After the arrest of the suspect in Mollie Tibbetts‘ killing, right-wing media jumped on the revelation that her alleged killer was an undocumented immigrant from Mexico. The tragic story was quickly used as propaganda in the ever-growing rhetoric seeking to demonize Latin American immigrants.
But as that narrative was under way, members of Tibettts’ family spoke out on social media and rebuked attempts to use her murder to paint all immigrants in the same light. In a Facebook post late last month, Tibbetts’ aunt Bille Jo Calderwood reminded people that evil “comes in EVERY color.” Calderwood also shared a Facebook post from another apparent family member, Kasie Schultz Taylor, who wrote: “What happened to Mollie was an awful, heinous act. But please do not compound the atrocity of what happened to her by adding racism and hate to the equation.”
Now her father is speaking out. His message is simple: Don’t exploit my daughter’s death to promote a racist agenda.
“I encourage the debate on immigration; there is great merit in its reasonable outcome,” Rob Tibbetts wrote in an op-ed for the Des Moines Register on Saturday. “But do not appropriate Mollie’s soul in advancing views she believed were profoundly racist.”
Tibbetts, the 20-year-old Iowa college student who was reported missing more than a month ago, was found dead in an Iowa cornfield on August 22. On the same day, authorities charged 24-year-old Cristhian Bahena Rivera with her murder. Rivera’s lawyer said he was in the country legally at the time of Tibbetts’ murder.
“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.”
“She may not be able to speak for herself, but I can and will,” he continued. “Please leave us out of your debate. Allow us to grieve in privacy and with dignity. At long last, show some decency. On behalf of my family and Mollie’s memory, I’m imploring you to stop.”
He also also took aim at Donald Trump Jr., who wrote in an op-ed published Friday that Democrats’ reaction to Mollie’s death was “despicable,” adding that “open borders” and other liberal policies were responsible for her killing, Trump said.
Using Trump Jr.’s own words, Tibbetts wrote that using his daughter’s death for political reasons “grievously extends the crime that stole Mollie from our family and is, to quote Donald Trump Jr., ‘heartless’ and ‘despicable.'”
Read Rob Tibbetts’ full op-ed here.
Featured image via Facebook