UGA Nursing Student Laken Hope Riley, 22, Identified as Slain Jogger

A woman found dead near a lake at the University of Georgia has been identified as 22-year-old nursing student Laken Hope Riley, the Athens-Clarke County coroner announced Friday.

The 22-year-old was a former student at UGA who attended Augusta University College of Nursing, another school in Athens, Georgia. Her roommate had reported her missing after Riley went for a jog and never returned.

Campus police found Riley’s body with “visible injuries” near UGA’s intramural fields on Thursday afternoon. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Authorities suspect foul play but have not released a cause of death.

UGA Police Chief Jeffrey Clark said they have not identified a suspect but that the investigation is ongoing during a press conference on Thursday night.

UGA suspended classes on Thursday and Friday and advised students to “travel in groups” after Riley’s body was found.

Riley was a senior at Augusta University, having transferred from UGA in 2023. She was a member of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority at UGA and was an avid runner who had completed the AthHalf Half Marathon in October. Social media photos show her surrounded by friends, attending concerts and sporting games, and often spending time outside.

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