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A 22-year-old Mississippi college student was found beaten to death and wrapped in a sheet in the back seat of her car last week, days after her father warned a judge that he would kill her if her boyfriend was released from prison.

Lauren Johansen's body was discovered mutilated and wrapped in garbage bags and a sheet at Wolf River Cemetery in Harrison County on July 3, news station WLOX reported.

Her father says the man accused of murder, her boyfriend Bricen Rivers, had been released from jail on bail just days earlier after being held on aggravated kidnapping charges for brutally beating her and holding her hostage during a trip to Nashville in December.

Lauren Johansen was found beaten to death and wrapped in a sheet in the back seat of her car. Instagram / @lauren.johansen

“I sat in the courtroom in Nashville and told the judge that if they released him, he would kill her,” the murdered student's father, Lance Johansen, told WLOX. “He had attacked her – this was probably the fifth or sixth time they got into an argument and he hit her.”

Rivers, 23, is charged with murder and is being held on $1 million bail.

He was arrested last Thursday, July 4, after a six-hour manhunt, NOLA.com reported.

Lauren Johansen, originally from Gulfport, attended the University of Southern Mississippi to pursue a degree in nursing, said her father, an orthopedic surgeon.

The 22-year-old was first reported missing in the early morning of July 2, when her sister woke up alone in their shared apartment in Hattiesburg. The front door was wide open and the security camera was smashed.

That same morning, her father was awakened with a notification that her Life360, a location-tracking app, had been deactivated.

He reported her missing to Hattiesburg police and the next day officers informed him that they had found her car in a nearby cemetery.

“I knew she was dead,” Lance Johansen told WLOX, describing how she was found wrapped in garbage bags in the back seat of her car.

The 22-year-old completed her training as a nurse. Instagram / @lauren.johansen

“She was beaten to death. Her face was smashed, her head was smashed, she was beaten so brutally that she could not see out of either eye when she finally died, and she had several holes in her head,” he said.

He continued: “I helped the coroner lift her body out of the car. She was just mutilated.”

The heartbroken father accused Tennessee's criminal justice system of failing his family and said Rivers' bail should never have been reduced.

Lance Johansen sharply criticized Tennessee's broken criminal justice system for allowing Rivers' bail to be reduced. Mississippi Orthopaedic Institute
Rivers was arrested on a charge of aggravated kidnapping after taking Johansen hostage during a trip to Nashville in December. Facebook / Brian Rivers

Rivers' bail, initially set at $251,000, was reduced to $150,000 after seven months in custody.

In the moments before Rivers' arrest in December, police found Lauren Johansen severely beaten as she attempted to escape from a rental car while Rivers reached for a firearm.

“I think the criminal justice system in Nashville, Tennessee, failed my daughter and our family. That's not how the world should work,” he told WLOX. “She was really beautiful, super, super smart. She had bigger-than-life dreams and hopes. Everything she did, everything she touched.”

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