A Fellow Student is Charged with Killing a College Wrestler from Columbia Falls

Josiah Kilman, a college wrestler in Kentucky, was killed by a fellow student at a private Christian university over the weekend

By Associated Press & Beacon Staff

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – A college wrestler in Kentucky was killed by a fellow student at a private Christian university over the weekend, authorities said.

Josiah Kilman, 18, of Columbia Falls, was pronounced dead at a hospital after police officers were called early Saturday to Campbellsville University in central Kentucky, city police said in a news release. He was found unresponsive in his dorm room, and the state will conduct an autopsy.

Josiah Kilman of the Columbia Falls Wildcats sends a ball into a Park High Rangers’ defender during the Class A state soccer championship game at Columbia Falls High School on Oct. 29, 2022. The Wildcats won 5-2. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

A campus lockdown was lifted after a 21-year-old student was arrested Saturday evening by state police following a report of a suspicious person in a barn, police and school officials said. He was charged with murder and second-degree burglary, and bond was set at $2 million, court records show. Authorities did not release details on the killing, including motive.

University President Joseph Hopkins said in a statement to the campus community that Kilman, a wrestling team member, was a “bright light, and a person of incredible hope,” saying his faith was contagious. Hopkins said he prayed Sunday with wrestlers and coaches.

“I told them the wrestling team is about to get much bigger as you, our staff, students, and this community, stand with them over the coming days and months,” he wrote.

The Kilman family released the following statement to Lex 18 News in Lexington, Kentucky:

“Josiah Malachi Kilman was a young, 18-year-old Christian man from Columbia Falls, Montana, who had a passionate heart on fire for the Lord. He was attending Campbellsville University in Campbellsville, Kentucky on a biblical scholarship with the dreams of leading others to follow the Lord through the Christian principles, of which he himself adhered to. He was well known to many as an avid athlete and faithful religious leader. Josiah influenced many hearts as he was a true example of compassion, kindness, and love. His example compelled so many others to make the same changes he wished to see in the world, and his impact on their lives will never truly be forgotten. During this time, his family is grieving and asks for privacy to deal with the devastating loss of their beloved son, brother, grandson, nephew, cousin, and true friend known to so many.”

A GoFundMe has also been established for the family to help offset travel and burial expenses. The fundraiser, which can be found here, had exceeded its goal of raising $50,000 by Monday morning.