Strangled college wrestler’s ex-coach issues unsettling warning about campus violence

In a surprising turn of events, the tight-knit community of Campbellsville University in Kentucky was left reeling after the tragic demise of Josiah Kilman. He was a promising 18-year-old theology major and wrestler.

The heart-wrenching incident not only surprised family and friends but also raised alarming concerns about campus safety.

Kilman’s former soccer coach O’Brien Byrd told Fox News Digital: “It boggles my mind. I hope to God this isn’t a pattern we’re seeing, but I also think that this could happen to everybody anywhere.”

Josiah Kilman was discovered strangled in his dormitory shortly before 1 a.m. on February 24. The alleged perpetrator was Charles Escalera, Kilman’s 21-year-old wrestling teammate. He was arrested following a tip from a local farmer who reported a suspicious individual in a barn.

Escalera now faces charges of murder and burglary. He is currently held on a $2 million bail at Taylor County Detention Center.

Kilman’s tragic fate adds to a disturbing trend, marking the fourth on-campus homicide in just nine days across the nation. The chilling incidents include the February 16 dorm room shooting of University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Two students named Samuel Knopp and Celie Rain Montgomery were shot and murdered in a dorm room on February 16, according to police. They were both struck in the head by a single bullet.

25-year-old Nicholas Jordan has been arrested in relation to the incident, facing two counts of first-degree murder.

Also on February 22, the University of Georgia witnessed the brutal murder of Augusta University nursing student Laken Riley. The 22-year-old was jogging in the area when she was allegedly attacked.

The alleged assailant was a Venezuelan migrant named Jose Antonio Ibarra. He faces multiple charges, including malice murder, felony murder, aggravated battery, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, kidnapping, hindering a 911 call and concealing the death of another.

Josiah Kilman’s untimely death occurred just days before the Campbellsville wrestling team’s scheduled departure to Kansas for the national championships. Even though Kilman’s passing has had “a big toll” on the other members of the team, one of his fellow wrestlers told Fox News Digital that they were determined to go on with Tuesday’s event in memory of their fallen friend.

The teammate said: “Some of us have been through a situation like this before, but at this time in the season it’s definitely taken a toll on us, trying to get our minds right and focus on this tournament. A lot of people would go home and be with their families. But we’re going out there to wrestle for his family.”

Devastated by the loss of their son, Josiah Kilman’s family initiated a GoFundMe campaign to cover burial expenses and transport his body back to his home state of Montana.