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Suspect in custody for UGA campus murder 

The University of Georgia held a press conference at 7 p.m. to announce the arrest of Jose Antonio Ibarra for the murder of 22-year-old Laken Riley who was found dead in the area behind Lake Herrick at the UGA Intramural Fields Thursday afternoon, Feb. 22.

The University of Georgia Police Department Chief Jeff Clark said Ibarra is a 26-year-old who lived in an apartment on South Milledge Avenue in Athens-Clarke County but is not a resident nor United States citizen.

Riley’s cause of death was blunt force trauma and Clark said it was a crime of opportunity.

Clark said Ibarra was charged with malice murder, felony murder, aggravated battery, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, kidnapping, hindering a 911 call and concealing the death of another.

“In recent checks of his criminal history, he does not have an extensive criminal history as far as in violence so I cannot say…he has done this multiple times,” Clark said.

A search warrant was served at Ibarra’s apartment on South Milledge Avenue and they have continued to collect evidence, Clark said.

“The evidence is robust. It is supported by key input from the community, physical evidence and expert police work. Importantly, we were assisted by video footage from our campus security cameras networks, which [have] proven vital in many cases,” Clark said.

Evidence collected thus far is unknown but was not needed to charge Ibarra, Clark said.

Clark said Ibarra’s immigration documentation status is unknown and he may be from Venezuela.

UGAPD made the arrest in conjunction with federal agencies, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Athens-Clarke County Police Department.

Clark said three or four people were taken into custody but evidence suggests Ibarra acted alone and will be the only one arrested.

Ibarra will be transported to the Athens-Clarke County Jail.

Clark urged the community to continue to call UGAPD at 706-542-2200 with pertinent information.

“There are no indications of a continuing threat to the community related to this case at this time,” Clark said.







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