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Arrest warrants provide details of UGA murder

By Joe Johnson

Jose Antonio Ibarra detained 22-year-old nursing student Laken Riley on the intramural fields of the University of Georgia at 110 Lake Harrick Drive, stopped his victim from making or completing a 911 call, killed her by "disfiguring her skull" when striking Riley's head with an object, then dragged the student's body to a secluded area.

That is how in arrest warrants UGA police Sgt. Sophie Aboud described the crimes that Ibarra allegedly committed between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Feb. 22. Those crimes include murder, aggravated assault, aggravated battery, obstruction of a 911 call, and concealing the death of another person.

The incident happened when Riley, an avid runner, was using the UGA trails as she reportedly did on many occasions.

Police said that Ibarra, who lived in an apartment complex nearby, did not know Riley and he attacked her in a "crime of opportunity."

Ibarra, 26, is a Venezuelan national who is in the U.S. illegally. He lived at the complex with his brother Diego, who also is an illegal immigrant and had worked at a UGA dining hall.

Evidence that led investigators to identify Jose as the murder suspect includes footage from campus surveillance cameras, according to police.

Riley, originally from Woodstock, had been an undergrad at UGA until the spring of 2023, at which time she enrolled with Augusta University's nursing program, which has classes in Athens.

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