For 34 days friends, family, the community, and investigators
searched for 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts, who went missing after
going for a run in the rural area of Brooklyn, Iowa on July
18th. On July 21, her family's worst fears were realized when 24-
year-old Cristhian Bahena Rivera confessed to stalking her on
her run that day and getting out of his car to run alongside
her. Rivera then led the authorities to Mollie Tibbetts' body in
a corn field. She had been murdered.
Cristhian Rivera is facing several charges including Murder In
The First Degree. He's a Mexican national who had been living in
the area for at least four years working on a dairy farm. Rivera
claims to have blacked out during the murder and discovered
Mollie's bloody body in the trunk of his Chevy Malibu. The Iowa
State Medical Examiner performed an autopsy on Mollie on August
22. Here's what we know so far about Mollie Tibbetts' cause of
death, plus what does 'sharp force injuries' mean?
1. Multiple sharp force injuries
The Iowa State Medical Examiner conducted an autopsy on the body
believed to be Mollie Tibbetts on August 22nd. It was determined
that the body was, in fact, the missing college student. The
manner of death was preliminarily determined to be homicide
resulting from multiple sharp force injuries.
2. What are sharp force injuries?
The report from the state medical examiner does not elaborate on
the full meaning of sharp force injuries because under Iowa
state law, autopsy reports are confidential, except for the
cause and manner of death. According to Medscape.com, sharp
force injuries are characterized by a well-defined traumatic
separation of tissues, occurring when a sharp-edged or pointed
object comes into contact with the skin and underlying tissues.
There are three types of sharp force injuries: stab wounds,
incised wounds, and chop wounds.
3. What is an incised wound?
A stab wound and chop wound are pretty self-explanatory. What is
an incised wound? These types of wounds are caused by a clean,
sharp-edged object such as a knife, box cutter, razor, metal, or
glass splinter. An incised wound is usually longer than it is
deep. In contrast, stab wounds are sharp force injuries caused
by a pointed instrument but the depth of the wound is greater
than the length of the wound.
4. The politicization of Mollie's death
Some politicians and news anchors are blaming the U.S.'s
immigration system for Mollie's death. Rivera is an undocumented
immigrant from Mexico. President Trump and other Republicans
have used her death to argue for stricter enforcement of
immigration laws. However, some of Mollie's family members don't
want her death to be used to push for political leverage.
In particular, her aunt, Billie Jo Calderwood, spoke out about
this saying, "I don't want Mollie's memory to get lost amongst
politics." Calderwood made it clear she was only speaking for
herself. She said that her family has received love and support
from people of all races, religions, and ethnicities during the
search for Mollie. "It's not about race, it's about people
joining together to do good," she said.
Mollie's second cousin Samanth Lucas spoke to CNN and said she
wants Mollie's death removed from political discussion. She said
she didn't know Mollie that well and she isn't speaking for the
whole family, but she knows Mollie well enough to believe that
she would not want her death to be used as "fuel against
5. Rivera used a fake ID
It was previously reported that Cristhian Rivera was verified
through the government's E-Verify program before he started his
job at Yarrabee Farms. However, When Rivera applied for the job,
he used a Social Security card and ID that were not his. Rivera
could have made a request through the Deferred Action for
Childhood Arrivals (DACA) that might have granted him legal
status in the U.S. He never did that.