Laken Riley made a desperate call to 911 as she fought for her life, police revealed, before her killer interrupted the call and beat her to death.
The chilling detail emerged today as Athens-Clarke County police released more documents from their investigation, including the family history of the alleged killer, undocumented Venezuelan migrant José Antonio Ibarra.
The popular August University nursing student was attacked while jogging on the UGA campus Thursday before she was killed and dragged into the bushes.
Police declined to release audio of the call but confirmed that Laken, 22, was connected to a dispatcher and also accused Ibarra of violently interfering with a 911 call.
It came as Athens Mayor Kelly Girtz today faced furious backlash after it was revealed police found several undocumented immigrants living in Ibarra’s apartment in the city.
Augusta University student Laken Riley, 22, managed to make a 911 call while she was being murdered, police confirmed.
Undocumented Venezuelan migrant José Ibarra is accused of using an unknown object as a weapon to kill Laken after grabbing her between 9 am and 1 pm on Thursday, February 22.
Ibarra’s brother, Diego, also an illegal immigrant, has accumulated a long criminal history since arriving in April 2023 with a forged Green Card.
As he attempted to deny that Athens is a sanctuary city for undocumented immigrants, the crowd began yelling at the mayor.
A man in the crowd repeatedly shouted, “You’re a liar.”
And he added: ‘You are the culprit and you have blood on your hands for this murder, sir!’
‘Give up!’ others shouted.
Other protesters carried signs that read: “Blood on your hands” and “Make Athens safe again.”
Girtz repeatedly noted that Athens is not officially a sanctuary city, as Georgia does not allow it.
“There has been no legislation from this government that has created sanctuary city status,” he alleged.
“We deeply regret this tragedy… The responsibility for this crime lies solely with the perpetrator.”
Police had previously said they received a non-emergency call from a friend of the 22-year-old Augusta University student who reported her missing when she did not return from her morning run on Thursday.
Meanwhile, it emerged that Ibarra’s brother, Diego Ibarra, 29, allegedly gave police a forged green card with two different dates of birth when he was stopped for speeding in September last year.
Diego Ibarra entered the country illegally in April 2023 and was arrested five months later without a license or insurance while driving 80 mph in a 40 mph zone and drinking a can of Bud Light.
“I opened the driver’s door and ordered him to get out of the vehicle, but he turned around and started reaching inside the vehicle, so I forcibly removed him,” the investigating officer wrote.
“The driver struggled and was thrown to the ground, where there was a brief effort to get him handcuffed.”
Days later, police were called to a domestic disturbance at his apartment, but did not arrest him.
Both brothers were cited on October 27 for allegedly stealing more than $200 from an Athens Walmart.
And Diego allegedly returned to steal more items on December 8, earning him a two-year suspension from the store.
Jose Ibarra has been charged in Riley’s murder with felony murder, false imprisonment, kidnapping and concealing the death of another person.
Riley’s roommate, Connolly Huth, shared a heartbreaking tribute to her former roommate, describing her as a “perfect, beautiful, smart, kind, driven human.”
Riley was a senior enrolled nursing student in college and grew up in Woodstock, Georgia. Before earning her bachelor’s degree from UGA in 2023, she graduated from River Ridge High School in 2020.
UGA Police Chief Jeffrey Clark told reporters that officers searched Ibarra’s Athens apartment and evidence shows he acted alone.
‘He didn’t know her at all. I think this is a crime of opportunity where he saw an individual and bad things happened,” Clark said.
‘The evidence is solid. It is supported by key community input, physical evidence and expert police work. It is important to note that we have video images from the security camera network on our campus.’
José Ibarra is accused of using an unknown object as a weapon to kill Laken after grabbing her between 9am and 1pm on Thursday, February 22.
Riley’s body was found the same day on the University of Georgia campus, in a wooded area near Herrick Lake that includes trails popular with runners and walkers.
Police said Riley died from “blunt trauma” after being beaten and suffered a “disfigured skull.”
They added that Ibarra dragged her body to a secluded area to hide the death, according to an arrest affidavit seen by CBS News.