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NY Post
New York Post
24 Feb 2024

NextImg:Laken Riley murder suspect Jose Ibarra posed in NYC after reportedly entering US illegally, social media posts appear to show

Social media accounts appear to show the suspect in the murder of Georgia nursing student Laken Riley exploring New York City and posing with friends and family more than a year before the alleged killing.

Jose Antonio Ibarra, 26, was arrested on Friday in connection with the death of Riley, whose body was found near a lake on the University of Georgia’s campus the day before.

In September 2022, however, the Venezuelan native looked carefree, smiling in Times Square and Rockefeller Center in New York City, posts on a Facebook account linked to his name showed.

Laken Hope Riley was found dead on Thursday. Facebook / Laken Riley

He allegedly entered the US via El Paso, Texas, that month, and was released from a detention center due to overcrowding, reports said Saturday. 

Police sources in New York confirmed to NewsNation that a suspect matching Ibarra’s name and age was arrested in the Big Apple for endangering a 5-year-old child last year.

More recently, Ibarra appeared to share photos of himself with a handful of others — including a few romantic posts with an unidentified woman.

His last TikTok post was a soundless selfie video posted just two days before his arrest — and one day before Riley vanished during her morning jog.

A Facebook account linked to Jose Antonio Ibarra showed him visiting New York City in 2022. Jose Ibarra / Facebook
Another photo showed what appeared to show Ibarra in Rockefeller Center. Jose Ibarra / Facebook

Ibarra is now staring down a slew of charges — including malice murder — related to Riley’s killing, police announced Friday night.

He was snapped being arrested outside the Argo Apartments complex in Athens that afternoon, according to Atlanta News First.

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By Saturday afternoon, commenters had already descended on both profiles with comments calling him “killer parasite.”

“Death penalty for you,” another commenter ranted.

Ibarra’s brother Diego was arrested for allegedly having a fake green card.
Jose Ibarra is facing charges related to Riley’s killing.

Ibarra’s older brother, 29-year-old Diego Ibarra, is also in state custody on charges of holding a fake green card, the US Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia said.

He was previously arrested in Athens, Ga., area three times between September and December 2023.

Social media accounts that appear to be linked to Diego Ibarra show similar photos and videos — including Facebook footage of what appeared to be a stack of guns that was posted in November.

Another series of TikTok videos seemed to show him dressed in a University of Georgia T-shirt and washing dishes in a kitchen.

Jose Ibarra was arrested on suspicion of murder on Friday. Atlanta News First

Riley was a student at UGA through spring 2023, when she transferred to the nursing program at the nearby Augusta University.

The University of Georgia press office could not immediately be reached for comment on whether Diego Ibarra was affiliated with the school.

At a press conference Friday night, UGA Police Chief Jeffrey Clark said that Jose Ibarra did not know Riley, and described the incident as a “crime of opportunity.”