Mother Of Mollie Tibbetts Takes In Mexican Immigrant Teen With Ties To Her Daughter’s Alleged Killer

Poweshiek County Sheriff's OfficePoweshiek County Sheriff's Office

The mother of Mollie Tibbetts, the Brooklyn, Iowa woman who was murdered last summer, allegedly by an illegal immigrant, has taken in the teenage son of a family with ties to the woman’s alleged murderer, the New York Post is reporting.

Back in July, Mollie, at the time a 20-year-old University of Iowa student home for summer break, disappeared after going for a jog. For weeks, the young woman’s disappearance captivated the nation, as her family held out hope that she might be alive. Unfortunately, her decomposing body was found on August 21, after police were led there by 24-year-old Cristhian Bahena Rivera, her alleged murderer. Rivera was arrested and charged with murder; as of this writing he remains behind bars, awaiting trial.

Rivera was in the country illegally, part of the large migrant farm-working community in the Tibbetts’ part of Iowa, which is largely composed of undocumented Mexican immigrants.

Almost immediately, the topic of illegal immigration came up in discussions of the young woman’s murder. However, Mollie’s parents, Rob Tibbetts and Laura Calderwood, both refused to allow their daughter’s death to be politicized. What’s more, both parents, described in various media reports as “liberals,” actually supported the rights of undocumented immigrants and supported a path to citizenship for them. Mollie’s father, for example, once famously described Iowa’s undocumented farm workers as “Iowans with better food,” as the New York Daily News reported in August.

As it turns out, Laura Calderwood has put that advocacy for the rights of migrants into action.

17-year-old Ulises Felix is an American citizen who is the son of an undocumented migrant family who worked on an area farm. His family has close ties to Mollie’s alleged murderer, Rivera. His parents had “taken care” of Rivera “for a while,” and he says that his (Felix’s) mother prepared meals for Rivera. Felix’s cousin has a child with Rivera.

Unfortunately for Felix’s family, Mollie’s murder stirred up anti-immigrant sentiment in and around the community, and they felt it was unsafe. They fled for bordering Illinois.

However, Felix, who is not an illegal immigrant and who has lifelong ties to Brooklyn, wanted to finish high school in Brooklyn. Fleeing to Illinois wasn’t an option. So, Calderwood and Mollie’s brother Scott, who played on the high school football team with Felix, took the young man into their home.

Mollie’s father, Rob, wrote a guest column in the Des Moines Register in which he claimed that Mollie herself would have found the anti-immigrant sentiment stirred up in the wake of her death “profoundly racist.”