Posted on February 26, 2024

Migrant Suspect in Laken Riley Murder Crossed Border in El Paso Before Being Busted in NYC and Released

Tina Moore and Georgia Worrell, New York Post, February 24, 2024

The illegal immigrant arrested for killing a Georgia nursing student crossed the border in Texas Sept. 8 last year and was sent to a processing facility there, but was quickly released before being put on a bus to New York City, where he was later busted and set free again, his wife told The Post.

Jose Antonio Ibarra and wife Layling Franco of Venezuela entered El Paso together with her 5-year-old son, she said.

Jose Antonio Ibarra

Jose Antonio Ibarra

The family was then sent to the Big Apple Sept. 15, where Ibarra posted smiling, carefree pictures of himself on social media in Times Square and Rockefeller Center.

Ibarra, 26, was working for DoorDash, Uber Eats and a local restaurant when he was arrested in August for endangering the welfare of a child, after he was caught in Queens riding a gas-powered moped with Franco’s son on the back, without any head protection or restraint for the child, according to police sources.

The case was later sealed.

By November, the couple split up. Jose then went to Georgia to live with his brother Diego, who social media shows once worked at the University of Georgia.

The body of Laken Riley, an Augusta University student who once attended UGA, was found Thursday in a forested part of the UGA campus after she had gone for a run.

Laken Riley

Laken Riley

Ibarra was arrested and charged Friday with malice and felony murder, aggravated battery, kidnapping, concealing the death of another and other charges in the killing of  in the death of the 22-year-old.

Police down south called the case a “crime of opportunity.”


Ibarra’s brother, who was arrested for drunken driving in Georgia in September, was nabbed this week for presenting a fake green card to police as they questioned suspects in Riley’s death {snip}

He used the illicit green card two weeks ago to secure a temporary position as a dishwasher at the University of Georgia, the school told The Post in a statement.