Clarke County

Brother of man accused of killing 22-year-old on UGA campus caught with fake green card

ATHENS — The brother of a man accused of murdering a 22-year-old nursing student on University of Georgia’s campus has been arrested after officials say he was caught with a fake green card.

According to court documents, 29-year-old Diego Ibarra of Venezuela was caught Friday with the fake card after Athens-Clarke County police officers approached him because he matched the description of his brother, 26-year-old Jose Ibarra, who was wanted for homicide.

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Authorities said that Homeland Security investigators were aware of Diego Ibarra’s undocumented presence in the U.S. Officials did not specify if Jose Ibarra was in the country illegally.

Jose Ibarra is accused of killing 22-year-old Laken Riley, a nursing student at Augusta University’s Athens campus, on Thursday. He was arrested Friday and faces several charges, including murder.

While talking to officers, officials said Diego Ibarra gave them his permanent resident card, also known as a green card, when asked for identification.


According to court documents, officers determined that the card was fake.

Officials learned that Diego Ibarra was still a citizen of Venezuela but had claimed a credible fear of returning and he was set to be released from immigration custody on April 30.

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Authorities said since being in Athens, Diego Ibarra had been arrested three times for multiple charges, such as driving under the influence, shoplifting, and failure to appear for a fingerprintable offense.

An investigation into Diego Ibarra’s criminal background remains ongoing.

A university spokesman told Channel 2′s Courtney Francisco that Diego Ibarra has since been fired.

“Diego Ibarra presented a fake green card to the hiring unit to begin a temporary position as a dishwasher in Bolton Dining Hall at the University of Georgia on Feb. 6, 2024. He subsequently failed to submit further documentation required to keep the job and was never paid by the University. He has been fired,” a UGA spokesman said.


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