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Woman’s body found on University of Georgia campus; foul play suspected

Just after noon, a friend reported to campus police that the woman was missing after she did not return from a run near the university’s intramural fields, the University of Georgia Police Department said.
Last Updated 23 February 2024, 04:09 IST

A woman’s body was found in a wooded area on the University of Georgia’s campus Thursday, according to university officials, who said that foul play was suspected in her death.

In a statement to The New York Times, the university said the victim was an undergraduate student at the school until the spring of 2023 and then enrolled at August University’s nursing program, both of which are in Athens, Georgia.

Just after noon, a friend reported to campus police that the woman was missing after she did not return from a run near the university’s intramural fields, the University of Georgia Police Department said.

At 12:38 pm, officers found the woman’s body in a patch of forest near a lake. The woman, whose name and age have not been released, “was unconscious and not breathing” and had “visible injuries,” police said. Paramedics arrived and pronounced her dead.

Police do not have any suspects, Jeffrey Clark, the chief of university police, said at a news conference Thursday night.

“When you have a suspect that’s on the loose, there’s always a danger,” the chief said. “But there’s no immediate danger at this time.”

Clark declined to comment on the nature of the death.

He said he could not recall any homicides on campus in the past 20 years.

Investigators were reviewing footage from campus security cameras, the chief added. He urged anyone with information about the case to contact the university Police Department at (706) 542-2200.

University police said that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Athens-Clarke Police Department were assisting in the investigation.

Kelly Girtz, the mayor of Athens-Clarke County, said he joined the community “in deep sadness over today’s murder,” adding that the city was working with university police to bring the investigation to a “rapid conclusion.”

The university said the school’s president, Jere Morehead, met with members of the victim’s sorority to offer his condolences.

The school canceled the remainder of classes Thursday and all classes Friday. Officials encouraged students and staff members to take precautions on campus and recommended that people “travel in groups when possible and be aware of your surroundings” according to a statement.

According to The Red & Black, a campus newspaper, students at the intramural fields said that their classes had been canceled midway through a class period Thursday afternoon. The newspaper said that police officers had checked the identifications of the people on the fields before they left the area.

The body was found in a wooded area near Lake Herrick, part of a larger recreational area that includes playing fields, tennis courts and trails for walking, running and biking. The lake and intramural fields abut the Oconee Forest Park.

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(Published 23 February 2024, 04:09 IST)

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