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Athens man charged with murder of student on UGA campus

Murder victim Laken Riley

By Joe Johnson

An Athens man was arrested Friday in connection with the death of a woman whose body was discovered the day before in a wooded area of the University of Georgia campus.

Jose Ibarra

Jose Antonio Ibarra, 26, was taken into custody Friday afternoon at an apartment complex not far from where the body of 22-year-old Laken Riley was found, dead from blunt force trauma to the head.

Riley had gone running Thursday morning, and UGA police said they received a call just after noon from a person who was concerned that Riley had not returned.

About 20 minutes later, police said, officers found the student's body in a wooded area behind Lake Herrick near the intramural field. Riley had lived in a nearby neighborhood.

At a Friday evening press conference, UGA Police Chief Jeff Clark said there was no evidence that Ibarra knew Riley, and he described the attack on the student a crime of opportunity.

Evidence that led investigators to Ibarra as a suspect included footage from campus surveillance cameras, according to Clark.

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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This is such a tragic story. It’s terrible women can’t live their lives without being the target of crimes.

The other tragedy of this story is using the suspect’s citizenship status to paint all immigrants negatively. Misogyny and violence happen in every race, ethnicity and across every border. The suspect isn’t evil because of his immigration status, he’s evil because of his actions. This kind of stereotyping will only create more hate for brown people, who actually commit the least amount of crimes in this country.

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No you made that one up all by yourself


Not a us citizen

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I am not your buddy and you are the one who wants to make this about race


DA Gonzalez better NOT drop the ball on this. Death penalty is needed, but Clarke County is very weak on pursing such. Clarke County voters put her in office !!! Of course this goes further back in history when Buddy Christian's killer didn't get the death penalty......absolutely disgusted with the Clarke County prosecutor's office !!!

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BINGO!!! You NAILED IT! Well done!! That's EXACTLY what she's doing! Alleged success by manipulating the statistics! Very simple and we see RIGHT THROUGH HER!

"Don't prosecute the cases OR plea down a murder charge to littering" and when it's all entered in the books, it's made to look like crime is lowered.

Case in point...if ACCPD stopped arresting drunk drivers and simply sent them on their way, then after a year the ACCPD could boast that drunk driving has been eliminated in Athens! Oldest trick in the book


Good work police.

Sorry POS needs a lethal injection to wipe that stupid grin off his face.

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