• Suspect in Mollie Tibbetts' killing gave false ID to employer

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    (CNN)The man accused of pursuing and killing 20-year-old Mollie
    Tibbetts had worked four years at an Iowa dairy farm based on
    false identification, his employer said Wednesday.

    "What we learned in the last 24 hours is that our employee was
    not who he said he was," said Dane Lang, the co-owner and
    manager of Yarrabee Farms.

    That revelation came about an hour after the employee, Cristhian
    Bahena Rivera, was arraigned on a first-degree murder charge for
    the killing of Tibbetts. His bond was set at $5 million and his
    next court hearing is scheduled for August 31.

    Tibbetts went missing last month after going out for an evening
    run in Brooklyn, Iowa, and her disappearance launched an
    extensive search in the region.

    On Tuesday, Rivera -- who confessed to following her as she ran
    on a country road -- led authorities to the field where a body
    believed to be hers was buried under corn stalks, officials said.

    Rivera, a 24-year-old Mexican man who officials said came to the
    US illegally, largely remained silent in court, answering yes or
    no questions in Spanish through an interpreter. His defense
    attorney, Allan Richards, said Rivera came to the US as a minor,
    held a job in the community and has no prior criminal record.

    What we know about the suspect

    Cristhian Rivera was charged with the murder of Mollie Tibbetts,
    a 20-year-old college student, in an Iowa court on Wednesday,
    August 22, 2018.

    Rivera worked for the past four years at Yarrabee Farms.

    In applying for the job, Rivera provided a state ID and Social
    Security card that was verified through the Social Security
    Administration's verification system, according to Lang. But
    those forms of ID were not of Rivera, he said.

    "All of us are saddened by the tragic death of Mollie and the
    realization that one of our coworkers was involved," he said.

    Lang said that Rivera was an employee in good standing who came
    to work on time and got along with his coworkers.

    Neither he nor his employees noticed anything suspicious about
    Rivera's behavior after Tibbetts vanished, he said.

    "This guy stayed around for 35 days after he did this," Lang
    said. "Nobody noticed anything different."

    Yarrabee Farms is owned in part by Craig Lang, a prominent Iowa
    Republican who ran for Iowa secretary of agriculture this summer.

    US Citizenship and Immigration Services spokesperson Michael
    Bars told CNN that Rivera did not make any requests for Deferred
    Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, that might have provided
    him legal status in the US.

    "We have found no record in our systems indicating he has any
    lawful immigration status," Bars said.

    Officials did not explain why Rivera killed Tibbetts, said Rick
    Rahn, special agent in charge at the Iowa Division of Criminal
    Investigation.

    "I can't really speak to you about the motive," Rahn said. "I
    can just tell you it seems that he followed her and seemed to be
    drawn to her on that particular day and for whatever reason he
    chose to abduct her."

    Tibbetts' family speaks out
    Tibbetts' family released a statement Wednesday thanking their
    supporters and asking for privacy.

    "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,"
    the family said.

    "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."

    An autopsy to determine when and how Tibbetts died is planned
    for Wednesday. The final autopsy results are expected in four-
    eight weeks, although some preliminary results may be available
    in the next few days, according to Mitch Mortvedt, assistant
    director of the Iowa Department of Public Safety.

    A monthlong search

    Tibbetts was studying psychology at the University of Iowa and
    wanted to get a doctorate and write books, her father said. Her
    disappearance set off an extensive search that brought in
    hundreds of leads but no clues as to where she was.

    Authorities had been looking for Tibbetts for about a month when
    they found home surveillance video that showed a car following a
    woman running on July 18.

    After watching it for hours, investigators found clues that led
    them to Rivera. He didn't resist when authorities tried to
    detain him, Rahn said.

    According to court documents, the suspect said in an interview
    that when he approached Tibbetts, she pulled out her cell phone
    and told Rivera she was going to "call the police" and that
    caused him to get angry.

    Rivera alleged he blacked out at some point and woke up at an
    intersection in rural Poweshiek County, court documents state.
    At that point, he realized he had put the woman in the trunk of
    his car, and when he took her out, he saw blood on the side of
    her head, the arrest warrant states.

    He left the body in a cornfield and covered it with corn leaves,
    the warrant adds. Rivera led authorities to a corn field on
    Tuesday morning, where they found a body covered in corn leaves.
    Tibbetts' clothing was also found at the scene.

    Suspect came to US illegally

    Shawn Neudauer, a spokesman for Immigration and Customs
    Enforcement, said the agency on Tuesday sent a detainer request
    to local authorities for Rivera, who is from Mexico. That means
    ICE could take custody of Rivera if he was released from local
    custody.

    Rivera's immigration status was cited by Republican leaders to
    argue for a change in American immigration policy. President
    Donald Trump referred to the case while speaking at a rally in
    Charleston, West Virginia on Tuesday night.

    "You heard about today with the illegal alien coming in very
    sadly from Mexico. And you saw what happened to that incredible
    beautiful young woman. Should have never happened. Illegally in
    our country," he said.

    "We've had a huge impact but the laws are so bad, the
    immigration laws are such a disgrace. We're getting it changed
    but we have to get more Republicans."

    https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/22/us/mollie-tibbetts-iowa-student- autopsy/index.html
     

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