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Nursing Student Laken Riley Called 911 During Her Murder -- But Police Won't Release It

Nursing Student Laken Riley Murder 911 Call

[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content]

The latest detail to come out in this murder case is just painful.

Laken Riley went for a run last week on the University of Georgia campus where she was studying nursing. She never made it back. Her body was later found in the woods nearby, severely beaten. Authorities have not detailed all her injuries, but the cause of death has been listed as blunt force trauma to the head, and charging documents mention “great bodily harm with an object.” We’ve also learned the suspect is specifically accused of “disfiguring her skull.” Just horrible.

26-year-old Jose Antonio Ibarra has since been arrested for the crime, charged with malice murder, felony murder, aggravated battery, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, kidnapping, concealing the death of another, and hindering a 911 call. It’s that last one that we have new info on. “Hindering a 911 call.” How can one even prove that? Apparently the killer couldn’t stop the call from going through.

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Athens Police confirmed Wednesday that Laken not only dialed 911, she was connected with a dispatcher. Her call went through. It just wasn’t enough to save her. Authorities refuse, however, to release the audio from the call, despite demands from some members of the public (and true crime junkies). We don’t know why they won’t release it, maybe it makes them look bad? Like it’s an inadequate response? Honestly we have no idea what they could have done given so little time. We have to wonder if the truth is, the content of the call is just too horrifying, especially for her loved ones.

We know the encounter was horribly violent, but experts think it escalated to a vicious murder specifically because Laken fought so hard.

Former GBI investigator and criminal profiler John Lang Jr. told local WSB-TV this week he sees this whole case as a possible kidnapping or sexual assault that was never intended to become a murder:

“In this case, the offender was met with resistance which he wasn’t expecting, and it got overpowering and he couldn’t control it and he resorted to violence.”

The profiler pointed out how Ibarra was living in an apartment complex near the trail. Perhaps he thought he could get the 22-year-old all the way back to his place? But Ibarra’s small size — just 5’7″ — may have proven a factor as he wasn’t strong enough to keep hold of the victim:

“He’s not a very big fellow and he may have been overwhelmed by her size and her strengths and tenacity to fight back.”

Lang points to the sloppiness of the entire scene, the woods being a desperate dumping spot, everything points to this being a reaction to her fighting back:

“In looking at this whole thing, this is like a disorganized offender. That’s what we call them. He just does it on the spur of the moment for whatever motivating factors.”

Would the release of the 911 call prove his theory right? Would we hear poor Laken fighting hard to get away — and even being murdered on tape? Awful to think about.

This must all be so hard on her family. If you want to help, you can find their GoFundMe HERE.

[Image via Laken Riley/Facebook/Clarke County Sheriff’s Office]

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Feb 29, 2024 14:07pm PDT