Laken Riley's mother gives Jesus 'the glory' for sustaining her family after daughter's murder

Laken Riley Memorial fundraiser on GoFundMe
Laken Riley Memorial fundraiser on GoFundMe | Laken Riley Memorial/GoFundMe

The mother of Laken Riley, the 22-year-old Georgia nursing student murdered by an illegal immigrant while out for a jog on campus, shared how she has derived strength from her faith in Jesus Christ as her family grapples with the devastating loss of her daughter to an “avoidable tragedy.”

In a Facebook post earlier this week, Allyson Phillips expressed gratitude for the support she and her family have received following Riley’s death.

Last month, authorities discovered the body of the Augusta University student who was murdered while jogging on trails around the University of Georgia campus. Police later determined that she had died from blunt force trauma. 

Get Our Latest News for FREE

Subscribe to get daily/weekly email with the top stories (plus special offers!) from The Christian Post. Be the first to know.

“As I sat down to write this message, I really just have no words. My family has faced the most devastating, unimaginable loss that anyone could ever be forced to endure,” Phillips wrote. "I would like to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for being with me and my family during this heartbreaking time. I encourage everyone to have a personal relationship with Jesus. I give Him all the glory for getting us through this." 

She added, “It would be really easy to lose our faith in mankind because of this senseless and avoidable tragedy. The amount of love, support and help that we have received during this horrific nightmare is overwhelming.”

On her Facebook page, the mother also shared an image created of her daughter’s name inside a black-and-white heart with the hashtag: “#SayHerName.” 

The suspect arrested in connection with Riley’s murder is Jose Antonio Ibarra, a 26-year-old Venezuelan national who entered the country illegally on Sept. 8, 2022, through El Paso, Texas. Ibarra was reportedly released due to a lack of detention space.

According to U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, Ibarra was arrested by New York police on Aug. 31, 2023, and charged with causing injury to a child and a driving violation. He was released before ICE could request that police hold him for immigration authorities, CBS reported

The nursing student’s death has shone a spotlight on President Joe Biden's border policies that have allowed a historic number of illegal immigrants to enter the U.S.  Since Biden took office, law enforcement officials at the Southern border have encountered more than 7 million illegal immigrants. 

During a briefing last week, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre deferred to law enforcement and ICE when asked about the case. The press secretary expressed her condolences to Riley’s family when asked if Biden had visited the young woman’s relatives. 

“And I — the president — I don’t have anything regarding to the president speaking to the family,” Jean-Pierre told reporters. “But it is heartbreaking. I — I can’t even imagine what the family is going through. And so — but anything else specifically, I would have to refer you to ICE and law enforcement.” 

A reporter inquired again whether the president had spoken to the family, to which the press secretary replied that she did not have anything to “read out.”  

In response to the nursing student’s murder, Georgia's Republican Gov. Brian Kemp wrote a letter to Biden criticizing his administration’s border policies. The governor also highlighted Riley’s murder, calling it a “devastating tragedy.”

The governor demanded answers as to why his administration was not informed of the illegal immigration status of the suspect in Riley's murder. Kemp also questioned why his administration was not informed of the release of an illegal immigrant who presented "fraudulent asylum claims." 

"These tragedies are not unique to Georgia," Kemp wrote. "While we will continue to support Texas with National Guard resources as we have since 2019, federal action to secure the border is the only way to wholistically address this ongoing crisis and ensure Laken Riley's horrible fate is not replicated across the country."

According to Fox News, the brother of the suspect accused of Riley's murder was fired from his job in the University of Georgia dining hall. UGA spokesperson Greg Trevor told the outlet that Diego Ibarra had presented a fake green card to begin a temporary job as a dishwasher in the school's dining hall on Feb. 6. 

Diego Ibarra failed to "submit further documentation required to keep the job and was never paid by the university" before he was "fired," according to the spokesperson. Diego Ibarra was arrested and charged with green card fraud.

Samantha Kamman is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: Follow her on Twitter: @Samantha_Kamman

Was this article helpful?

Help keep The Christian Post free for everyone.

By making a recurring donation or a one-time donation of any amount, you're helping to keep CP's articles free and accessible for everyone.

We’re sorry to hear that.

Hope you’ll give us another try and check out some other articles. Return to homepage.

Most Popular

More Articles