Crime /

Nursing Student Found Dead on University of Georgia's Campus

This is the second on-campus death in the past week

Nursing Student Found Dead on University of Georgia's Campus

Law enforcement at the University of Georgia has identified the nursing student who was found dead in an apparent on campus homicide.

Laken Hope Riley was a 22-year-old student at Augusta University in Athens. She was reported missing by a friend around 12:00 p.m. on Feb. 22 after she did not return from a run near the UGA Intramural Fields.

Her body was found around 12:38 p.m. in a forested area near Lake Herrick. The UGA police reported she was “unconscious and not breathing," had "received visible injuries” and that officers “immediately began rendering medical aid.” Riley was declared deceased at the scene by paramedics.

“The University of Georgia Police Department is actively investigating this homicide in close cooperation with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Athens-Clarke County Police Department and federal law enforcement partners,” the university’s police department said in a statement on Feb. 23. “Police personnel are still on the scene at the Oconee Forest Park area of the Intramural Fields, so please continue to avoid the forested area while the investigation is ongoing.”

UGA canceled classes on Feb. 23 after Riley’s death. She is the second person to die on the campus this week. A student was found dead in the Brumbley Hall dormitory on Feb. 21. UGA Police Chief Jeff Clark said the two deaths are not connected, reports NPR.

We want to assure you that the safety and welfare of our campus community is our top concern,” the university said in a message to its community.

The school asked students with any information about the murder to contact the police “immediately” and to download the UGA safe app to receive safety alerts.

“We also recommend that you travel in groups when possible and be aware of your surroundings,” UGA stated. “The past 24 hours have been a traumatic time for our University.”

Riley attended UGA until transferring at the end of the spring semester in 2023.

UGA spokesperson Greg Trevor announced just at 1 p.m. EST on Feb. 23 that one person has been detained and questioned in connection to Riley’s death.

“University of Georgia police have identified a person of interest who is being questioned. We want to stress that this continues to be an active, ongoing investigation and we will provide updates as circumstances warrant,” Trevor said in a video posted on X by NewsNation Correspondent Brian Entin. “I don’t have any further information to share at this time.”

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