Suspect in the Murder of a Student on the University of Georgia Campus ‘Not a U.S. Citizen’

News & Politics

On Thursday, 22-year-old Laken Hope Riley went out for a jog at Lake Herrick, a recreational area on the campus of the University of Georgia near the school’s intramural fields. When she didn’t return, her friends called the police.

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Around 12:30 p.m., officers found her unconscious with obvious injuries in the woods behind the intramural fields. They pronounced her dead at the scene. Her death led UGA to cancel classes until Monday; it was the second on-campus death in as many days, following another student found dead in a dorm on Wednesday.

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Both deaths rocked the campus, but Riley’s death was particularly alarming because authorities suspected foul play. Riley was not a student at UGA, but she was studying nursing at Augusta University, which has a campus in Athens and has an agreement with UGA allowing its students to participate in activities at UGA.

According to News Nation, Riley had been a student at UGA until she transferred to Augusta’s nursing program, where she was a junior and a Dean’s List student.

“Anytime a life is lost, it’s difficult, but you can rest assured that the University of Georgia police in cooperation, as you can all see, with Athens Clarke County police and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation are continuing to work around the clock to resolve this crime and to bring anyone involved with it to justice,” a UGA spokesman told reporters on Friday.

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By Friday, police had a person of interest they were looking for. After descending on an apartment complex on S. Milledge Avenue, south of campus, officers arrested a suspect.

“Police have since confirmed the arrest of 26-year-old Jose Antonio Ibarra, who is expected to be charged with malice murder, felony murder, aggravated battery, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, kidnapping, hindering a 911 call, and concealing the death of another,” reported WGAU. Police believe that there is no other threat to students, faculty, or guests on campus.

UGA police report that Ibarra is not a student at the university, and he is not a U.S. citizen. Authorities said that the suspect and the victim did not know each other; rather police are calling the incident a “crime of opportunity.”

“This is an individual who woke up with bad intentions on that day,” UGA police chief Jeff Clark told reporters. Clark stressed that this is the first homicide on UGA’s campus in over 30 years.

Ali Bradley, a border correspondent for NewsNation, reported more information that should be shocking, but it isn’t.

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I will say that Bradley is the only one reporting this information so far. I’m not saying she’s wrong, but we don’t have any corroboration yet.

“Ibarra is not a U.S. citizen, but his status in the country could not be immediately verified,” reports Fox 5 Atlanta. “Investigators believe he came from Venezuela but were not completely sure.”

If Ibarra is an illegal immigrant, this incident is further proof that our border crisis is beyond out of control, and the Biden administration and anyone else responsible must be held accountable.

This is a developing story, and we’ll have more information as it becomes available. One thing is for sure: the University of Georgia family needs your prayers.

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