Mollie Tibbetts family urge against ‘politicising’ her murder as Donald Trump uses case to lobby for Mexico wall

Several relatives of Mollie Tibbetts have called for her death not to be politicised after Donald Trump blamed the Iowa college student’s murder on "weak" immigration laws.

Mr Trump said the case showed the need for the United States to build a wall on the Mexico border.

The body of Miss Tibbetts, 20, was found in a corn field in Iowa a month after she vanished while out jogging.

Christhian Rivera, 24, has been arrested and charged with murder, and appeared in a rural court house in Iowa on Wednesday.

Police have said Rivera is a Mexican who was in the country illegally.

His employer, an Iowa dairy farm, said he had looked after cows there, using a fake identity card to pass employment checks and collecting his pay under a false name.

Cristhian Bahena allegedly used a fake identity card to pass employment checksCredit:
Cedar Rapids Gazette

Billie Jo Calderwood, Miss Tibbett’s aunt, said: "I don’t want Mollie’s memory to get lost amongst politics.

"It’s not about race, it’s about people joining together to do good."

Samantha Lucas, a cousin, told CNN she didn’t want the case to be part of political discussion.

She said Miss Tibbetts "would not want this to be used as fuel against undocumented immigrants".

Both relatives emphasised they were not speaking on behalf of the Tibbetts family.

In a video released on Twitter on Tuesday night Mr Trump urged voters in the mid-term Congressional elections in November to vote for Republican candidates in order to secure funding for the border wall.

He said: "Mollie Tibbetts was an incredible young woman, who is now permanently separated from her family.

"A person came in from Mexico, illegally, and killed her. We need the wall. We need out immigration laws. We need our border laws changed. We need Republicans to do it because the Democrats won’t do it.

"This is one instance of many. We have tremendous crime trying to come through the borders. Nobody has laws like the United States, they are strictly pathetic. The wall is being built."

He added: "To the family of Mollie Tibbetts all I can say is God bless you, God bless you."

Kim Reynolds, the Republican governor of Iowa, said a "broken immigration system allowed a predator like this to live in our community".

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