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Ibarra seen disposing of bloody clothing after Laken Riley murder

Updated: Apr 3

Jose Antonio Ibarra

By Joe Johnson

With a suspect in custody and charged with the murder of nursing student Laken Riley, University of Georgia Police Chief Jeff Clark told the public that Jose Antonio Ibarra had been arrested on the strength of "robust" evidence.

Key among that evidence was a bloody jacket that was discovered in a dumpster at the apartment complex where Ibarra lived, Classic City News has learned.

Additionally, authorities located video footage they say shows Ibarra emerging from a wooded area near to where the 22-year-old victim's body was found and disposing of the jacket in the dumpster. He also had scratches on his arms that were consistent with his being involved in a fight .

Investigators look through a dumpster in which a bloody jacket was found

In a news conference to announce Ibarra's arrest, the UGA police chief said the break in the case was the result "expert" police work, which members of the Athens-Clarke County Police Department took to be a nod toward their colleague, Senior Police Officer Zach Davis.

Path behind the apartment complex where Jose Ibarra lived

Davis' instincts and initiative is what led to the suspect being arrested less than 24 hours after Riley's body was found.

Events began to unfold at around noon on Feb. 22 when a concerned friend called UGA police to report that Riley hadn't returned from her morning run at the university's intramural fields.

Officers searched the area and located the 22-year-old student's lifeless body along a running trail by Lake Herrick, in the Oconee Forest Park area of the UGA campus.

Riley had been fatally bludgeoned, and the partial removal of clothing suggested that sexual assault had been the killer's motive.

While authorities scrambled for clues, officers from the Athens-Clarke County Police Department assisted by following up on an incident that occurred earlier in the day.

According to reports, UGA officers had responded to a 7:57 a.m. call from a resident of the University Village family housing complex on Rogers Road who reported that a man was behaving suspiciously and possibly looking to break into an apartment.

Though officers were unable to locate the man, they viewed footage from the campus surveillance camera system that showed the man heading toward the area where Riley's body would later be found, making him a person of interest in the murder investigation.

A major break came less than 10 hours into the investigation.

Officers from the ACCPD had been assisting by looking for evidence up and down South Milledge Avenue, including at University Village, when SPO Davis decided to look around at a neighboring property, Argo Apartments on Milledge. When rooting around a dumpster there, Davis retrieved a jacket that had blood on it.

After sunrise the next day, an officer observed Diego Ibarra peering from out of an apartment, apparently to check out the police activity, at

which time he was detained because he resembled the man who threw the jacket into the dumpster.

Police detained Diego in order to question him, at which time they learned he had a brother with whom he lived.

Investigators then turned their attention to the brother, Jose Ibarra, who they saw had scratches on his arms as though he had been injured in a fight.

Jose Ibarra is taken into custody at Argo Apartments

He was taken into custody for questioning, and several hours later the UGA police chief announced at a nationally televised press conference that Jose Ibarra had been charged with the murder of Laken Riley.




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3 Comments


Seen disposing of bloody clothes?!!


Ah HAH!!!


THERE'S the loophole and angle our DA is looking for to plead this case down to a littering conviction!!

Gonzales's job just got WHOLE lot easier!!

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Now we will spend how much of our tax money conducting a trial, endless appeals, and decades of prison time?

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I agree. This seems to be excellent police work. Thank you, thank you!

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