The father of a 22-year-old college student accused of brutally shooting fellow student Ally Kostial to death has proclaimed his son’s innocence.
“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,” Daniel Theesfeld said in a statement given to WMC.
His son, Brandon Theesfeld, was formally charged with murder in his first court appearance Tuesday morning, just days after Kostial’s body was discovered in a remote area about 20 miles outside of campus.
Kostial, 21, was last seen on surveillance footage Friday night in front of a bar near the University of Mississippi, however, she never went into the bar and is instead seen walking away from the building, WLBT reports.
The next morning her body was discovered by the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department on a routine patrol at Buford’s Ridge, a remote area with a fishing camp known to both locals and college students.
A source close to the investigation said the 21-year-old marketing student had been shot eight times, WLBT reports.
Brandon Theesfeld was taken into custody by the Memphis Police Department at about 9:30 a.m. Monday at a gas station in South Memphis, according to local newspaper The Oxford Eagle. Investigators had allegedly tracked him to the site through his cellphone and credit cards.
Theesfeld and Kostial had both been students in the School of Business Administration, but authorities have not said whether the pair knew each other.
Kostial, who is from St. Louis, Missouri, had been attending summer classes at the university and teaching fitness classes when she was killed.
Interim Chancellor Larry Sparks said in a statement that Theesfeld has been suspended by the university in light of the charges against him.
“I want to extend our deepest sympathies once again to Ally’s family, friends and all others who knew her or interacted with her on campus,” he said. “Ally was an engaged member of our community with friends across our campus and had a promising future. The university will support the Kostial family in every way we can during this traumatic time.”
Theesfeld is being held at the Lafayette County Detention Center.
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxygen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.