Mollie Tibbetts' murder sparks outrage among Republicans over immigration

Cristhian Bahena Rivera

Cristhian Bahena Rivera Iowa Department of Public Safety

Yarrabee Farms is owned by the family of Craig Lang, a prominent Republican who previously served as president of the Iowa Farm Bureau.

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.

An autopsy scheduled for Wednesday but Kriegel said it could be several days or more before an official cause of death is released.

News came hours later that Tibbetts' accused murderer is in custody and that news came with the news that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had lodged an immigration detainer on the suspect - an obvious clue that the suspect was an illegal alien. Farm officials said they were fully cooperating with the police investigation.

Slain jogger Mollie Tibbetts and her alleged killer lived in the same rural Iowa town but it's unclear whether they knew each other, investigators say.

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"At one point he tells us that Mollie grabbed ahold of her phone and said 'you need to leave me alone".

"E-Verify has been sold as this silver bullet solution to our immigration problems, but none of its supporters have dealt with the systematic inability to weed out illegal immigrants", Nowrasteh said in an interview with NBC News. "We thank all of those from around the world who have sent their thoughts and prayers for our girl".

But Republican members of Congress and congressional candidates in closely competitive Iowa districts were more guarded, perhaps wary of voter backlash if they politicized the case.

On Wednesday, a judge at Poweshiek County Court ordered the suspect held behind bars on a $5m (£4m) bail bond. Lawyer Allen Richards, wearing an American flag tie, argued during an initial court appearance Wednesday that media coverage is overwhelmingly weighed against his client Cristhian Bahena Rivera, who should be presumed innocent.

The Tibbetts killing and charges against Mr. Rivera have enflamed the immigration debate, with President Trump blaming a broken immigration system for the death.

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Authorities on Tuesday announced the arrest of Rivera, who led them to the body of Tibbetts. The company said Rivera had been an employee in good standing for four years and that it was shocked to learn he was implicated in the crime. "All of us were hoping for a much better outcome for Mollie and her family".

Police say Bahena-Rivera left Tibbetts' body in a cornfield, placing corn stalks over her to hide her death.

The Iowa university student went for a jog on July 18 and was reported missing the next day by her family, when she did not show up for work. Rivera next remembers seeing her earphones on his lap, and taking her bloody body out of the trunk of his auto, it said.

At a rally Tuesday night, the president said this "should have never happened".

"As [Iowa Gov. Kim] Reynolds said, 'our immigration system allowed a predator like this to live in our community.' Too many Iowans have been lost at the hands of criminals who broke our immigration laws". Murphy says that Tibbetts' family kept in touch after their move, frequently sending along up-to-date pictures of Tibbetts and her brothers.

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Rahn said the suspect told investigators he realized he had put the woman in the trunk of his vehicle and when he took her out, he saw blood on the side of her head, the document says.

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