Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds condemns immigration system after Mollie Tibbetts’ death


Joseph Cress

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks during her first Condition of the State address in the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. Reynolds took over the governor office in May of 2017.

Sarah Watson, Politics Editor

Amid reports of Mollie Tibbets’ body being found in rural Poweshiek County, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds offered prayers and condolences to the Tibbetts family and called for justice in a press release on Aug. 21.

Officials confirmed that Mollie Tibbetts, who has been missing since mid-July, was found dead Aug. 21.

“Today, our state woke up to heart-wrenching news,” Reynolds said. “As a mother, I can’t imagine the sorrow felt by the Tibbetts family. We are all suffering over the death of Mollie, knowing that it could have been our own daughter, sister, or friend.”

Tibbetts vanished between the evening of July 18 and July 19 and was reported missing after she did not show up for work the morning of July 19.

Reynolds thanked law-enforcement officials for their work on the investigation.

“Over the past month, thousands of Iowans searched and prayed for Mollie’s safe return,” she said. “Now, we are called to come together once again to lift up a grieving family. The search for Mollie is over, but the demand for justice has just begun.”

Authorities have filed a first-degree murder charge against Cristhian Bahena Rivera, 24, in connection with Tibbetts’ death. Officials said Rivera, an undocumented immigrant, led investigators to the body.

Reynolds said Iowans are “angry that a broken immigration system allowed a predator like this to live in our community, and we will do all we can bring justice to Mollie’s killer.”