Laken Riley: Georgia Nursing Student Was Brutally Beaten to Death with Mystery Object by Illegal Migrant and Suffered Disfigured Skull

The suspect is facing eight charges, including felony murder, false imprisonment, kidnapping, and concealing the death of another.

The Venezuelan migrant charged with the murder of Laken Riley reportedly beat her so brutally it severely disfigured her skull, according to new affidavits. Jose Ibarra, 26, allegedly used a mystery object as a weapon in the killing of the 22-year-old Augusta University student. It remains unclear whether police have located the murder weapon.

Ibarra, who is charged with multiple counts of murder and assault, is believed to have not known Riley when he kidnapped and killed her after Riley went for a run on the University of Georgia campus on Thursday. Police have given an exact cause of death but only that it was caused by blunt force trauma.

Killed Mercilessly

Laken Riley
Laken Riley X

According to the arrest affidavit reviewed by CBS News, police say that Ibarra dragged Riley's body to a secluded area in an attempt to conceal the death. Ibarra is charged with "seriously disfiguring Riley's body by disfiguring her skull" and is also accused of obstructing Riley from making a 911 call when he allegedly grabbed her between 9 am and 1 pm on Thursday.

The suspect is facing eight charges, including felony murder, false imprisonment, kidnapping, and concealing the death of another.

Jose Ibarra
Jose Ibarra X

Authorities have indicated that there is no evidence suggesting Ibarra knew Riley. However, the affidavits filed in Athens-Clarke County Superior Court did not provide additional details about the specific object used or the exact method of her death.

In the latest development, Athens-Clarke County DA Deborah Gonzalez revealed on Monday that she is appointing a special prosecutor for the case, WANF-TV reported.

Gonzalez has chosen attorney Sheila Ross, whom she described as "a knowledgeable and well-respected trial attorney with the expertise ready to bring justice on behalf of Laken Riley."

Last year, Ibarra managed to evade police twice and faced potential deportation after an arrest in New York City.

Long Rap Sheet

On August 31, Ibarra was arrested in Queens and charged with endangering a child. However, he was released before immigration officials could submit a request to local law enforcement to detain him, as authorities revealed on Monday.

Laken Riley
Laken Riley Facebook

Ibarra also was wanted on an arrest warrant in Georgia for failing to appear in court for a shoplifting case in December, according to US Rep. Houston Gaines (R-Ga.).

"ICE confirmed what we already know: Jose Ibarra was in the country illegally," Gaines posted on X Monday.

"What the media hasn't reported was that he was cited in Athens for shoplifting in Oct. — & there was a bench warrant for his arrest for failing to show in court."

Laken Riley
Laken Riley Facebook

Ibarra illegally entered the US in El Paso, Texas, on September 8, 2022, with his wife and her son, seeking asylum. He was subsequently released "for further processing," as confirmed by ICE.

Later, he relocated to New York City, where he was employed in food delivery and at an undisclosed restaurant.

On August 31, NYPD officers reportedly saw Ibarra riding a scooter with his 5-year-old stepson on board, and the child was not wearing a helmet or restraints, according to police accounts.

Laken Riley
Laken Riley Facebook

Ibarra faced a felony charge but was released. Later, on October 27, he was arrested at a Walmart in Athens, Georgia, on a shoplifting charge, as indicated by an arrest report. However, he missed a court appearance, leading to a warrant being issued on December 20, according to Gaines.