University of Georgia death: Suspect in custody

ATHENS, Ga. — A woman was found dead on the University of Georgia campus Thursday after a concerned friend contacted police.

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Suspect identified

Update 7:23 p.m. EST Feb. 23: The suspect was identified by the University of Georgia Police Department as Jose Antonio Ibarra, 26, according to WSB-TV.

Ibarra is expected to be charged with malice murder, aggravated battery, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, kidnapping, hindering a 911 call and concealing the death of another, the news outlet reported.

Police said Ibarra is not a United States citizen and is also not a student at the university. Investigators believe it was “a crime of opportunity.” Investigators also believe that Ibarra and Laken Hope Riley did not know each other.

“This is an individual who woke up with bad intentions on that day,” UGA police chief Jeff Clark said, according to WSB-TV.

Person taken into custody, university officials say

Update 5:37 p.m. EST Feb. 23: University of Georgia officials on X, formerly known as Twitter, said that a suspect in connection with the death of Laken Hope Riley was taken into custody by the University of Georgia Police Department.

The suspect’s identity has not been released.

Person of interest identified

Update 1:18 p.m. EST Feb. 23: University of Georgia officials said a person of interest has been named in connection with the death of Laken Hope Riley on the UGA campus Thursday, WSB reported.

The person is being questioned, but their name has not been released.

-- Natalie Dreier, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Woman’s name released

Update 10:35 a.m. EST Feb. 23: The Athens-Clarke County coroner has identified the woman who was found dead on the UGA campus as Laken Hope Riley, 22, WSB reported.

Her cause of death has not been determined and police are still looking for a suspect.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is assisting police on the active investigation.

Woman was UGA undergrad student until spring 2023

Update 7:33 a.m. EST Feb. 23: The woman, whose name has still not been released, has been confirmed by ABC News as a former UGA undergraduate student, attending the university until spring of 2023, WSB reported.

-- Natalie Dreier, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Woman identified as Augusta University nursing student

Update 9:29 p.m. EST Feb. 22: University of Georgia Police Chief Jeff Clark said that the woman was not a student at the University of Georgia, according to WSB-TV. Officials learned that she was a nursing student at Augusta University.

Classes are canceled Friday at both the University of Georgia and Augusta University College of Nursing, the news outlet reported.

“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,” University of Georgia officials said.

“This is a tragic day and I want to offer my most sincerest condolences to the grieving family, friends and campus partners,” Clark said, according to WSB-TV. “We are going to leave no rock unturned during this investigation.” The woman’s name has not yet been released.

Investigators are considering her death a crime. No suspect has been arrested in connection with her death, the news outlet reported.

Original story: The University of Georgia Police Department got a call asking them to do a welfare check on their friend around 12 p.m. Thursday, WSB-TV reported. The caller told officers that her friend went on a run that morning and never returned.

Officers searched the area and by the intramural fields and eventually found a woman’s body near Lake Herrick, according to the news outlet.

It’s unclear if the woman was a student at the university, according to The Associated Press. Her identity has not yet been released.

The university canceled classes for the rest of Thursday and Friday, according to WSB. The university police along with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Athens-Clarke County Police Department are investigating the woman’s death, the AP said.

“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 officials said, according to WSB, Officials at the university are expecting to hold a news conference at 7 p.m. EST, according to the news outlet,m

In the last 24 hours, this woman’s death is the second one on the university’s campus. According to WSB, a student was found dead on Wednesday night. Their identity and cause of death have not yet been released.

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