UPDATED at 6 p.m. with additional quotes
A 21-year-old woman from the St. Louis area was found dead over the weekend in Mississippi, near where she attended college.
The victim is identified as Alexandria “Ally” Kostial, who was a 2016 graduate of Lindbergh High School.
A sheriff’s deputy in Lafayette County was on patrol and found her body Saturday morning in Harmontown, Mississippi, a town about 20 miles from the Ole Miss campus. Authorities have not said how she died.
The Lafayette County sheriff’s office, in a news release, said that “it is apparent that foul play was involved.” Maj. Alan Wilburn did not say what led him to that conclusion. Wilburn refused to say any more for fear, he said, that it would jeopardize the investigation. He said investigators are following several leads.
A television station in Oxford, Miss., WLBT, reports that Kostial had been shot eight times. The station said Kostial was last seen stopping at the door of a bar Friday night but didn’t go in. She turned and walked out of the camera’s view; authorities close to the case say she went home around midnight, but at some point she left the house again. Her roommates didn’t hear her leave, WLBT reported.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff’s Department at 662-234-6421 or CrimeStoppers at 662-234-8477.
Ally’s father, Keith Kostial, posted on Facebook that Sunset Hills police visited him Saturday afternoon to break the news. He said Ally Kostial was the victim of a homicide and, “as of now, it is believed the crime happened in Lafayette County, MS.”
Ally Kostial had been attending summer school and teaching fitness classes at the University of Mississippi, known as Ole Miss, in Oxford, her father said.
Along with teaching fitness classes, Ally Kostial was a part of her school’s golf club and was active in sports such as cheerleading and track most of her life, according to one of her best friends, 21-year-old Casey Hendrickson.
Hendrickson, an incoming senior at the University of Missouri, grew up with Ally Kostial in their Lindbergh neighborhood and described her as a ray of sunshine. The two were planning to run in a marathon together.
“She was the happiest and most positive person in the world,” Hendrickson said. “The light that she brought into this world was amazing.”
Kostial’s family will release information about funeral arrangements at a later time, Hendrickson said.
Beth Johnston, a spokeswoman with the Lindbergh School District, confirmed that Ally graduated from Lindbergh in 2016.
At the University of Mississippi, interim chancellor Larry Sparks said, in part: “We are truly saddened by the death of Alexandria Kostial. Ally was a valued member of our campus community.”
The university said she was majoring in marketing.
The Mississippi Bureau of Investigations, University of Mississippi police and Oxford police are helping in the investigation.