Nursing student found dead on University of Georgia campus after going for jog

A nursing student has been found dead in a wooded area on the University of Georgia’s campus after she set off for a run.

The woman, identified by the local coroner as 22-year-old Laken Hope Riley, had been reported missing on Thursday after she failed to return from a jog at the Intramural Fields that morning, the university said in a statement.

Riley’s concerned friend had called the University of Georgia Police Department at around 12.07pm.

Jeff Clark, chief of police for the university, said at a press conference that officers responded to the area and immediately began a search for the 22-year-old.

At around 12.38pm, search teams found Riley unconscious, not breathing and with visible injuries, in an area behind Lake Herrick.

Officers administered medical aid, but she was pronounced dead by emergency responders on the scene.

Investigators now suspect foul play in her death.

No further information was given around her cause or manner of death.

Chief Clark said that it was a “tragic day” for the community, saying that there had been no homicides on the college campus in the last 20 years.

The woman’s body was found after a concerned friendsaid she did not return home from a jog (WSB-TV)
The woman’s body was found after a concerned friendsaid she did not return home from a jog (WSB-TV)

No suspect has yet been identified in her death, the police chief said on Thursday.

“When you have a suspect that’s on the loose, there’s always a danger, but there is no immediate danger at this time,” he said, while urging the public to avoid the general area while the investigation continues.

The news of the woman’s death came not long after the sudden passing of another student at the University of Georgia.

“The past 24 hours have been a traumatic time for our University. Our student body is grieving the sudden death of one [of] our students in Brumby Hall last night,” the university said.

“And as we continue to mourn that tragic loss of life, today’s devastating news will uniquely test the resolve of our campus community, particularly our students.”

Chief Clark confirmed that the two deaths are not connected.

Riley was not a student at University of Georgia but instead was a nursing student at Augusta University, which has a campus in Athens, University of Georgia, reported The New York Times.

The Augusta University College of Nursing said in a statement on social media that “one of our students at our College of Nursing campus at Athens (CONAT) has passed away. Police suspect foul play”.

Classes were cancelled on Friday at the university on Friday. They are expected to resume on Monday.

Several students have voiced concerned about their safety with the suspect still at large.

“I run a lot, and so, like, we’ve just been talking about going and seeing the park here and going for a little run or, like, just walking by, but now, after hearing all of this, I don’t feel safe anywhere,” University of Georgia sophomore Anika Bhattacharya told 11Alive.

The incident has raised alarm bells for students on campus who say they don’t feel safe (WSB-TV)
The incident has raised alarm bells for students on campus who say they don’t feel safe (WSB-TV)

“Honestly, I’m not even considering walking by myself much after all this, at least for the next couple months. I mean, I just don’t want to take any chance at all,” she said

Another UGA sophomore, Alison Kramer, told the outlet she was shaken when she received a campus-wide alert about the incident.

“I was immediately shaken up, and I called my mom because I was like, ‘I don’t know what’s going on, this is really scary,’” she said. “Because you think we would be safe on campus.”

The university is receiving investigative support from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Athens-Clarke County Police Department.