The man arrested Monday in the slaying of Alexandria “Ally” Kostial — an Ole Miss student whose disappearance and killing triggered a manhunt — was her classmate, school officials said Tuesday.

The body of Kostial, 21, was discovered by Lafayette County sheriff’s deputies during a routine patrol Saturday in Harmontown, Miss., ABC News reported, about 30 miles from the University of Mississippi.

Their investigation led them to Brandon Theesfeld, 22, of Texas. He was arrested Monday, ABC News reported, and made a court appearance Tuesday, though ABC News reported that he did not enter a plea. He is charged with murder.

Theesfeld and Kostial were fellow students at the university’s School of Business Administration, Ole Miss spokesman Rod Guajardo said. Theesfeld was suspended from the university, Guajardo said, but it was unclear whether that suspension was before or after officials learned of his arrest.

It was also unclear what, if any, relationship he had with Kostial beyond being students in the same program. The sheriff’s office did not return a request for comment.


Brandon Theesfeld is led from the Lafayette County Courthouse in Oxford, Miss., on Tuesday. (Bruce Newman/The Oxford Eagle/AP)

“We are truly saddened by the death of Alexandria Kostial. Ally was a valued member of our campus community,” interim university chancellor Larry Sparks said in a statement. “We extend our deepest sympathy to her family, friends, and classmates and stand ready to support them during this time.”

Kostial graduated from Lindbergh High School in St. Louis in 2016.

“She spent her summers going on mission trips. She cared about people and just wanted to help,” high school and college classmate Kassidy Desnoyer told ABC News. “She was the brightest light I’ve ever came across.”

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