Home » Suspect in Murder of Nursing Student at University of Georgia Did Not Know Her, Cops Say

Suspect in Murder of Nursing Student at University of Georgia Did Not Know Her, Cops Say

A 26-year-old man has been arrested for the murder of a nursing student who was found slain on the University of Georgia campus on Thursday, authorities say.

Jose Antonio Ibarra was taken into police custody on Friday in connection with the murder of 22-year-old Laken Hope Riley, according to University of Georgia Police. UGA Police Chief Jeffrey L. Clark announced at a Friday evening press conference that Riley and Ibarra did not know each other, and the murder was instead thought to be “a crime of opportunity.”

Clark said police were able to determine that Ibarra was a suspect based on “robust” evidence, including security camera footage from the university. Ibarra does not attend the University of Georgia, but resides in an apartment in Athens, Clark said.

“At this time, the search warrant is taking place at the apartment right now as we speak, that evidence is not known,” Clark said. “I will say, we didn’t need the evidence inside of the apartment to convict Mr. Ibarra.”

According to police, Ibarra is not a U.S. citizen, but they did not know his immigration status.

On Thursday, Riley was found with “visible injuries” near an athletic field at UGA. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Chief Clark said the cause of death was blunt force trauma.

Riley had previously attended UGA before pursuing a nursing degree at Augusta University College of Nursing. Her body was identified on Friday by the Athens-Clarke County coroner.

Earlier on Friday, UGA Spokesperson Grant Trevor said university police had identified a person of interest who was one of the three they brought in for questioning.


February 2024