Police Arrest Illegal Immigrant For Murdering Nursing Student

The University of Georgia (UGA) Police Department has taken a suspect into custody for the murder of a nursing student at the school, the department announced on Friday.

UGA police announced that authorities are charging Jose Antonio Ibarra, 26, with malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, aggravated battery, kidnapping, false imprisonment, hindering a 911 call and concealing a death — all connected to the murder of Laken Hope Riley, 22, a nursing student at the Augusta University College of Nursing.

Riley’s roommate reported the nursing student missing on Thursday when she did not return home after going for a jog outside near their house, which was unlike her. Soon after, authorities began searching extensively for her until they found the missing student in a forested area by Lake Herrick, not breathing and with visible injuries. Authorities pronounced Riley dead at the scene.

News of Riley’s death outraged users on X, formerly Twitter. One popular user with over a million followers wrote, “She is a nursing student at UGA and an active member of her Church. She loves helping others and is excited for a career in the medical field! Or at least she was… Yesterday an illegal alien from Venezuela murdered her in cold blood and left her body in the woods.”

Meanwhile, police apprehended Ibarra in connection with the deadly crime.

“A suspect in the murder of Laken Riley has been taken into custody by the University of Georgia Police Department. At this time, there are no indications of a continuing threat to the UGA campus related to this matter,” the UGA police said in a statement.

Police say they think the 26-year-old — who lives in Athens, Georgia, but is an illegal immigrant from Venezuela — “most likely did not know his victim.”

On Friday morning, before authorities released Ibarra’s identity to the public, police arrested three individuals at an apartment complex near the crime scene. It is unclear if Ibarra was one of the three people police arrested. The university canceled all classes until Monday to address growing fears and tensions after the crime.