Freed suspect previously detained in Georgia nursing student case now accused of disfiguring victim’s skull

(Booking photo of Jose Antonio Ibarra, photo via CLARKE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE)
(Booking photo of Jose Antonio Ibarra, photo via CLARKE COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE)

OAN’s Abril Elfi
12:24 PM – Tuesday, February 27, 2024

New details regarding the murder of a female nursing student at the University of Georgia has emerged, including court documents that state the victim’s skull was “disfigured.”


According to an affidavit released, murder suspect Jose Ibarra is accused of using an object or weapon to assault Laken Riley, 22, causing blunt force trauma and “disfiguring her skull.”

He is also facing allegations of “dragging Riley to a secluded area” which was filed to support the charge of concealing the death of another person.

Riley’s death was attributed to blunt force trauma, however, the manner of death has not yet been disclosed by authorities. The arrest affidavits do not go into further detail regarding what kind of object was used.

Ibarra was detained by border patrol in September 2022 after entering the nation illegally from Venezuela, according to information released by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Monday.

They also stated that he was “set free while his case was investigated.” According to ICE, he was detained once more in August 2023 in New York, where he was accused of violating his driver’s license and acting in a way that could cause harm to a child under the age of 17.

It is reported that before ICE could place him under arrest, he was freed by New York authorities.

The results of the investigation, according to University of Georgia Police Department Chief of Police Jeffrey Clarke, purportedly show that the suspect and victim “had no relationship.”

“He did not know her at all,” said Clarke. “I think this was a crime of opportunity where he saw an individual and bad things happened.”

Riley, a nursing student at the Augusta University College of Nursing, was reported missing on Thursday by her roommate after she failed to return home after a run, which was untypical of her. Soon after, officials extensively searched for the missing student and later found her “not breathing,” with “visible injuries” in a forested area near Lake Herrick.

She was pronounced dead at the scene.

The White House has expressed their condolences to the victim’s family and referred all questions about the case to law enforcement and ICE.

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