UPDATE: Female nursing student found dead on University of Georgia campus

UGA cancels classes Thursday evening, Friday; foul play suspected.
A student was found dead Thursday afternoon on the University of Georgia campus.

A student was found dead Thursday afternoon on the University of Georgia campus.

ATHENS — A female nursing student, reported missing after a friend said she went for a morning run and never returned home, was found dead Thursday near the University of Georgia’s intramural fields.

University officials said police suspect foul play.

A UGA spokesman said in an email late Thursday that the woman, whose identity has not yet been released, “was an undergraduate student at the University of Georgia until the spring of 2023, and then she became a nursing student at the Augusta University nursing program in Athens.”

She also was a member of a UGA sorority.

“At this time we do not have a suspect, but we are actively investigating,” Jeffrey Clark, chief of UGA’s police department, told reporters at a press conference on Thursday night in Athens.

”When you have a suspect that’s on the loose, there’s always a danger. But there’s no immediate danger,” Clark added.

Authorities said the student had “visible injuries.”

In an email to students, UGA President Jere Morehead said that both the GBI and Athens-Clarke County police were assisting university police with the investigation.

“We want to assure you that the safety and welfare of our campus community is our top concern,” Morehead said in a letter to the campus.

It was a somber day at UGA as word of the death spread. Adding to the mood was news that another student died on campus late Wednesday. No foul play is suspected in the earlier death of the male student.

“There is no connection to the death yesterday and today’s death. There is no connection at all,” Clark said at Thursday night’s press conference.

Morehead said classes were canceled for Thursday evening and Friday. Some other campus events, including a performance by the UGA Symphony Orchestra scheduled for Thursday night, were also canceled. Classes are expected to resume Monday.

“The past 24 hours have been a traumatic time for our University,” Morehead said. “Our student body is grieving the sudden death of one of our students in Brumby Hall last night. As we continue to mourn that tragic loss of life, today’s devastating news will uniquely test the resolve of our campus community, particularly our students.”

Augusta University also canceled Friday classes at its College of Nursing campus in Athens, where the woman was a student. In a message to the Augusta University community, President Brooks Keel said the Athens campus would “remain open as a gathering place for students, faculty and staff to receive care and counseling as needed.”

Classes at the main campus in Augusta will go on as normal, but support services will be available there as well.

“The receipt of this news this afternoon was shocking to all of us,” Keel wrote.

A heavy police presence was visible for hours Thursday afternoon near the intramural fields on East Campus, where officers were seen stopping cars and speaking to drivers attempting to leave the area. Students and others were asked to avoid the area during the investigation.

It all started when police received a call just after noon Thursday from a person “concerned for the welfare of a friend” who had not returned from a morning run at the intramural fields.

UGA investigators began searching the area at 12:20 p.m., and the woman’s body was discovered at approximately 12:38 p.m. She was found in the woods behind Lake Herrick. Officers immediately began rendering medical aid. When emergency responders arrived, they determined the student was dead, according to a special safety update posted on X, previously known as Twitter.

Morehead met Thursday afternoon with members of the victim’s sorority.

Clarke County Coroner Sonny Wilson said he was at the scene Thursday afternoon, but could not comment on a suspected cause of death.

Wilson told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he was still in the woods at the scene shortly before 8 p.m. He said he could not release the name of the female victim. The GBI will be conducting an autopsy.

Earlier Thursday, a student described the day as “dreary.”

“I hope everyone stays safe,” he said, asking to not be named.

Added another student who also asked not be identified: “I’m not going out this weekend. Probably not going out for a long time. And I know a lot of people going home this weekend.”

Anyone with information that could help investigators was asked to contact UGA police at 706-542-2200.