Laken Hope Riley: Who was University of Georgia victim?

Athens Clarke County Coroner’s Office said the woman found dead was 22-year-old Laken Hope Riley.

She is a student of Augusta University in their nursing program. 

Riley graduated from River Ridge High School in 2020 and was from Woodstock, Georgia.

She was a member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority. In fall 2023, she made the dean’s list at Augusta University.

She told friends she was heading out to the intramural fields to take a jog but never returned. That’s when they called the police, who later found her body behind Lake Herrick in the forested area on campus, which is not too far from the intramural fields.

Augusta University said they are in a partnership with UGA, allowing students to participate in UGA campus activities.

What we know

Riley was reported missing by a friend at approximately 12:07 p.m. Thursday and found at approximately 12:38 p.m. in the forest area near Lake Herrick unconscious, not breathing and with visible injuries. Officers immediately began rendering medical aid, according to an email sent to students by UGA administration.

Foul play is suspected in Riley’s death. In a press conference on Thursday night, UGA Chief of Police Jeff Clark stated there were no suspects at the time. While there is a suspect on the loose, Clark said “there is always a danger, but there is no immediate danger at this time.”

“We’re leaving no stone unturned,” Trevor told The Red & Black. “We are doing everything we can to find the person or persons involved.”

UGAPD is working with the Athens-Clarke County Police Department and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in the ongoing investigation. The Athens coroner confirmed on Friday that Riley’s body was taken to the GBI Crime Lab in DeKalb County.

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According to a UGA Alert email sent Friday morning, police are still on the scene at the Oconee Forest Park area of the intramural fields, and are asking that people continue to avoid the forested area while the investigation is ongoing.

The Augusta University College of Nursing confirmed on social media that the victim was a nursing student at their Athens campus, located on Barnett Shoals Road. While classes were canceled on Friday, the college’s Athens campus remained open “as a gathering place for students, faculty and staff.” Counselors and support services were at the campus starting at 8 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 23, along with the interim dean and other administrators.

Laken Hope Riley mother, shared tragic post about missing daughter hours before 22-year-old was found dead

The mother of a 22-year-old nursing student who was found dead while out on a jog has shared a gut-wrenching post while on vacation about her missing daughter.

Laken Hope Riley was found dead on Thursday afternoon in a wooded area behind Lake Herrick near the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia, about an hour east of Atlanta.

Police believe foul play was involved in Riley’s death after she was found unconscious with visible injuries on her body.

While police investigated the scene near the college campus, Riley’s mother, Allyson Phillips, shared a sweet Facebook post from Crested Butte, Colorado, celebrating a friend’s birthday.

“We had a great time with great friends celebrating Brinda’s birthday in Crested Butte, CO! Massages, skiing, great food and beautiful views! Only thing missing was Laken Riley,” Phillips captioned the series of pictures.

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