Laken Riley's former roommate says student slain on morning run rarely missed a workout, yearned to be a nurse
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“I just want to really say that she was such an amazing person, and I just can’t imagine anybody doing such a terrible thing to her.”

— Bianca Tiller, friend and former roommate

Those runs often took her through the trails along Lake Herrick, where Riley’s body was found, Tiller said.

The former UGA student said she had considered the area safe and that it was popular among students and local residents.

Laken Riley memorial flowers at Lake Herrick

Flowers are placed below the sign at Lake Herrick, where Georgia nursing student Laken Riley was found dead Thursday after failing to return home from her morning run. (Audrey Conklin/Fox News Digital)

“The first thing that really shocked me was that it was in the middle of the day or the morning. It wasn’t like she was running at nighttime,” Tiller said. “For it to happen during the day in such a populated area, on a warm day where you would expect a lot of people to be outside, is just really shocking and didn’t really make sense.”

“For it to happen during the day in such a populated area, on a warm day where you would expect a lot of people to be outside, is just really shocking and didn’t really make sense.”

Laken Riley poses for a photo posted to Facebook

Laken Riley poses for a photo posted to Facebook. Riley, a nursing student in Georgia, was found dead near a lake on the University of Georgia’s campus Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024. (Laken Riley/Facebook)

Riley had no enemies or jealous ex-boyfriends that Tiller was aware of, she said, but Tiller noted that she graduated last spring and hasn’t been in Athens since then.

“She would always be there for everybody,” Tiller said. “And she would just really bring everybody together and friendships together. I’ve met so many people through her, and she was just the kindest person. Like, nobody had anything terrible or even remotely bad to say about her.”

After three years at the University of Georgia, Riley entered a nursing program at Augusta University’s Athens campus, which is close to UGA.

Laken Riley in a medical coat in a grassy field

Laken Riley poses for a photo posted to Facebook. Riley, a nursing student in Georgia, was found dead near a lake Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024. (Allyson Phillips/Facebook)

“She’s been wanting [to be a nurse] for a really long time,” Tiller said. “She was studying biology when she was at UGA.”

Laken Riley smiles for a photo while running

Laken Riley smiles for a photo while running. Riley, a nursing student in Georgia, was found dead near a lake on the University of Georgia campus Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024. (Laken Riley/Instagram)

Even before they started college, Riley worked at a nursing home, and she often told stories about her experiences there, Tiller said.

“No matter how little the pay was and how difficult the work was, she just really liked helping people,” Tiller said.

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