UGA Campus Mourns as Arrest Made in Laken Riley Murder Case

2 min read

Victim: Laken Riley

The University of Georgia community finds a measure of solace as the UGA Police Department announces the arrest of a suspect in the murder of 22-year-old former student Laken Riley. Riley’s tragic death, resulting from a brutal attack while jogging near the Intramural Fields on Feb. 22, has left the campus in shock and sorrow.

Laken Riley, who had attended UGA until May 2023 before transferring to Augusta University College of Nursing at Athens, remained connected to her UGA roots through her involvement in a sorority. The news of her untimely demise has deeply affected many within the university community.

Law enforcement agencies, including the UGA Police Department, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Athens-Clarke County Police Department, and federal partners, collaborated tirelessly, leading to the arrest of a suspect on Feb. 23. The individual faces multiple charges, including malice murder and felony murder.

UGA President Jere W. Morehead, addressing students at UGA Miracle’s Dance Marathon, lauded the efforts of law enforcement in swiftly bringing the suspect into custody. Morehead emphasized the university’s commitment to campus safety, highlighting ongoing initiatives such as increased lighting, expanded camera coverage, and the popular UGA Safe app.

The university has invested $16 million over the past eight years to bolster security measures, including hiring more police personnel, implementing a comprehensive security camera network, and initiating a nightly rideshare program. Morehead intends to meet with campus police to explore further enhancements to campus safety protocols.

During the Dance Marathon, attendees honored Laken Riley and another recently deceased student with a moment of silence, underscoring the collective grief felt by the campus community. Morehead praised the resilience displayed by students and expressed gratitude for their support for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

To commemorate the lives of the two students, Alpha Chi Omega and Kappa Sigma will hold a vigil at Tate Plaza on Monday, Feb. 26, at 3 p.m., open to all members of the campus community.

In light of these tragic events, UGA offers various resources to support students, faculty, and staff in coping with grief and personal challenges. Students can seek assistance from Student Care and Outreach as well as Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS), which operates 24/7. Faculty and staff have access to counseling specialists through the Acentra Health Employee Assistance Program and Anthem BCBS’ Emotional Well-being Resources, among other options, to address mental health needs and emotional support.