“She Will Be Missed Every Day”: Laken Riley’s Family Speaks Out After Her Murder

The family of the Augusta University nursing student who was murdered on the University of Georgia campus in Athens, GA, Laken Riley, has released a statement on her death after her tragic murder. The suspect in the case is a 26-year-old illegal immigrant is Jose Antonio Ibarra, 26. Ibarra, originally from Venezuela, crossed into the United States in the El Paso, Texas, area in 2022.

In the statement, the family thanked the local law enforcement personnel for the prompt efforts to find and arrest Ms. Riley’s suspected killer. Ibarra’s quick arrest came despite the fact that Athens is a sanctuary city like New York City, where Ibarra was arrested and released in the fall of 2023.

Beginning the statement, the family said, “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.”

Continuing, the statement emphasized Ms. Riley’s “love for the Lord” and said she will be missed dearly by the family. It provided, “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 then asked for privacy as it tries to make its way through this difficult time, saying, “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.”

Speaking to students on Saturday, February 24, UGA President Jere W. Morehead commented on the safety of the campus and how it could be improved, including via existing initiatives. Speaking on that, Morehead said, “The safety and security of this campus is always center in my mind and center in all of the leadership on this campus.”

Continuing, President Morehead said, “In fact, earlier this week, we had just approved the launch of some new initiatives related to more lighting, more cameras on this campus. We have got to do the best we can to protect the individuals on this campus, and I remain committed to that effort.”

UGA News, describing the safety precautions put in place to protect students, said, “UGA has put in place comprehensive measures to protect students, faculty, staff, and guests—including $16 million invested over the last eight years to hire more police officers, install more security cameras, enhance lighting, establish a nightly rideshare program, and create a UGASafe mobile application. Morehead said he will be meeting with campus police again this week to learn if they have any other recommendations for implementation in this exhaustive, ongoing effort.”

Ibarra was arrested when he crossed the border in 2022, though he was soon released into the interior of the United States on parole. He then eventually made his way to New York City, where he was arrested and released in 2023. He then made his way to Athens, where he is suspected of having killed Ms. Riley while she jogged. Further, just days after Ibarra crossed into the United States, September 8, 2022, is when Kamala Harris went on NBC’s Meet the Press to say the border was “secure.” Watch that here:






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