A man has been arrested in connection with the death of a 22-year-old nursing student.

Laken Riley’s body was found on the intramural fields of the University of Georgia around noon Thursday. Authorities said the body was found after one of her friends called 911 to report that she had not returned home after running.

During a press conference Friday, Chief Jeff Clark announced that 26-year-old Jose Antonio Ibarra of Venezuela was identified as a suspect in the crime. Although the motive remains unclear, Clark said campus security cameras helped investigators identify Ibarra as Riley’s killer.

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“He didn’t know her at all. “I think it was a crime of opportunity,” Clark said.

According to authorities, Ibarra moved to Athens from Venezuela. Clark confirmed that he is not a US citizen and does not know when Ibarra arrived in Athens.

“He didn’t attend school at the University of Georgia,” Clark said. “This was an individual who woke up with bad intentions that day.”

Clark added that Riley and Ibarra did not know each other.

On Saturday, Ibarra was denied bail.


According to an incident report, an officer found her in the woods, beaten to death 30 minutes later, when they believe the murder occurred.

Twenty-four hours later, federal, state and city investigators were searching an apartment in a complex less than two miles from the crime scene, where Ibarra was eventually arrested.

“The evidence suggests it was a solo act,” Clark said. “We arrested three or four people. However, we are only going to arrest one.”

Authorities have not said who the other two individuals who were detained are.

Ibarra faces charges of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, kidnapping, hindering a 911 call and concealing the death of another person.

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By Sam