An illegal immigrant has been charged with the murder of Mollie Tibbetts, a college student from Iowa. Tibbetts went missing over a month ago and her body was recently found in a cornfield. Cristhian Rivera, 24, allegedly kidnapped Tibbetts while she was jogging in a small rural town. Rivera has been charged with first-degree murder.
Rivera claims that he “circled around a few times” and that he eventually got out and approached Tibbetts. He then said to officials that after he ran up to her, she was startled. Rivera claims that this is when he blacked out. New details are likely to surface soon.
The Tibbetts’ family issued the following statement:
“Our hearts are broken. On behalf of Mollie’s entire family, we thank all of those from around the world who have sent their thoughts and prayers for our girl. We know that many of you will join us as we continue to carry Mollie in our hearts forever. At this time, our family asks that we be allowed the time to process our devastating loss and share our grief in private. Again, thank you for the outpouring of love and support that has been shared in Mollie’s name. We remain forever grateful.”
Mollie’s brother Jake spoke at the vigil:
“Remember this as a time that the country came together for one girl. One girl that loved everyone. One girl that loved everything and wanted the best for everyone. Don’t remember this as the time that someone made a very poor decision and took a girl away,”
“We’re going to miss her dearly but, to be honest, what made her so special is she was just like anyone standing here. She loved to run. She loved Harry Potter. She loved the hawks. She loved her family. She was goofy. She was clumsy.”
Since the news broke about Rivera’s background, several Republican politicians have used the situation to push for harsher immigration laws. The friends and family of Mollie Tibbetts expressed that they do not want her story to be politicized.
Breck Goodman, a friend, issued the following statement:
“I also know what Mollie stood for and she would not approve. So I don’t want her death to be used as propaganda. I don’t want her death to be used for more prejudice and for more discrimination, and I don’t think she would want that, either.”