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UGA murder victim identified as nursing student

By Joe Johnson

The body of a woman found dead Thursday on the University of Georgia campus has been identified as 22-year-old Laken Hope Riley.

Riley was an Augusta University College of Nursing student at its campus in Athens.

The official cause of death is pending an autopsy today, said Athens-Clarke County Coroner Sonny Wilson.

The 22-year-old student from Woodstock had been an undergraduate student at UGA until the spring of 2023 and then enrolled with AU 's nursing program, which has classes on UGA's Health Sciences Campus in Athens.

Riley apparently was fatally bludgeoned, as law enforcement sources said visible injuries to the victim's body were caused by blunt force trauma.

UGA police said they received a call just after noon from a person who was concerned for their friend because they had not returned from a run at the UGA intramural fields.

About 20 minutes later, police said, officers found the woman's body in a wooded area behind Lake Herrick.

UGA said in a notice to students that the woman's death was the apparent result of a crime.

"We have been fully briefed on this terrible situation. Foul play is suspected, and we are already receiving support from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Athens-Clarke County Police Department to investigate this crime," UGA said in its notice.

Police asked for anyone with information about the incident to call the UGA Police Department at 706-542-2200.

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1 Comment

So sad. My condolences to her family and friends.

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