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Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) holds a poster with photos of murder victims Sarah Root and Laken Riley as she speaks on Capitol Hill, Feb. 27, 2024. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

'She Knew Jesus': Laken Riley's Grieving Mom Delivers Powerful Message Calling People to Christ

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The mother of slain Augusta University student Laken Riley broke her silence over the weekend, taking to Facebook to offer an inspiring, faith-filled message while also detailing her daughter’s Christian faith.

Listen to them on the latest episode of “Quick Start”:

In a series of posts, grieving mom Allyson Phillips said it would be easy to lose “faith in mankind” after Riley’s Feb. 22 murder, an event she called a “senseless and avoidable tragedy.”

But Phillips said God has guided her family through everything they’ve faced in recent days, and expressed gratitude for the support and love she and her family have been given by their community.

“My family has faced the most devastating, unimaginable loss that anyone could ever be [forced] to endure,” she wrote. “I would like to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for being with me and my family during this heartbreaking time.”

Phillips continued, “I encourage everyone to have a personal relationship with Jesus. I give Him all the glory for getting us through this.”

As for those who have stepped up to help in every and any way, she said her heart has been warmed and joy has come amid her “worst nightmare.”

“Please continue to pray for our family as we put one foot in front of the other moving forward,” she wrote.

Riley, 22, a nursing student at Augusta University, was murdered while jogging around the University of Georgia campus.

Jose Antonio Ibarra, 26, was subsequently charged with her murder. Ibarra’s status as an illegal immigrant is further igniting political conversation about America’s porous southern border and the migrant crisis currently raging.

Phillips also posted a second message thanking people for attending Riley’s celebration of life on Friday. Her note focused not on lamenting her loss, but on pointing people to Jesus.

She credited her pastors, Samer Massad and Chris Kim, for being the family’s “rock” and shared about Riley’s love for Jesus.

“Laken loved to invite people to go to church with her and share her faith,” Phillips wrote. “Her love for our Lord, Jesus was infectious and helped many people develop or expand their relationship with our Lord and Savior.”

The grieving mom invited people to the church and even offered to sit with those who decide to come. But it was Phillips’ message to parents that is particularly emotionally stirring.

“To all the parents out there, I want to lay this on your heart: I can assure you that there is no greater gift that you can give your children than to walk alongside them and help them develop their relationship with Jesus,” Phillips wrote. “It is the most important relationship they will ever have.”

She continued, “I know my sweet Laken knew Jesus personally and she will live eternally in His home. He never left her side until the very last second she was here on earth and He will take care of her now and forever in heaven.”

Phillips said she finds peace in this reality and offered to help others develop their relationships with Jesus. Read the full message here.

And be sure to pray for Phillips and her family during this unimaginably difficult time.

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About The Author

Billy Hallowell writes for CBN's He has been working in journalism and media for more than a decade. His writings have appeared in CBN News, Faithwire, Deseret News, TheBlaze, Human Events, Mediaite, PureFlix, and Fox News, among other outlets. He is the author of several books, including Playing with Fire: A Modern Investigation Into Demons, Exorcism, and Ghosts Hallowell has a B.A. in journalism and broadcasting from the College of Mount Saint Vincent in Riverdale, New York and an M.S. in social research from Hunter College in Manhattan, New York.