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Noncitizen charged with murder in connection with death of Georgia college student Laken Riley

Ibarra is not a UGA student and UGA Police Chief Jeffrey L. Clark indicated he likely had no prior connection to her.

Published: February 23, 2024 10:14pm

Updated: March 11, 2024 11:45am

Georgia authorities on Friday announced charges against Jose Antonio Ibarra, a non-U.S. citizen from Venezuela, in connection with the killing this week of a Georgia college student.

The victim, Laken Riley, 22, was found dead Thursday on the University of Georgia campus near Lake Herrick, according to Fox News.

Authorities indicated she showed signs of sustaining blunt-force trauma. A friend who called the police said Riley had gone for a run.

Ibarra is not a UGA student and campus Police Chief Jeffrey L. Clark indicated Ibarra likely had no prior connection to her.

"Right now I don't know his full status. He is not a citizen of the United States," he said.

U.S. immigration records reviewed by Just the News show that Ibarra entered the United States in 2022 and was flagged for illegal entry and removal. A year later he was given parole under the Biden administration’s new policy and provided a work permit, the records show.

Ibarra faces charges including kidnapping, murder, false imprisonment, aggravated battery and assault, hindering a 911 call and concealing a death.

Riley was an undergraduate student at Georgia until the spring of 2023, when she transferred to a nursing program at Augusta University, whose medical campus is in Athens near the UGA campus.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter.

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