Sun. Jun 16th, 2024

Person of interest questioned after woman found dead on University of Georgia campus

By 37ci3 Feb23,2024

ATHENS, Ga. – Officials are questioning a person of interest in the investigation into the murder of a local student who was found dead on the University of Georgia campus Thursday.

The victim was identified Friday by the university as 22-year-old Laken Hope Riley.

Officials said he said he went for a run and was found dead with “visible injuries” in a wooded area behind Lake Herrick on Thursday. Police said foul play is suspected in his death, and on Friday the case was called a homicide investigation.

There was a heavy police presence Friday at the apartment, located a mile from Lake Herrick.

Riley was a junior in the Augusta University College of Nursing, the university confirmed Friday.

“We learned this morning that authorities in Athens have confirmed the identity of our College of Nursing student who died Thursday,” Augusta University said in a statement. “We extend our deepest condolences to the family of Laken Riley, a junior and Dean’s List student who attended our campus in Athens.”

“This sudden loss of one of our students is truly heartbreaking,” the statement said, noting that counseling support services are available for students, faculty and staff.

Augusta University President Brooks A. Kiel called Thursday’s news of the death “a shock to all of us.”

University of Georgia Friday said Riley was a student at UGA through the spring semester of 2023 before transferring to Augusta University’s College of Nursing.

Police were still on the scene Friday morning in the Oconee Forest Park area of ​​Intramural Fields on campus as a homicide investigation continues, the school said.

University of Georgia Police Chief Jeffrey Clark said Thursday that there are no suspects in the case, but it is being actively investigated.

Around noon, someone reported that a friend had gone jogging at the Intramural Fields on campus that morning and had not returned, police said.

The woman’s body was found behind Lake Herrick at 12:38 a.m. and she had visible injuries, Clark said.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is assisting university police, the state law enforcement agency said. Athens-Clarke County police are also assisting.

In a message Thursday to the campus community of more than 40,000 students, the university called it a “terrible situation.”

“The last 24 hours have been a traumatic time for our University. Our student body is saddened by the sudden death of a student in Brumby Hall last night,” the statement read.

Clark told reporters during a press conference Thursday that there was “no connection” between the two incidents. Details about the student’s death at Brumby Hall have not been released.

“And as we continue to mourn this tragic loss of life, today’s devastating news will uniquely test the resolve of our campus community, especially our students,” UGA said in a statement.

All classes have been canceled Thursday evening and Friday, according to the university. They will continue on Monday.

The 760-acre campus in Athens has security cameras, Clark said.

Clark said there hasn’t been a homicide on campus in at least 20 years.

Phil Helsel reported from Los Angeles; Blayne Alexander of Athens; Charlie Gile of Athens; and Marlene Lenthang of Los Angeles.

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By 37ci3

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