Murdered Nursing Student’s Family Breaks Silence as Suspect’s Brother Is Busted for Fake Green Card: ‘This Isn’t Fair’

Murdered Nursing Student’s Family Breaks Silence as Suspect’s Brother Is Busted for Fake Green Card: ‘This Isn’t Fair’

CORRECTION, Feb. 26, 2024: Although Jose Ibarra has been charged with the murder of Laken Riley, he is presumed innocent until convicted of the crime. An earlier version of this article suggested otherwise.

There is nothing worse in life than the loss of a child.

But the parents of 22-year-old Laken Hope Riley, whose body was found on the University of Georgia campus Thursday morning, now have to live with the fact that her death was caused by a man who shouldn’t have been in this country in the first place, according to police.

Jose Antonio Ibarra, 26, who was arrested and charged with the murder of Riley at Augusta University, was an illegal immigrant who reportedly had a prior arrest.

Ibarra was taken into custody on Friday night at an Athens apartment complex just south of the wooded area where Riley’s body was discovered.

According to Clarke County Chief Jeff Clarke, Ibarra is facing charges of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated battery, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, kidnapping, hindering a 911 call and concealing the death of another, according to WPMI-TV.

Riley’s sister, Lauren Phillips, posted a pain-filled tribute to Riley, calling her “the best sister and my built-in best friend from the very first second.”

“This isn’t fair and I will never understand it but I know you are in heaven with the man you loved most right now,” she wrote.

“I’m not sure how I’m going to do this but it’s all going to be for you from now on. I cannot wait to give you the biggest hug someday. I will miss and love you forever Laken,” she added, according to WPMI.

Riley is assumed to have been killed by blunt force trauma during a run on campus on the morning she disappeared.

There has not been a homicide on the University of Georgia campus in over 20 years.

UGA Police Chief Jeffrey Clark said that Riley and Ibarra did not know each other, describing the murder as “a crime of opportunity where he saw an individual and bad things happened,” according to the New York Post.

Authorities believe Ibarra, an immigrant from Mexico who crossed into El Paso illegally in 2022, acted alone and that Riley’s murder was an isolated incident.

He was initially in a detention center but later released due to a lack of space, according to the Post.

According to the Post, a man with the same name was arrested in New York last year for endangering the welfare of a 5-year-old child.

Ibarra’s 29-year-old brother, Diego Ibarra, was also detained on Friday after showing investigators a suspected counterfeit permanent resident card when questioned about the case.

Diego Ibarra, a Venezuelan citizen, could face federal charges of possessing a fraudulent immigration document, according to WAGA-TV.

According to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office Middle District of Georgia, Diego Ibarra was previously arrested three times in Athens County since last September on charges including DUI, theft and failure to appear in court.

After claiming asylum, he had been released from immigration custody pending a hearing.

Diego Ibarra was booked into the local county jail on a federal charge late Friday, according to WAGA-TV.

If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in federal prison.

Meanwhile, the investigation continues into his younger brother Jorge, who remains the prime suspect in Riley’s slaying.

Additional charges may still be filed as authorities learn more details about the sequence of events leading up to Riley’s tragic death.

The fact that the brothers Jorge and Diego were in this country illegally and that they had both been previously arrested and released from custody makes the blood boil.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, of Georgia, posted on X, “Laken Riley, 22-year-old UGA nursing student, was murdered by an illegal alien from Venezuela that the Biden admin released in our country. Joe Biden, Mayorkas, and the Democrats have blood on their hands. Praying for her family.”

End Wokeness posted a graphic of other victims of crimes by illegal immigrants, writing, “When you vote, think of Laken Riley. Think of Mollie Tibets. Think of Kate Steinle. Think of Lizbeth Medina. Think of all the innocent American lives we already lost due to open borders. Think of how many we could save. Do it for them.”


It’s never fair to lose someone so young. It’s never fair that parents should have to bury their child.

But how does one live with the fact that this crime could have been easily prevented?

Ibarra entered the U.S. in 2022 and was allowed into the country because of the Biden administration’s open border policies.

Democrats’ policies and lack of concern for law-abiding citizens’ rights over those of lawbreakers are at least in part responsible for this travesty, if Ibarra is guilty.

And that is beyond unfair — it’s criminal.


This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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