Sarah Townsend, a 21-year-old student at Murray State, was found dead Friday in Calloway County. A man has been charged with her murder. (Kentucky State Police photo)

MURRAY, Ky. (KT) - The body of a Murray State University student was found Friday morning in Calloway County, and Kentucky State Police said a man has been charged with her murder.

Detectives identified Sarah Townsend, 21, whose body was discovered early Friday morning in southern Calloway County in a ditch after getting help from a student profile and family members.

Preliminary autopsy reports determined Townsend, originally from Farmville, Virginia, died from multiple gunshot wounds, according to a Saturday morning Kentucky State Police news release.

On Friday evening, KSP investigators learned that Murray State University Police were asked to conduct a welfare check on Townsend after she failed to report to work that afternoon, the release said.

Investigators began interviewing friends and relatives once Townsend was identified, and state police said that allowed them to determine her last known


"With the help of various intelligence services, KSP discovered that Townsend’s vehicle, a Toyota Camry, had been observed by traffic cameras in central Georgia," KSP Trooper Adam Jones said in a news release. "Further investigation led to the development of a suspect who also had ties to the same area in Georgia."

Early Saturday morning, KSP detectives said Townsend’s Toyota Camry had returned to Kentucky. The suspect, 22-year-old Julius Sotomayor, was arrested early Saturday at his home in Dexter, Kentucky. Townsend’s Toyota Camry was found nearby, according to KSP's news release. 

"Evidence and statements obtained throughout the investigation provided investigators with sufficient probable cause to arrest Sotomayor," Jones said in a news release. 

Sotomayor has been charged with murder, theft by unlawful taking (auto), and tampering with physical evidence. He is being held at the Calloway County Jail, according to police. 

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