NewsMontana News


Columbia Falls soccer coach remembers standout player murdered in Kentucky

Josiah Kilman
Posted at 4:05 PM, Feb 27, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-28 10:58:23-05

COLUMBIA FALLS — The Columbia Falls High School soccer coach remembers his standout player who was murdered at a Kentucky university this weekend.

Josiah Kilman,18, was well-known in the Columbia Falls community. He was a varsity athlete in soccer, baseball, and wrestling.

Kilman was found unresponsive in his dorm room on Saturday at Campbellsville University in Campbellsville, Kentucky where he was part of the wrestling team. According to the Taylor County coroner, Kilman died from manual strangulation.

Kilman's high school soccer coach O'Brien Byrd said Kilman was the ultimate good guy.

“I was lucky enough to have known Josiah for most of his life,” said O’Brien Byrd the Columbia Falls High School Soccer Coach. “To describe who Josiah Kilman is, is like reading a script of a movie. The ultimate good guy. The superhero, you know. He was an amazing young man and one of a kind.”

Byrd has a son about Josiah’s age and has known him since he was a boy.

“He was a rascal and a goofball, and a little bit of a troublemaker you know? Innocently as teenage boys do, you know, he was an all-American teenage boy. But he always knew when there were younger eyes on him and when he needed to be a role model, button it up,” said Byrd.

A big part of Josiah’s life was his faith. He was attending Campbellsville University in Kentucky for biblical studies.

“He had such a strong faith and he was not afraid to share that faith with anybody. It's very comfortable talking to his friends about his faith and very comfortable having adult conversations about faith and what it meant to him and his savior,” said Byrd.

This faith gave him some of the skills that he needed to be a leader. He was chosen as the captain of the soccer team in his junior and senior years of high school.

“He was a great role model. And he was a leader. Definitely, a natural leader. very protective and loyal. Like he would defend his teammates to the end and you know, he very strong physically a fighter, you know, an amazing wrestler. Because of his position of strength, he would oftentimes be gentle to people that were not as strong as him,” said Byrd.

Josiah will be missed by all of his friends and his loving family.

“You know, most of us are lucky to say we'd be we have one best friend. I would probably say 40-50 people would say Josiah was their best friend. So we need to focus our energy on these young adults and the young people of our community and we'll never be able to understand or explain why. But we can help them grieve and we can help them process this. We can help honor Josiah and remember the young man that he was and hold up his family right now.”