Who Is Jose Ibarra? Man Who Killed Georgia Nursing Student Laken Riley Identified as 'Illegal Alien' and the Victim Didn't Know Him

Riley was reported missing by a friend after she went for a run in the Intramural Fields on UGA's East Campus, according to the police.

A 26-year-old man has been charged with the murder of nursing student Laken Riley whose body was found on the University of Georgia campus after she went for a run. Jose Antonio Ibarra was arrested on Friday for allegedly kidnapping and killing Riley, a 22-year-old Augusta University junior, UGA Police Chief Jeffrey Clark said on Friday.

Clark said Ibarra was not a UGA student and not a U.S. citizen. There was no prior relationship between Ibarra and Riley and they didn't know each other. "He did not know her at all. I think this is a crime of opportunity where he saw an individual and bad things happened," Clark said.

Gruesome Murder, Motive Unclear

Laken Riley
Laken Riley X

Riley, a sorority member and student on the dean's list, was found dead around 12:38 p.m. on Thursday in a forested area close to Lake Herrick with "visible injuries." Clark said on Friday that the cause of her death was "blunt force trauma."

According to police, Ibarra is a migrant and doesn't hold a US citizenship. While Clark was speaking, police were searching Ibarra's Athens apartment. However, prior to the search warrant being carried out, he said that there was sufficient evidence for charges against him.

Laken Riley
Laken Riley Facebook

"The evidence is robust. It is supported by key input by the community, physical evidence and expert police work. Importantly, we were assisted by video footage from our campus security cameras network," Clark said.

At least three or four people of interest have been questioned but only Ibaira has been charged. Clark said there's "No indication of a continuing threat to the community related to the case at this time."

Ibara is charged with kidnapping, obstructing a 911 call, felony murder, aggravated assault, aggravated violence, false imprisonment, malicious murder, and concealing the death of another.

Mystery Continues after Arrest

According to Clark, it is unclear where Ibarra is from or what his legal status is in the nation. Riley was reported missing by a friend after she went for a run in the Intramural Fields on UGA's East Campus, according to the police.

Laken Riley
Laken Riley Facebook

Following the spring 2023 semester, Riley transferred from the nearby University of Georgia to Augusta University's nursing department, a spokesman for the university, Greg Trevor, informed The Red & Black, the student newspaper.

"She was still active in her sorority [Alpha Chi Omega at UGA]. She was active in the community and well known and from all accounts very well-liked," Trevor said.

The horrifying death was the second in just 24 hours on the campus of UGA.

Laken Riley
Laken Riley Facebook

On Wednesday, a second student was found dead in a dorm room. Authorities said that this death is unrelated to Riley's death but provided no other information.

On Friday, classes were canceled at Augusta University College of Nursing and at UGA. Students should "travel in groups" and retain an open mind, Clark advised.