College student from Boyle County slain

June 08, 2004|TODD KLEFFMAN

The life of a Boyle County High School graduate came to a violent end over the weekend when the body of Jesse James Valencia was found Saturday near his residence in Columbia, Mo., where he was attending college.

Police were called to a yard near the University of Missouri campus on Saturday, where Valencia's body had been found by a fellow student. His throat had been cut, according to a report in the Columbia Daily Tribune.

Valencia, 23, graduated from Boyle County in 1999 and had been at the University of Missouri, where he was a junior majoring in history since 2002, said Mike Wells, a reporter with the Daily Tribune. Obituary information, available on page A2 today, indicates he was studying pre-law and journalism.

Suzanne Randolph, a former guidance counselor at Boyle County High School, recalled Valencia as an outspoken student who was active in causes and issues that he cared about.


"He was an intelligent young man, a very creative, very innovative guy," said Randolph, who retired in 1999. "There was always a lot of drama around Jesse. He would take an unpopular view and just go with it. He wasn't going to be in the mainstream and it didn't bother him a bit to be out of step with his peers."

Columbia police could not be reached for comment this morning but an earlier press release stated they were investigating Valencia's death as a homicide and asking for the public's help in the case. Police are looking for anyone who might have seen Valencia after 3:30 a.m. Saturday, the last time he was seen alive.

Wells said Valencia had attended a party that night in his East Campus neighborhood, an off-campus section of populated mostly by students. The university has more than 20,000 students and the city has a population of 84,000, Wells said.

Valencia's body was found about a block from his basement apartment, Wells said. A neighbor, Paul Kepner, told Wells that he heard loud noises coming from Valencia's apartment between 3:30 and 4 a.m. Saturday and a slurred voice saying, "Stop it" and "No."

Police have released no information about a suspect or motive in the slaying.

Central Kentucky News Articles