Relative of Slain Iowa Student Criticizes 'Racist, False Narrative'

August 28, 2018 11:07 AM

Following the funeral of the 20-year-old Iowa woman found in a cornfield last week, a relative's post on social media about the conversation surrounding the case is gaining traction.

Hundreds of mourners attended the funeral of Mollie Tibbetts Sunday, at which her father asked those gathered to remember her by "celebrating something wonderful," rather than focusing on how she died.


RELATED: Iowa College Student Mollie Tibbetts Remembered at Funeral

Cristhian Bahena Rivera, a man from Mexico living in the U.S. illegally, has been charged with first-degree murder in Tibbetts' death.

The subsequent conversation focusing on immigration law in the context of this case has led one member of Tibbetts' family to speak out.

In a Facebook post last week, Sandi Tibbetts Murphy wrote:

Mollie was a young, intelligent, caring woman with a ready smile and a compassionate heart. So many across the state of Iowa and the entire country embraced her, and us, as we all searched and hoped for her safe return. It was not to be. Mollie was killed, and a man has been arrested and charged with her murder. Yes, that man is an immigrant to this country, with uncertainty as to his legal status. But it matters not. He could have been a citizen, born in this country; he could have been an older, white man from anywhere; he could have been a man from Mollie's world. He is a man, whose path in life crossed that of Mollie's life, with tragic results.

Tibbetts Murphy writes, instead, the "national conversation needs to be about the violence committed in our society" and that "we must be willing to address the way we raise our boys and young men, so that violence is not a part of their response to this world."

Rivera faces life in prison without the possibility of parole, if convicted.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Rebecca Omastiak

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