Kentucky man held on $1M bond in death of university student

Published 10:19 am Monday, March 29, 2021

A Kentucky man was being held on a $1 million bond on Monday in the shooting death of a Murray State University student whose car was taken to Georgia and back.

Julius Sotomayor was being held in the Calloway County Jail on charges of murder, theft by unlawful taking and tampering with physical evidence, the Murray Ledger & Times reported. Jail officials did not know if he had an attorney to represent him.

Sotomayor was arrested on Saturday after the body of Sarah Townsend was discovered in a ditch the previous day by a passerby. Authorities asked the public for help identifying her, noting that she wore distinctive blue Crocs shoes with charms that included a pair of cows, a cactus and Sesame Street character Oscar the Grouch. A preliminary autopsy report determined that the 21-year-old pre-veterinary medicine student from Farmville, Virginia, died of multiple gunshot wounds.

Kentucky State Police Post 1 spokesman Adam Jones said detectives learned through interviews with friends and relatives on Friday that Townsend’s Toyota Camry had been observed by traffic cameras in central Georgia. This led detectives toward Sotomayor, who had ties to that area. On Saturday they learned the car was back in Kentucky and located it near Sotomayor’s home in Dexter.

Murray State University President Bob Jackson sent out an email message to students advising them of Townsend’s death and saying “this loss is felt deeply by all of us.”