates told police they didn’t hear her leave, according to WLBT-TV.
The news station, citing police sources, reports that Kostial was seen on surveillance video at Lakeside Market in Como, near where she was found dead.
Police had declined to release many details in the case, citing the ongoing investigation. Brandon Theesfeld was taken into custody just before 3:45 p.m. on Monday, July 22, according to jail records.
Kostial was found at 10:23 a.m. in Harmontown, Mississippi, near Sardis Lake, which is about 20 miles from the University of Mississippi’s Oxford campus, where Kostial had been living for the summer. The sheriff’s department said it was “apparent that foul play was involved” in her death.
Sources told WLBT that Kostial’s body was found by deputies near Buford’s Ridge. The remote area includes a fishing camp and an area where locals and college students ride ATVs on weekends when the water is low. According to the news station, the water was high on Friday and Saturday, so there was less activity in the area.
FacebookBrandon Theesfeld has been identified the suspect in the shooting death of University of Mississippi student Ally Kostial.
Neighbors told WMC-TV that they were surprised to see emergency responders in their small and remote neighborhood. “I was sitting on the couch and saw the ambulance go by and was curious and went outside and then the next thing I know the coroner came by and two unmarked vehicles,” Michelle Bramlett, a neighbor, told the news station. She added, “I just can’t imagine what the parents are going through right now and their family. It’s just very devastating.”
Another neighbor, Jim Bob Bromley, told WMC, “You shouldn’t have to bury your kids. Nobody can describe that kind of pain and it’s forever. It doesn’t go away. It gets better but it doesn’t go away.”
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