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Fellow University of Mississippi student charged in murder of Ally Kostial

Brandon Theesfeld, 22, has been charged with the murder of fellow University of Mississippi student Ally Kostial. Police arrested him at a gas station in Memphis, Tennessee, 80 miles from campus.
/ Source: TODAY

Police have charged a fellow University of Mississippi student with the murder of Ally Kostial, 21, whose body was found over the weekend 20 miles from campus near a lake known as a popular hangout.

Brandon Theesfeld, 22, was booked into the Lafayette County Jail on Monday and charged with murder after police arrested him at a gas station in Tennessee.

The Texas native is expected to have a bond hearing on Wednesday morning.

Theesfeld's father, Daniel Theesfeld, released a statement to WLBT saying his son did not commit the crime.

"I know my son is innocent,'' he said. "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."

Ally Kostial and Brandon Theesfeld
A 2016 photo posted on social media shows University of Mississippi student Ally Kostial, 21, and the man charged with her murder, Brandon Theesfeld, 22, together. TODAY

Theesfeld was a student at the School of Business Administration, according to a statement from the university. The school said he has been suspended. Kostial was enrolled in summer school and teaching workout classes.

A deputy on patrol near a lake about 20 miles from campus found her body on Saturday morning, the Lafayette County Sheriff's Department said in a statement. She was found with eight gunshot wounds, sources close to the investigation told WLBT.

Theesfeld was arrested two days later at a gas station 80 miles away in Memphis.

Kostial was last seen on city surveillance video Friday night outside a bar near the University of Mississippi.

Kostial and Theesfeld appear to have known each other, as a photo posted on social media in 2016 shows the two of them together.

At Ole Miss on Wednesday, black ribbons hung outside Kostial's sorority house.

News of the arrest has brought some relief to a University of Mississippi campus that was on edge, leaving students to mourn the loss of one of their own.

"Ally's shocks the conscience and causes much pain and sorrow, but it does not define our campus community,'' Ole Miss Interim Chancellor Larry Sparks tweeted in a statement Tuesday. "We must draw strength from what brings us together as a community, even as we grieve this unspeakable loss."