Friends, Family and Fellow Hawkeyes Remember Mollie Tibbetts

Glen Norman
August 24, 2018

Cristhian Rivera, the suspected killer of Mollie Tibbetts, made his first court appearance just minutes after Tibbetts' family members broke their silence about the death of their daughter.

Rivera's attorney, Allan Richards, insisted in a motion filed with the Poweshiek County District Court on Wednesday that his client is in the USA legally, pointing to Rivera's employment at Yarrabee Farms as proof.

Tibbets was a 20-year-old Iowa student who disappeared in July while jogging.

Within hours of the arrest, President Donald Trump seized on the news that Rivera was allegedly in the country illegally and called for stricter immigration laws.

Read the full story here. "They turned a blind eye to the reality of documentation", Richards said.

Police investigators say security footage showing a auto driving back and forth as a young woman was running has helped them identify her alleged killer.

Trump has made crackdown on illegal immigration a core policy of his administration.


The coroner's statement said further findings may be released.

Tibbetts was studying psychology and wanted to get a doctorate and write books, her father said.

In a statement to the Des Moines Register, Tibbetts' family asked to be "allowed the time to process our devastating loss and share our grief in private".

A document filed by Rivera's attorney Wednesday calls into question Rivera's immigration status.

Yarrabee Farms declined to say what name appeared on the documents given them by Rivera (which including a state driver's license and Social Security card).

Dane Lang is the son of Craig Lang, the former president of both the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation and the Iowa Board of Regents and a 2018 Republican candidate for state secretary of agriculture.

His colleagues were stunned Tuesday to learn that he was not only the suspect in Tibbetts' death, but that he had a different real name than what he went by on the farm, Lang said.


"You heard about today with the illegal alien coming in, very sadly, from Mexico and you saw what happened to that incredible, handsome young woman", Mr. Trump told the crowd in Charleston.

A criminal complaint alleges Rivera followed Tibbetts while she was out for a run, abducted and killed her, and dumped her body in a cornfield.

During a press conference Tuesday afternoon, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation announced suspect Christian Bahena-Rivera had been charged with Tibbetts's murder. But she says knows enough about Tibbetts to believe "she would not want this to be used as fuel against undocumented immigrants".

"Should have never happened".

But investigators say the 24-year-old was illegally living and working in the United States on fake documents.

A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement representative said that the agency lodged an immigration detainer on Rivera after his arrest, so if he is ever released, he would be deported to Mexico.

"As Iowans, we are heartbroken, and we are angry". But after confessing to her killing Monday, Rivera led police this week to her body in a field.


One person threatened to kill his dog and another said he would burn down his farm buildings.

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