Slain college student Mollie Tibbetts attended the same school as her accused killer's ex-girlfriend. The two girls were also Facebook friends, but in a small town like Brooklyn, Iowa, it's unclear if they were really friends.
Iris Monarrez, who has a 3-year-old daughter with suspect Cristhian Rivera, lived in a red trailer on the farm where Rivera worked until they broke up last year. Monarrez was just one grade above Tibbetts at their high school and their graduating classes only had about 40 students each.
The 24-year-old accused of killing Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts — who had been missing for a month until her body was discovered on Tuesday— had no criminal record before he was charged this week with first-degree murder.
And so, among the mysteries still swirling in the case, is the nagging question: What may have motivated someone like that to do something like this?
“All of a sudden he just does it,” says Mitch Mortvedt, assistant director of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, referring to suspect Cristhian Rivera. “Who escalates to abduction, kidnapping and homicide that fast?”
“That is part of the ongoing investigation,” Mortvedt tells PEOPLE. “We want to dig into his background — and not just the last four weeks. Who is this guy? Where has he been? What has he done? How can we verify that?”
Mortvedt says Rivera was not on the “radar” of investigators for much of the nearly five weeks they searched for Tibbetts after she was reported missing on July 19.
Tibbetts, a 20-year-old psychology student at the University of Iowa, was last seen alive the night of July 18, on her regular evening run around her hometown of Brooklyn, Iowa.
The reaction from some Democrats and others on the left to the murder of Mollie Tibbetts is as despicable as it is revealing.
The mask is off and the true radical face of the Democrats has been exposed. They are seemingly more concerned with protecting their radical open-borders agenda than the lives of innocent Americans.
When asked about Mollie’s murder, Sen. Elizabeth Warren — who is for some reason considered a leading contender for the Democrats’ 2020 ticket — played down the killing and said the focus should be on the “real problems” of our immigration system, such as the separation of families at our border.
Think about that for a minute. She apparently believes that illegal alien parents being separated from their children is a bigger problem than American parents having to bury theirs.
Tibbetts said the family was “grateful” to those who respected their pleas to not turn his daughter’s death into a political confrontation.
“Sadly, others have ignored our request,” he wrote. “They have instead chosen to callously distort and corrupt Mollie’s tragic death to advance a cause she vehemently opposed.”
President Donald Trump — who has not contacted the Tibbetts family to offer condolences — immediately posted a video about Mollie’s death on Twitter, saying: “We need the wall ... we need our immigration laws changed.” He also referenced her death to push his anti-immigrant views at a West Virginia rally.
While Rob Tibbetts wrote that he encourages debate on immigration, he added: “Do not appropriate Mollie’s soul in advancing views she believed were profoundly racist. The act grievously extends the crime that stole Mollie from our family and is, to quote Donald Trump Jr., ‘heartless’ and ‘despicable.’”