This photo shows the Yarrabee Farms, a cattle operation in Brooklyn, Iowa on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018. Researchers from the local, state and federal agencies were on the farm, in the employ of the defendant charged with the killing of the University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts. (AP Photo/Ryan J. Foley)
BROOKLYN, Iowa – Immigration enforcement agents and state police on Thursday visited the Iowa farm that are in the service and was the man who is accused of the murder of the student Mollie Tibbetts.
Agents of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, and the county sheriff ‘ s office for a period of two hours at Yarrabee Farms, Brooklyn, Iowa, on Thursday morning. She was looking around the property and talk with the employees.
Yarrabee Farms said in a statement that the cooperation with the researchers, who had asked to visit the farm. The company confirmed that the federal authorities spoken with employees and owners of two hours, but it said that it could provide no additional details due to an ongoing investigation.
Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation spokesman Mitch Mortvedt that his agency officers were on the scene assisting the investigators of the Department of Homeland Security and ICE, which took the lead. Mortvedt said that means that the activity is focused on the federal law and not the murder, that his agency leads.
An ICE spokesman and the county’s chief deputy refused to comment.
The activity comes a day after The Associated Press reported that the defendant in Tibbetts’ death, Cristhian Bahena Rivera, worked on the farm with the name John Budd.
Rivera was arrested and accused of murder last month in the stabbing death of Tibbetts, 20, who vanished during a run in Brooklyn on July 18. Researchers say that Rivera was in the U.S. illegally and subject to deportation proceedings.
The farm has about 800 cows, and is the property of a prominent local family with Republican y ties. Rivera, 24, worked there for about four years and lived in one of the trailers for free. The farm has said that it has about 10 other employees, and about half of them live in the provided housing.
Farm managers have said Rivera gave an out-of-state identification and a Social Security number, when he was recruited in 2014, and that they were unaware of his true identity to his Aug. 21 arrest.
Rivera is charged with first-degree murder, which carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison, and is jailed on a $5 million cash-only bond while awaiting trial.
Researchers say that they know Rivera, after receiving the surveillance images show a Chevy Malibu circling in the near Tibbetts on July 18. They later connected Rivera to the car, and say he confessed during an interrogation to approach Tibbetts, in a panic when she threatened to call the police and blacking. Rivera allegedly said that he came to as he was driving Tibbetts’ body in the trunk of his car to a cornfield, where he was buried among the stems.
A medical examiner determined Tibbetts died of sharp force injuries.