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Family of Laken Riley speaks out after death


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The family of Laken Riley, the Augusta University nursing student who was found dead on the campus of University of Georgia, is speaking out following her tragic murder.

The statement, which was released by a family friend, thanked Georgia law enforcement for their “quick response and diligent effort” in finding their 22-year-old daughter’s killer.

“We wish to thank the public for their prayers and thoughts during this tragic time. We thank the University of GA Police Department, Athens-Clarke County Police Department, the Clarke County District Attorney’s Office, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for their quick response, and diligent effort in the investigation and arrest of those individual(s) responsible for our daughter’s death,” the statement said.

LAKEN RILEY MURDER SUSPECT’S BROTHER FIRED FROM UGA DINING HALL JOB AFTER PRESENTING FAKE GREEN CARD

Laken Riley in a medical coat in a grassy field

Laken Riley poses for a photo posted to Facebook. Riley, a nursing student at the University of Georgia, was found dead near a lake on campus on Thursday, February 22, 2024. (Allyson Phillips/Facebook)

“Laken was an amazing daughter, sister, friend and overall person in general. Her love for the Lord was exemplified in every aspect of her life. She will be missed every day, but we promise to honor her life moving forward in a very big way,” the family’s statement said.

Laken was an amazing daughter, sister, friend and overall person in general.

— Statement by Laken Riley’s family

The family also asked that people respect their privacy.

A memorial for Laken Riley is seen along Lake Herrick on the University of Georgia’s campus

A memorial for Laken Riley is seen along Lake Herrick on the University of Georgia’s campus in Athens, Georgia on Saturday, February 24, 2024. Riley, a 22 year old nursing student, was found dead on a nearby trail earlier this week. (Mark Sims for Fox News Digital)

GEORGIA GOV. BRIAN KEMP DEMANDS ANSWERS FROM BIDEN ON RILEY SUSPECTED KILLER’S IMMIGRATION STATUS

“During this most difficult time, we ask that you respect our privacy, and provide us the time and space necessary to grieve our daughter’s life that was tragically cut short,” the statement said.

Laken Riley smiles for a photo while running

Laken Riley smiles for a photo while running. Riley, a nursing student at the University of Georgia, was found dead near a lake on campus on Thursday, February 22, 2024. (Laken Riley/Instagram)

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The University of Georgia police department found Riley deceased with “visible injuries” in a forested area behind Lake Herrick at 12:07 p.m. on Thursday after a friend called authorities to report that she left for a run Thursday morning and never returned.

Despite a sergeant arriving on the scene with a defibrillator minutes later and attempting to revive the victim, Riley was pronounced dead.

Autopsy results remained pending until “at least” Monday, authorities said.

Jose Antonio Ibarra Mugshot

Jose Ibarra, who was originally taken into custody on Friday by the UGA Police Department in connection with Riley’s death, is now not believed to have had a connection to the victim. (Clarke County Sheriff’s Office)

On Friday, 26-year-old Jose Antonio Ibarra, was charged with murder.

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Ibarra is a Venezuelan national who crossed illegally into El Paso, Texas, in September 2022 and was released into the U.S. via parole, three ICE & DHS sources told Fox News. 

Fox News’ Audrey Conklin and Michael Ruiz contributed to this report.



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