Nursing student, 22, killed just days after her father warned judge not to let her boyfriend out of jail

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By James Kay

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Lauren Johansen, a college student from Mississippi, was found brutally beaten and wrapped in a sheet in the backseat of her car last week.

As reported by The Daily Mail, the incident occurred just days after her father had warned a judge that her boyfriend would kill her if he was released from jail.

On July 3, Johansen's mutilated body was located in Wolf River Cemetery in Harrison County, according to news station WLOX.

She had been wrapped in trash bags and a sheet.


Her boyfriend, Bricen Rivers, 23, who had recently bonded out of jail, has been charged with her murder.

“I knew she was dead,” Lance Johansen, her father, told WLOX, explaining how his daughter was discovered in the backseat of her car, wrapped in trash bags.

“She was basically beaten to death. Her face was smashed in, her head was smashed in, she was brutally beaten to the point she couldn’t see out of either eye when she finally died and there were multiple holes in her head.”

Rivers was previously held for aggravated kidnapping after a violent incident in December, where he beat and held Johansen hostage during a trip to Nashville.

Screenshot 2024-07-11 at 17.18.57.jpgBricen Rivers. Credit: Harrison County Sheriff's Department

"You can see what happened when he hit her 100 times back in December, so just imagine what he did to her when nobody was around to save her," said Lance to the Daily Mail.

“I sat in the courtroom in Nashville and told the judge that if they let him out, he was going to kill her,” Lance reiterated to WLOX. “He had assaulted her — this was probably the fifth or sixth time where they would get into a fight and he would beat her.”

Rivers is now facing a murder charge and is being held on a $1 million bond. His arrest followed a six-hour manhunt on July 4.

Lance, an orthopedic surgeon, expressed his frustration: "I realize people have rights but you can't just let loose a wild animal. They knew he was a psychopath; they knew he was going to kill her if he got out. I warned them how this was going to play out and they went ahead and did it anyway."

Johansen grew up in Gulfport and began dating Rivers, a star high school football player. Their relationship was marked by violence, and by the time she attended the University of Southern Mississippi, she intended to end it.


However, her family claims Rivers stalked her, breaking into her apartment and starting fights with men she dated.

In the December incident, Rivers accused Lauren of infidelity, snatched her phone, and beat her with a pistol, holding her captive in a vehicle.

His mother overheard the commotion during a phone call and alerted the police, who found Lauren traumatized, severely beaten, and calling for her father.

During the preliminary hearing on December 18, Lance testified about the over 100 hits Lauren endured and expressed fear for her life if Rivers were released.


Despite this, Rivers' bond was reduced, and he was released in June.

Stephen Hayslip, Director of Communications for the Davidson County District Attorney's Office, stated that they contested the reduced bond but were unaware of Rivers' prior arrests due to a lack of criminal convictions.

Judge Blackburn, who has been on the Nashville bench since 1996, has not commented on the case.

Questions remain about how Rivers was monitored after his release. Reports suggest that his electronic monitoring failed, allowing him to return to Mississippi.

“I think the criminal justice system in Nashville, Tennessee, failed my daughter and our family. The world shouldn’t work this way,” Lance told WLOX.

“She was really beautiful, super, super smart. She had dreams and hopes that were larger than life. Everything she did, everything she touched.”

Johansen's funeral is scheduled for Saturday.

Featured image credit: Instagram/Lauren Johansen

Nursing student, 22, killed just days after her father warned judge not to let her boyfriend out of jail

vt-author-image

By James Kay

Article saved!Article saved!

Lauren Johansen, a college student from Mississippi, was found brutally beaten and wrapped in a sheet in the backseat of her car last week.

As reported by The Daily Mail, the incident occurred just days after her father had warned a judge that her boyfriend would kill her if he was released from jail.

On July 3, Johansen's mutilated body was located in Wolf River Cemetery in Harrison County, according to news station WLOX.

She had been wrapped in trash bags and a sheet.


Her boyfriend, Bricen Rivers, 23, who had recently bonded out of jail, has been charged with her murder.

“I knew she was dead,” Lance Johansen, her father, told WLOX, explaining how his daughter was discovered in the backseat of her car, wrapped in trash bags.

“She was basically beaten to death. Her face was smashed in, her head was smashed in, she was brutally beaten to the point she couldn’t see out of either eye when she finally died and there were multiple holes in her head.”

Rivers was previously held for aggravated kidnapping after a violent incident in December, where he beat and held Johansen hostage during a trip to Nashville.

Screenshot 2024-07-11 at 17.18.57.jpgBricen Rivers. Credit: Harrison County Sheriff's Department

"You can see what happened when he hit her 100 times back in December, so just imagine what he did to her when nobody was around to save her," said Lance to the Daily Mail.

“I sat in the courtroom in Nashville and told the judge that if they let him out, he was going to kill her,” Lance reiterated to WLOX. “He had assaulted her — this was probably the fifth or sixth time where they would get into a fight and he would beat her.”

Rivers is now facing a murder charge and is being held on a $1 million bond. His arrest followed a six-hour manhunt on July 4.

Lance, an orthopedic surgeon, expressed his frustration: "I realize people have rights but you can't just let loose a wild animal. They knew he was a psychopath; they knew he was going to kill her if he got out. I warned them how this was going to play out and they went ahead and did it anyway."

Johansen grew up in Gulfport and began dating Rivers, a star high school football player. Their relationship was marked by violence, and by the time she attended the University of Southern Mississippi, she intended to end it.


However, her family claims Rivers stalked her, breaking into her apartment and starting fights with men she dated.

In the December incident, Rivers accused Lauren of infidelity, snatched her phone, and beat her with a pistol, holding her captive in a vehicle.

His mother overheard the commotion during a phone call and alerted the police, who found Lauren traumatized, severely beaten, and calling for her father.

During the preliminary hearing on December 18, Lance testified about the over 100 hits Lauren endured and expressed fear for her life if Rivers were released.


Despite this, Rivers' bond was reduced, and he was released in June.

Stephen Hayslip, Director of Communications for the Davidson County District Attorney's Office, stated that they contested the reduced bond but were unaware of Rivers' prior arrests due to a lack of criminal convictions.

Judge Blackburn, who has been on the Nashville bench since 1996, has not commented on the case.

Questions remain about how Rivers was monitored after his release. Reports suggest that his electronic monitoring failed, allowing him to return to Mississippi.

“I think the criminal justice system in Nashville, Tennessee, failed my daughter and our family. The world shouldn’t work this way,” Lance told WLOX.

“She was really beautiful, super, super smart. She had dreams and hopes that were larger than life. Everything she did, everything she touched.”

Johansen's funeral is scheduled for Saturday.

Featured image credit: Instagram/Lauren Johansen