Man in US illegally charged with the murder of Mollie Tibbetts
Police say the 24-year-old Cristhian B. Rivera known to hunt Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts, led authorities to her body; Matt Finn reports from Montezuma, Iowa.
Children at Corpus Christi Primary school in Oakland, California, were greeted with devastating news Tuesday morning: a former student, Mollie Tibbetts, had been found dead in a field surrounded by corn stalks.
The students were together at a meeting when they heard the news about the soon-to-be University of Iowa second, who had been a student at the school a number of years ago for the move from Iowa. Her father, Rob, still lives in the neighborhood in San Francisco.
Principal Katie Murphy described Tibbetts, 20, as a “sweet” and “kind” girl was friends with everyone.
“Let’s try to be like Mollie. As we celebrate our first day, let’s celebrate her life and are as they are today,” Murphy told the crowd, according to The Mercury News.
MOLLIE TIBBETTS, UNIVERSITY OF IOWA STUDENT FOUND DEAD: A TIMELINE OF THE EVENTS
Tibbetts moved from California to Iowa with her mother and brother more than ten years ago — but to her, Oakland would always be home. Residents in the area on several vigils, hosted fundraisers to increase the reward money and reached Tibbetts’ family throughout the month-long search for clues.
On Tuesday night, investigators found an illegal immigrant from Mexico, is accused of killing Tibbetts and the dumping of her body. The suspect was identified as Cristhian Bathena Rivera, 24.
Kathleen Heafey Boyle, whose son was a classmate of Tibbetts for her cross-country move, asked the public not to turn the 20-year-old girl is the story in a politics — as many with the death of the 32-year-old Kate Steinle who was fatally shot by an illegal immigrant during a walk along the San Francisco pier with her father in July 2015.
“My first reaction is that it is not an illegal immigrant,” Boyle told the newspaper. “It’s about the loss of a young woman. I don’t want it to be about that guy. It is not good.”
MOLLIE TIBBETTS, MISSING IOWA STUDENT, FOUND DEAD, HER FATHER SAYS
Boyle wants to make it clear Tibbetts’ disappearance had an impact than those who immediately knew her.
“Of course we knew her … but if you don’t know her, it’s like everyone had a Mollie, or a son, a daughter, a friend or a girlfriend,” she added.
Alyssa King, who are friends with Tibbetts for years, had a similar attitude — in the hope to keep the focus on Tibbetts’ life.
“It is not the end, we all had hoped,” she told People on Tuesday. “It’s certainly not going to be easy, not for a long, long time. But we have a beautiful sweet angel with all of us … and we will continue to spread her love and life for everyone.”
Murphy said that she was preparing to send a statement about Tibbetts’ tragic death to teachers, students and parents Tuesday.
“It just reminds us once again that we are family,” Murphy told The Mercury News. “They can’t go to Iowa, they can come here and the doors are open for them.”
Jennifer Earl is an SEO editor for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter @jenearlyspeakin.