Suspect In UGA Student’s Death Identified As Non-Citizen

Critics of President Joe Biden’s immigration policies have long argued that the nation’s porous southern border essentially served as an invitation for migrants — at least some of whom were intent on committing violent crime.

A deadly incident on the campus of the University of Georgia has only bolstered those concerns.

According to reports, nursing student Laken Hope Riley, 22, was found dead on Thursday after her roommate expressed concerns about her safety. Authorities conducted a search of the area, including a forested section near Lake Herrick where her body was found with “visible injuries.”

The following day, investigators identified a suspect, 26-year-old Jose Antonio Ibarra, who is not a U.S. citizen and had no known connection to the victim. 

A statement from university police indicated that “there are no indications of a continuing threat to the UGA campus related to this matter,” though classes were canceled through the following Monday. 

Ibarra is expected to face a litany of criminal charges, including malice murder, felony murder, aggravated battery, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, kidnapping, hindering a 911 call and concealing a death. Many pundits reacted to the news by noting that the crime might have been prevented if the nation’s immigration laws were being enforced. 

The suspect’s brother, 29-year-old Diego Ibarra, has also been arrested. The undocumented migrant allegedly committed immigration fraud in order to obtain a job at the same university where Riley’s body was found. 

“Dieog Ibarra presented a fake green card to the hiring unit to begin a temporary position as a dishwasher in Bolton Dining Hall at the University of Georgia on Feb. 6, 2024,” UGA spokesperson Greg Trevor explained. “He subsequently failed to submit further documentation required to keep the job and was never paid by the University. He has been fired.”

The investigation into Riley’s death remained ongoing as of the latest updates available.

Trevor sought to calm tensions on campus, telling students, staff and locals: “Rest assured that the University of Georgia police in cooperation with Athens-Clarke County police and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation are continuing to work around the clock to resolve this crime and to bring anyone involved into justice.”

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