Fox News 2024-03-04 04:33:35


Former Border Patrol chief drops bombshell on lack of contact with Biden, Harris

The former Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol told 60 Minutes that President Biden never spoke to him during his two years on the job. Neither did Vice President Kamala Harris, tapped as the administration’s “border czar” by President Biden in May 2021.

Raul Ortiz served as the U.S. Chief of Border Patrol under President Biden and deputy chief under former President Trump before retiring in May 2023. 

In an interview that aired Sunday, Ortiz excoriated politicians – Republicans and Democrats alike – who engage in media ops in a “two-mile stretch,” neglected hundreds of miles of open borders. 

But he expressed particular frustrations for the president, saying that in his two years in office, “I’ve never had one conversation with the president or vice president.” 

“I was the chief of the Border Patrol, I commanded 21,000 people. That’s a problem,” he said. 

US BORDER PATROL SHOOTS, KILLS BANDIT ROBBING MIGRANTS IN CALIFORNIA

Ortiz said the U.S. needs to send a clearer message to Central and South America that they will be sent back if they do not have a legitimate asylum claim. 

Asked if he believed the White House has sent mixed messages to migrants, he said: “most definitely.” 

Ortiz presided over Border Patrol during some of the most high-profile incidents, including 15,000 Haitian migrants under the bridge in Del Rio, agents being falsely accused of whipping, the end of Title 42 expulsions, and record-setting illegal crossings. 

Ortiz testified under oath in March 2023 during a House field hearing in McAllen, Texas that the border is not secure. He retired two months later. 

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His interview comes after Biden and Trump made dueling trips to the southern border, underscoring how central the border is to the 2024 presidential election. 

Gangs jailbreak thousands of inmates as chaos breaks out in Caribbean country

Armed gangs in Haiti’s capital released roughly 4,000 inmates from the country’s largest prison after a days-long gun battle with police on Sunday.

The vast majority of the 4,000 men held in the Port-au-Prince jail successfully escaped, according to reports from local media. Many of the inmates were gang members charged in connection with the 2021 assassination of Hatian President Jovenel Moise.

Armed gangs launched their attack against the prison earlier this weekend when Prime Minister Ariel Henry left the country on a visit to Kenya, seeking assistance in the fight against domestic gangs.

Gang leader Jimmy Cherizier, a former police officer, called on various armed groups to overthrow Henry’s regime. Gangs attacked both the National Penitentiary and the country’s main container port.

HAITIAN LEADER HEADS TO KENYA IN HOPES OF REVIVING ANTI-GANG POLICE FORCE PLANS

“All of us, the armed groups in the provincial towns and the armed groups in the capital, are united,” Cherizier said.

Henry had vowed to step down from his position by the end of February, but he argued the gang violence needed to be overcome before free and fair elections could be held.

ANTI-GANG TASK FORCE AGREEMENT WITH KENYA IN THE WORKS, HAITIAN GOVERNMENT SAYS

Haiti has not held an election since 2016.

Henry succeeded in negotiating an agreement in Kenya on Friday.

TORCHED SUGARCANE FIELDS MAKE HAITIAN RUM INDUSTRY LATEST VICTIM OF COUNTRY’S GANG CRISIS

Kenya had agreed in October to lead a U.N.-authorized international police force to Haiti, but the Kenyan High Court in January ruled the plan unconstitutional, in part because of a lack of reciprocal agreements between the two countries.

Last week’s agreement ensures that Kenya will send 1,000 police officers to the troubled Caribbean nation to help combat ongoing gang violence.

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Kenyan President William Ruto said in a statement that he and Henry witnessed the signing of the reciprocal agreements between the two countries on Friday.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Biden AG vows to fight voter ID laws, other election integrity measures

Attorney General Merrick Garland appeared alongside Vice President Kamala Harris in Selma, Alabama on Sunday where he pledged to fight voter ID laws and other election integrity measures that he deemed “discriminatory, burdensome, and unnecessary.” 

Their appearance marked the 59th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday attacks on civil rights marchers in Selma, Alabama

Speaking at a Selma church service to mark the anniversary of the attack by Alabama law officers on civil rights demonstrators, Garland recounted the history of voting rights since the end of slavery – a history which, he told the crowd, has “never been steady” for Black Americans and “other voters of color.” 

He lamented that in recent years, certain measures such as voter ID laws and redistricting maps have made it harder “for millions of eligible voters to vote and to elect the representatives of their choice.”  

BIDEN ADMIN ACCUSED OF USING TAXPAYER FUNDS TO HELP HIS OWN CAMPAIGN WITH STUDENT VOTER REGISTRATION SCHEME

“Those measures include practices and procedures that make voting more difficult; redistricting maps that disadvantage minorities; and changes in voting administration that diminish the authority of locally elected or nonpartisan election administrators,” Garland told worshippers at Selma’s Tabernacle Baptist Church, the site of one of the first mass meetings of the voting rights movement. “Such measures threaten the foundation of our system of government.”

Garland said the DOJ was “fighting back.” He pointed to having doubled the number of lawyers in the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division, and his legal challenges to state and jurisdictions to implement when he deemed “discriminatory, burdensome, and unnecessary restrictions on access to the ballot, including those related to mail-in voting, the use of drop boxes, and voter ID requirements. Polls consistently show that huge majorities of Americans favor voter ID.

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“That is why we are working to block the adoption of discriminatory redistricting plans that dilute the vote of Black voters and other voters of color,” he said, later adding that the DOJ “recognizes the urgency of this moment.” 

Garland’s remarks come at a time when illegal immigration into the country is at historic highs.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Malaysia announces renewed push to find MH370 a decade after disappearance

The Malaysian government announced Sunday that it is pushing for a renewed search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which vanished nearly 10 years ago while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Flight MH370 was a Boeing 777 carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew when it disappeared on March 8, 2014.

The disappearance of the aircraft ranks among the world’s greatest aviation mysteries after Australia, China and Malaysia ended a fruitless $157-million search effort in January 2017.

Investigators in Malaysia have not ruled out the possibility that the commercial airline was deliberately taken off course, as debris confirmed and believed to have come from the plane has washed up on the coast of Africa and on islands in the Indian Ocean.

RETIRED FISHERMAN CLAIMS HE FOUND PART OF MALAYSIA AIRLINES MH370 IN SOUTH AUSTRALIAN WATERS: REPORT

On Sunday, Malaysian Transport Minister Anthony Loke said Ocean Infinity, a U.S.-based firm that explores the seabed, had been invited to discuss the latest search proposal after two previous failed efforts.

“The Malaysian government is committed to the search (for MH370) and the search must go on,” Loke said at a remembrance event on Sunday.

The minister also said Malaysia would talk with Australia about cooperation in resuming the search once Ocean Infinity’s proposal is approved by the Malaysian government.

MALAYSIA AIRLINES FLIGHT 370 PILOT SUSPECTED BY ‘TOP LEVELS’ OF MASS MURDER-SUICIDE, EX-AUSSIE PM SAYS

Ocean Infinity did not immediately respond to inquiries from Fox News Digital on the matter.

One of the victims on the ill-fated flight was Anne Daisy, and her husband, V.P.R. Nathan, said the proposal from Ocean Infinity has a “no find, no fee” option, which he welcomed.

“We want the search to carry on, but we also have to be realistic,” he said. “We cannot expect the government to spend billions [on the search].”

The flight’s disappearance sparked a multiyear search that resulted in a confusing and convoluted series of revelations that have yet to turn up a solid conclusion of what happened. After three years, Malaysian authorities called off the search, and subsequent search efforts have remained short-lived.

DEBRIS OFF MADAGASCAR ‘MOST LIKELY’ FROM MALAYSIA AIRLINES FLIGHT 370, REPORT SAYS

A Netflix documentary released in March 2020 examined the timeline of the plane’s disappearance, speaking with some of the more prominent voices and players involved in the response and search for the plane.

The documentary also revived some of the more outlandish theories about what happened to the plane.

Following its disappearance, the plane emitted several “pings” that London-based satellite firm Inmarsat recorded and tracked over the immediate six hours. 

The pings allowed the company to confirm that the plane backtracked over Malaysia before the final ping somewhere over the Indian Ocean. After that, the mystery deepened. Inmarsat used the data to determine the plane flew south into the Indian Ocean rather than bank north over continental Asia. 

In subsequent years, Blaine Gibson, a self-described hobbyist “adventurer,” found several pieces of the plane that washed up on islands around the Indian Ocean that airline authorities say were consistent with the Boeing 777. And they determined that as proof enough that the plane went down because no other plane has been reported missing in the intervening years. It’s the closest to a confirmation they believe the families will get. 

Just last year, a retired fisherman claimed he found a large piece of the missing plane off the coast of Australia.

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Retired Australian fisherman Kit Olver said, in an interview with Sydney Morning Herald that he discovered the piece of the plane during a deep-sea fishing expedition when his trawler pulled up what appeared to be a wing.

He said he kept quiet for nine years but wanted to come forward with the information to help the families of those who were on board MH370.

Fox News Digital’s Sarah Rumpf-Whitten and Reuters contributed to this report.

Questions raised after YouTuber-turned-boxer knocks out opponent in first round

Jake Paul’s first-round TKO of Ryan Bourland on Saturday night was the talk of social media and the YouTube star-turned-pro boxer had a bunch of callouts.

Former NFL star Le’Veon Bell and former WBC interim lightweight champion Ryan Garcia were among them.

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Bell, who previously played for the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Jets, wrote on X that Paul should at least be able to fight someone who knows “how to defend themselves.”

“lol bra, this is laughable,” Bell wrote. “I don’t even care if he decides to fight me or not, just fight somebody who actually knows how to defend themselves.”

Garcia, who is prepping for a fight against Devin Haney for the WBC super lightweight title, said he was ready to end Paul’s entire career.

“Okay enough, it’s on I’m going to have to do this! I’m going to end this JAKE PAUL BOXING THING,” Garcia added on X. “BRING IT ON JAKE IM DEAD F—–G SERIOUS F— YOU! HIT MY TEAM UP.”

AMANDA SERRANO’S HOMECOMING BOXING MATCH IN PUERTO RICO CALLED OFF DUE TO BIZARRE EYE INJURY

Paul responded to Garcia’s challenge in his post-fight press conference.

“Ryan, I love you, you know that bro, but you got to chill out,” Paul said. “You just seem like you’re losing your mind. Acting thirsty and desperate. … I’m just saying, just chill, bro. If you do want to fight, to me, that’s light work. You got no footwork, and as long as you’ve been in the game, I’m a better boxer than you.”

After Paul won against Bourland, he called out Canelo Alvarez.

“Hey Canelo, stop ducking. I know you want it,” he said.

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It was Paul’s ninth victory in his 10th professional fight, each of the last two having come against fellow boxers after fights against MMA fighters like Nate Diaz and Anderson Silva. His lone loss is to Tommy Fury, the brother of Tyson.

Fox News’ Ryan Morik contributed to this report.

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Football legend saves elderly man when 25-year-old allegedly starts attacking him

Braylon Edwards, the Michigan Wolverines football legend who ended up going third overall in the 2005 NFL Draft, came to an elderly man’s rescue during a locker room assault. 

The incident occurred in Farmington Hills, Michigan, where Edwards saw an 80-year-old man being assaulted by a 25-year-old man at the Farmington Family YMCA on March 1, according to WDIV-TV. 

Edwards explained the scenario, one where he was quick to jump into action.

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“I walk into the locker room after work, and basically, I hear about four rows behind me arguing about music and how it was being played too loud,” Edwards explained. “So, I’m not paying attention, and I was just minding my business.

“The noise escalates, and then you can hear some pushing and shoving, so you know what fighting sounds like, but once I hear a thud, that’s when I got up and turned around.”

FORMER MICHIGAN STANDOUT, CFL CHAMPION CRAIG ROH DEAD AT 33

Officials told WDIV-TV that the 25-year-old male beat the 80-year-old before Edwards entered the situation. 

“I see the guy for what I was thinking was reaching for a phone underneath the victim, grabs the back of the victim’s head by the hair, and he was about to slam it down on the counter,” Edwards said.

“I didn’t know it was that serious. I mean, the victim probably had a serious concussion by nature, but it wasn’t until I talked to the detective, Jacobs down in Farmington, who told me that if I didn’t step in, but at the end of the day that’s what you do.”

The assailant fled the YMCA on foot but was eventually arrested by authorities. ClickOnDetroit says he remains in custody after his arrest.

Edwards, an All-American and 2004 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, still owns the Wolverines receiving yards record with 3,613 over his four-year career. His senior season saw him catch 15 of his 39 career touchdowns and tally 1,391 receiving yards – a career-high.

Edwards was eventually taken third overall by the Cleveland Browns, where he’d play five seasons, racking up 3,697 yards and 28 touchdowns. 

He had one 1,000-yard season in his career, though, coming in 2007 with 1,289 yards, which earned him his only Pro Bowl as well. Edwards went on to play for the New York Jets for three seasons as well as the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks for one year. 

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But no matter the career accolades and highlights, Edwards was quick to be the Good Samaritan in his community, which officials noted him saving the life of another.

Tactical agents kill criminal robbing illegal immigrants crossing into US

Border patrol agents in California shot and killed a bandit who was robbing other migrants as they crossed into the U.S. from Mexico.

Multiple U.S. Customs and Border Protection sources confirmed that a criminal migrant who crossed the border in the San Diego sector was shot and killed by a member of the Border Patrol’s elite Border Patrol Tactical unit, or BORTAC, early Sunday morning.

The incident happened in a remote area where the bandits had been seen crossing into the U.S., robbing migrants and returning to Mexico.

Border Patrol agents responded to “bandit activity” on Sunday morning, when they came across a small group of bandits who were robbing migrants as they were walking to an area where migrants surrender to agents so they can be processed.

‘ARMED BANDITS’ ROB MIGRANTS CROSSING CALIFORNIA BORDER ILLEGALLY

One of the bandits was shot and killed while the others returned to Mexico. None of the Border Patrol agents were harmed during the encounter.

The 26th Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol, Jason Owens, shared images of armed bandits on Feb. 26, 2024, on the social media platform X.

“USBP surveillance technology near Chula Vista, CA captured these images of armed bandits robbing several groups as they attempted to enter the country illegally,” the chief posted. “Yet another example of the dangers these criminals & smugglers pose to the public, the migrants and our agents.”

ICE OFFICIAL RIPS NYC POLICIES SHIELDING POLICE-BEATING MIGRANTS FROM DEPORTATION

Owens posted last week that so far this fiscal year, Border Patrol has apprehended over 890,000 immigrants and has had more than 120,000 known “gotaways.”

He recently revealed that agents have caught nearly 180 illegal immigrants with gang affiliations so far this year. The gangs, including Paisas and MS-13, are involved with murder, extortion, narcotics, weapons/human trafficking and prostitution, Owens wrote on X.

Owens also wrote that in fiscal year 2024, Border Patrol has apprehended more than 6,400 subjects with criminal convictions.

ONLY 288 CHINESE CITIZENS DEPORTED FROM US IN FY 23 DESPITE 24,000 ENCOUNTERS AT BORDER AS INFLUX CONTINUES

It comes as more than 21,000 Chinese citizens have already been apprehended in the Border Patrol’s San Diego Sector alone during the 2024 fiscal year, sparking national security concerns.

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Nearly 7.3 million migrants have illegally crossed the southwest border under President Biden’s watch, a number greater than the population of 36 individual states, a Fox News analysis found.

Fox News Digital’s Michael Dorgan contributed to this report.

‘Wonder Woman’ star Lynda Carter, 72, reveals top beauty tips to aging gracefully

Lynda Carter continues to prove she’s a real-life “Wonder Woman.”

Carter, 72, admitted her approach to obtaining the fountain of youth is as simple as staying away from plastic surgery.

“People still recognize me all the time as Wonder Woman,” she told People magazine. “I don’t know that I’ve changed too dramatically.”

‘WONDER WOMAN’ ACTRESS LYNDA CARTER CHANNELS GRIEF OF LOSING HER ‘GREAT LOVE’ INTO EMOTIONAL NEW SONG

Carter doubled-down on her anti-plastic surgery stance and noted she hasn’t had any facelifts.

“I don’t cut my face, so I probably look just myself, but older,” she said. “And the reason I’ve never had any facial surgery is just because I’m afraid. It’s scary, because we’ve all seen some bad ones.”

‘WONDER WOMAN’ STAR LYNDA CARTER SPEAKS OUT ON HUSBAND ROBERT A. ALTMAN’S DEATH: ‘HE IS THE LOVE OF MY LIFE’

Her secret to appearing camera ready is simple enough, at least for Carter.

“That outcome is spending time in a chair with some really good people doing your hair and makeup,” she said. “Then having somebody dress you, that has got something to do with it.

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Actors and celebrities always look so great when they’re on the red carpet, but when you see them in real life, they just look like a regular person with no makeup and their crummy clothes on. Everybody looks the same when they’re not all dressed up.”

Carter added, “If everyone did a three-hour makeover before they left the house, then they’d all look amazing. What I’m trying to say is, there’s a lot of effort behind those pictures. Don’t think they walk out the door looking like that!”

The former Miss World USA 1972 told Closer Weekly she’s had “a little Botox,” and credits Peloton rides for helping her stay in shape. But when it comes to plastic surgery talk?

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“I’m just too afraid of looking different,” she said. “I don’t think I’m ever going to go under the knife — I am what I am!”

Carter originally starred in “Wonder Woman” from 1975-79. She previously told Closer Weekly her time on the show helped her feel confident, even when cameras stopped rolling.

“‘Wonder Woman’ taught women to be who you are,” said Carter. “I have received the greatest letters from people telling me what an inspiration she was to them because she represents an inner strength every woman has.”

Carter’s fully embracing life as a singer now, and recently released the single “Letters From Earth,” a tribute to her late husband Robert Altman who died from leukemia in 2021. 

“The soul of the song is about how you miss a person so much, because they’re such a presence in your life that it’s almost impossible to imagine that you won’t physically see them again in this life,” she told People.

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Christian college stunned after wrestler allegedly murders teammate before championship

Friends and family of a beloved freshman athlete at a Christian Kentucky college cannot fathom why his wrestling teammate allegedly strangled him in his dorm room just days before their team traveled to Kansas to compete for a national championship.

Josiah Kilman, 18, was found dead in his dorm at Campbellsville University just before 1 a.m. Feb. 24. His death is one of four homicides on college campuses nationwide in a 10-day span.

Student Samuel Knopp, 24, and Celie Rain Montgomery, 26, were murdered in a dorm room at the University of Colorado at Colorado Spring campus Feb. 16. Augusta University nursing student Laken Riley, 22, was killed on Feb. 22 while jogging on a trail on the University of Georgia’s campus in Athens.

“It boggles my mind,” O’Brien Byrd, Kilman’s soccer coach from eighth grade through high school, told Fox News Digital. “I hope to God this isn’t a pattern we’re seeing, but I also think that this could happen to everybody anywhere.”

COLLEGE NATIONWIDE ON EDGE AFTER 4 CAMPUS HOMICIDES IN 10 DAYS

A Campbellsville wrestling teammate who asked not to be identified said Kilman had three roommates in his room in the school’s South East dorm. It’s unclear where they were at the time of his death or how Kilman’s body was discovered. 

The Kentucky State Medical Examiner’s Office determined Kilman’s cause of death to be asphyxia by manual strangulation, the Campbellsville Police Department announced Monday.

Sophomore teammate and engineering major Charles “Zeke” Escalera, 21, faces murder and burglary charges and is being held at Taylor County Detention Center on $2 million bail, according to a criminal complaint obtained by Fox News Digital. 

The Campbellsville Police Department has not released a motive in the shocking homicide.

LAKEN RILEY MURDER EXPOSED GLARING SECURITY LAPSES ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES, NEED FOR EMERGENCY BLUE LIGHTS

Tyler Gilfry, 19, Kilman’s childhood best friend from his hometown in Columbia Falls, Montana, characterized the slain student as thoughtful, humble, gracious and kind. He grappled with what could possibly have pushed the suspect to the “unthinkable” act.

“He wasn’t the dude to start fights, but he was a dude that everybody liked – I can see someone getting jealous over him just being himself,” Gilfry told Fox News Digital about Kilman. “Someone who was struggling with themselves seeing someone so outstanding and outgoing, just a great human being. That’s all I can think of. I can’t see anyone who would want to do that to Josiah.”

Byrd echoed Gilfry’s disbelief.

“Unthinkable. It’s unthinkable. Whatever his involvement was, we don’t know yet. I’m sure we will find out one way or another, but Josiah’s not an instigator of violence at all,” Byrd told Fox News Digital. “He was a peaceful guy, a loving guy and a leader.”

Escalera’s preliminary court hearing is scheduled for next week in Taylor County Circuit Court. Taylor County Attorney John D. Bertram said a public attorney had been appointed for Escalera. 

LAKEN RILEY MURDER: STUDENTS ON UGA CAMPUS, JOGGERS NATIONWIDE SHOCKED AFTER ALLEGED ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT KILLING

Bertram told Fox News Digital the burglary charges stem from Escalera’s arrest rather than the violent incident in the dorm room. 

A farmer on the border of Taylor and Green counties ended an hours-long manhunt for Escalera around 5:15 p.m. after reporting that the wanted man had broken into a barn on his property Saturday evening. 

Escalera allegedly stole food while on the run, local outlet WHAS 11 reported. 

Before Escalera was apprehended, students at the Christian college of 12,000 were ordered to “shelter in place” on lockdown. 

KENTUCKY COLLEGE STUDENT STRANGLED WRESTLER IN DORM ROOM, CHARGED WITH MURDER: POLICE

A member of the school’s wrestling team told Fox News Digital the entire team hunkered down at their coach’s house until word of the arrest. 

“There are petty things that are going to take place at any school, but nothing like this,” Bertram said, saying that the incident was “extremely” atypical for the quiet college town. 

Neither Bertram nor the Campbellsville Police Department released a potential motive for the killing. 

On Monday, college President Joe Hopkins said Kilman was known for his “brilliant smile” and for “boldly shar[ing] Christ and lovingly strengthen[ing] the faith of those around him.” 

Campbellsville’s wrestling team was en route to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ national wrestling championships in Kansas on Tuesday. 

WHO IS NICHOLAS JORDAN? SUSPECTED COLORADO DORM KILLER ‘KNEW VICTIMS’: POLICE

“It’s had a big toll on us for sure,” Kilman’s teammate told Fox News Digital. “Some of us have been through a situation like this before, but at this time in the season it’s definitely taken a toll on us, trying to get our minds right and focus on this tournament. A lot of people would go home and be with their families. But we’re going out there to wrestle for his family.”

The fellow wrestler said the freshman from Montana “always brought a different, good type of energy to our team, no matter if he was hurt or out there wrestling, winning or losing.”

“If there was a fight, he was always trying to resolve it by spreading the gospel and being peaceful in any situation.” 

BROTHER OF COLORADO DORM MURDERS SUSPECT BREAKS SILENCE: ‘AIN’T REAL’

Sarah Cook, Kilman’s cousin, told Fox News Digital the 18-year-old attended Campbellsville on a biblical scholarship with “dreams of leading others to follow the Lord through the Christian principles.”

“Josiah influenced many hearts, and he was a true example of compassion, kindness and love,” Cook said. “His example compelled so many others to make the same changes he wished to see in the world, and his impact on their lives will never truly be forgotten.”

Gilfry told Fox News Digital Kilman practiced Messianic Judaism, wearing a Star of David around his neck and adhering to both Christian and Jewish principles. 

“I remember just going out to eat breakfast, all we’d talk about is religion,” Gilfry recalled. “We’d make fun of him for not eating bacon, and he’d say ‘that’s just who I am.’ That’s all he wanted to do. He was the kind of guy who always questioned you and made you think deeper into everything, always pushed you to be better at what you were doing and encouraged you to try something new.”

Since Kilman’s death, Gilfry said, he has been “protect[ing] himself and the people around [him] a little more,” making sure to lock his doors and that his friends don’t go out alone.

Byrd, a soccer coach at Columbia Falls High School, said he appointed Kilman captain of the school’s team his senior year due to his remarkable grace and maturity. 

In addition to wrestling, soccer, weightlifting and heavy involvement at the Fellowship Alliance Church, Kilman helped teach soccer to young kids at an annual summer camp, Byrd said.

“He was a full-blooded American teenage boy, a rascal like we all are in those years. He liked to pull pranks and tell jokes. He was just like all of his friends in that regard. But he had such great leadership characteristics,” Byrd said Tuesday. 

“He always was able to say the hard things to his buddies. In society today, kids are afraid to speak up and say things that are unpopular. But Josiah never had an issue with that, he would say what they needed to hear,” Byrd added. 

“He always knew when younger eyes were on him. … He knew those little kids were looking up to him, and he wasn’t going to waste that opportunity to make an impression in the right way.”

Kilman left behind two older sisters and an older brother, along with a 6-year-old younger brother Aurelius. 

“Josiah, Jojo as Arelius would call him, was his hero, his absolute hero,” Byrd said. “[The community is] thinking a lot about Aurelius now.” 

Kilman’s parents, Jessica and Joe, have raised over $65,000 on GoFundMe to transport the undergrad’s body home and cover his funeral expenses. Members of the teen’s wrestling team will fly into Montana to join Kilman’s family for a funeral service next week, Byrd said. 

“I’ve talked with his father almost every day,” Byrd said. “He’s in survival mode for his family right now. I can say that there’s been some really hard moments. He’s got a lot of responsibility right now to get Josiah home. He’s got daughters and sons to love on and a wife to comfort and, of course, he he has to maneuver through this himself.”

As his family works to get his body sent back to Montana, Kilman’s car also sits abandoned in a Campbellsville University parking lot. One classmate shared photos of a memorial of flowers and photos on its windshield. 

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Byrd said Kilman is the third youth under 19 to die young in Columbia Falls in the last seven years, but his former team captain’s death is “on a different level” due to the lingering questions left after his “unimaginable” death.