Laken Riley murder: Family releases statement thanking the community

The family of a 22-year-old nursing student killed on the University of Georgia campus is thanking the community for their support.

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Laken Riley was found dead near a running trail on UGA’s campus Thursday after she went for a jog.

A 26-year-old Venezuelan man, Jose Ibarra, was arrested and charged with murder. Investigators said they don’t believe Riley and Ibarra knew each other and that it was a “crime of opportunity.”


According to court documents, Ibarra beat Riley to death and then concealed her body in the woods.

Riley’s stepfather, John Phillips, released a statement on behalf of the family on a GoFundMe set up to help the family with funeral expenses and to set up a foundation in her name.

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“On behalf of our entire family we would like send out a heartfelt thank you for your donations and overwhelming support. 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. Every single dollar donated will go towards starting the Laken Hope Riley Foundation and will be used to drive homicide awareness and safety for women. Again, thank you for your kind support and we love you all!”

Riley was a nursing student at Augusta University’s Athens campus and a member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority at UGA.

The GoFundMe account has raised more than $135,000. You can donate HERE.