Illegal Immigrant Charged in Nursing Student’s Grisly Murder

( – The illegal immigrant with a criminal record accused of murdering Laken Riley, 22, is alleged to have “disfigured” her skull during the violent attack on February 22nd. Venezuelan national, Jose Antonio Ibarra, is alleged to have murdered the nursing student using blunt force, dragged her to a secluded area in an attempt to conceal his crime, and made an attempt to obstruct a phone call to 911.

Riley is said to have gone for an early morning run around the University of Georgia campus in Athens but was reported not to have returned as usual by her roommate. Campus police found her body left in the woods near a trail on campus at around 1 pm that same day. Jeffrey Clarke, campus police chief, described the attack as opportunistic, adding that Ibarra did not know Riley.

Ibarra, 26, first entered the U.S. illegally in September 2022 by crossing the border near El Paso, Texas. He was paroled and allowed into the US for “further processing” according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), who confirmed that Ibarra was then arrested in New York City the following September and charged with a motor vehicle license violation and with acting in a manner to cause injury to a minor. He was let go before ICE could issue a detainer, although as New York City is a “Sanctuary City”, it can be difficult for law enforcement to carry out such detainers. Ibarra was then arrested in October 2023 in Athens, Georgia, and charged with shoplifting, for which he failed to appear in court.

Ibarra’s brother, Diego Ibarra, has since been charged with possession of a fraudulent green card and is currently being detained in custody after he was approached by police searching for his brother after the attack. An officer saw Diego and thought he matched the suspect’s description. To prove his identity, Diego presented the officer with a fraudulent green card. Diego also has a history of police encounters, with arrests for drunk driving and driving without a license, as well as an arrest for shoplifting on his record. Jose Ibarra was denied bond by a Clarke County Magistrate when he appeared in court on Saturday, February 24th. Police continue to gather evidence and have urged anybody with information to contact them.

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