ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — The brother of the man charged with killing a Georgia nursing student has been accused of presenting a fake green card to police as they investigated the woman’s death, according to federal authorities.

The brothers, Jose and Diego Ibarra, are from Venezuela, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia said in a news release.

Jose Ibarra, 26, was taken into custody for the slaying of 22-year-old Laken Hope Riley on Friday, police said. University of Georgia Police Chief Jeff Clark said Jose Ibarra is not a U.S. citizen, but he did not know Ibarra’s immigration status.

Diego Ibarra, 29, was arrested the same day for allegedly presenting a forged U.S. permanent resident card to investigators, the local U.S. Attorney’s office said. Local police had approached Diego Ibarra, who lives in Athens, while he walked down the street because he matched the suspect’s description.

Diego Ibarra had encountered U.S. border agents in April of last year near El Paso, Texas, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. He was processed for expedited removal but claimed a “credible fear of return to Venezuela.” He was released with a pending claim for asylum.

At least 7.3 million people have fled Venezuela in the past decade during political, economic and humanitarian crises. Most settled in neighboring countries in Latin America, but many came to the United States in the past three years.

Since entering the U.S., Diego Ibarra has been arrested three times by Athens law enforcement, federal authorities said.

He was arrested in September for driving under the influence of alcohol and driving without a license, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. He was arrested in October for shoplifting and arrested in December for “failure to appear for a fingerprintable offense.”

Diego Ibarra is in state custody, federal officials said. It’s unclear if he has an attorney who can speak on his behalf.

Melissa Hodges, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, said in an email Saturday that she did not have any additional information on the immigration status of Jose Ibarra, who now faces charges that include murder and kidnapping.

Local police said Friday that Jose Ibarra, who lived in Athens, apparently did not know Riley and acted alone. Riley’s body was found near running trails Thursday, launching a highly visible police investigation that centered on an apartment complex just south of there.

Video from campus security and other technology led police to Jose Ibarra, who lived in one of the apartments, police said.

It wasn’t known if Ibarra had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

Riley’s body was discovered Thursday afternoon after a friend told police she had not returned from a morning run, authorities said. Officers immediately began a search and found her body in a forested area near Lake Herrick that includes trails popular with runners and walkers.

Emergency medical responders determined she died before officers found her. Clark, the university police chief, said Friday that the cause of death was blunt force trauma, but he did not elaborate.

Riley studied at the University of Georgia through the spring of 2023 before transferring to Augusta University’s College of Nursing, according to a statement from the University of Georgia, which does not have a nursing program itself. She remained active in the sorority she joined at the University of Georgia.

Riley’s sister, Lauren Phillips, paid tribute to her Friday in an Instagram post, calling her “the best sister and my built in best friend from the very first second.”

“This isn’t fair and I will never understand it but I know you are in heaven with the man you loved most right now,” Phillips wrote. “I’m not sure how I’m going to do this but it’s all going to be for you from now on. I cannot wait to give you the biggest hug someday. I will miss and love you forever Laken.”

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