Former Dairy Employee Charged With Kidnapping, Murder
An undocumented immigrant from Mexico has been charged with the kidnapping and murder of 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts, a University of Iowa college student. The accused, Cristhian Bahema Rivera, had worked at Yarrabee Farms, a dairy farm near Brooklyn, Iowa.
“This individual has worked at our farms for four years, was vetted through the government’s e-verify system, and was an employee in good standing,” Yarrabee Farms said in a statement. “Yarrabee Farms follows all laws related to verifying employees are legal to work in the United States, and we regularly seek outside counsel to ensure we stay up-to-date on employment law matters. We keep records on all employees and have shared that information with authorities.”
Rivera was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder in Tibbetts' death. Rivera led investigators early Tuesday to a body believed to be Tibbetts in a cornfield about 12 miles southeast of Brooklyn, Iowa, where Tibbetts was last seen going for a routine evening run, Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation special agent Rick Rahn said.
According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Rivera is an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, and it is unclear how he passed the Social Security Administration's employment verification system. The Department of Homeland Security said that Rivera has been in the country “between four and seven years.”
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said in a statement that residents are heartbroken and angered by news that a man whom authorities say was in the country illegally has been charged with killing a University of Iowa student who has been missing for weeks. She blamed a "broken immigration system" and promised to "bring justice to Mollie's killer."