Laken Riley murder: White House says ‘people should be held accountable’ - Hindustan Times
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White House breaks silence after Laken Riley's murder: ‘People should be held accountable to the fullest’

BySumanti Sen
Feb 27, 2024 11:29 AM IST

Laken Riley, a nursing student at Augusta University, was found dead near a lake on the University of Georgia’s campus in Athens

The White House shared a statement on the murder of Laken Riley on Monday, January 26. Riley, a nursing student at Augusta University, was found dead near a lake on the University of Georgia’s campus in Athens. She died from "blunt force trauma," according to official police reports.

The murder of Georgia nursing student Laken Hope Riley, 22, has sent shockwaves across the US (GoFundMe)
The murder of Georgia nursing student Laken Hope Riley, 22, has sent shockwaves across the US (GoFundMe)

"We would like to extend our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of Laken Hope Riley," a White House spokesperson told Fox News Digital. "People should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law if they are found to be guilty. Given this is an active case, we would have to refer you to state law enforcement and ICE."

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Riley was found to have “visible injuries,” according to UGA Police Chief Jeff Clark. Her body was found after a friend reported that she did not return after going for a run. 

Police later arrested 26-year-old Jose Antonio Ibarra, an illegal immigrant. Ibarra was taken into custody on Friday, February 23, and charged with malice and felony murder, aggravated battery, kidnapping, concealing the death of another and other charges. Police said the incident was a “crime of opportunity.” According to Clark, Ibarra does not have an “extensive” criminal history. 

The loop Riley went to run is easily accessible from behind Ibarra’s apartment complex. The scene where Riley was found dead is about a five-minute walk from Ibarra’s door.

What did UGA say?

UGA said in a news release "there is no higher priority for [the] campus than the safety and security of all who live and work here." "We have put in place comprehensive measures to protect our 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 app," the school said according to Fox News. 

"But we are committed to doing even more. Earlier this week, we approved an additional phase of lighting improvements and security camera installations, and we will continue to evaluate our safety programs for further enhancements. This is an ongoing and exhaustive effort," it added.

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