Things That Matter

Mollie Tibbetts’ Parents Are Pleading With People Not To Use Her Death For Anti-Immigrant Agendas

The tragic murder of 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts has become an anti-immigration talking point that have some calling it an example of the flawed U.S. immigration system. Tibbetts’s parents have asked politicians and fellow Americans not to politicize the tragic death. Cristhian Rivera, the 24-year-old who’s been charged for the murder of Tibbetts, has been the focal point of discussion because of his legal status in the U.S.

So many questions remain concerning the death of Mollie Tibbetts and how this tragedy ever happened.

Tibbetts, the 20-year-old University of Iowa student, was found dead buried beneath cornstalks on a farm outside Brooklyn, Iowa. She had been missing for over a month after she was was last seen on July 18 jogging near her home. Rivera, who illegally came to the United States at age 17, was charged with her murder on August 22 after he confessed to following Tibbetts on her run. Investigators used surveillance footage to track down Rivera and found video showed Rivera’s car following Tibbetts.

In an arrest affidavit, Rivera said he remembered getting mad at her; what happened afterwards is “blocked” from his memory. A preliminary report from autopsy on Tibbetts’ body shows that her death was a “homicide resulting from multiple sharp force injuries,” the Iowa State Medical Examiner said.

Back-and-forth claims have caused public confusion around Rivera’s legal status including him using a second name.

For the last four years, Rivera worked at Yarrabee Farms, a dairy farm owned by the family of former Iowa GOP official Craig Lang, which initially claimed that Rivera had been vetted as legal to work through the government’s e-Verify system. Yarrabee Farms has since learned he applied for the job under a different name and provided false identification, including a state-issued government ID and social security number. Manager Dale Lang admitted that they didn’t actually vet him through e-Verify as originally stated; according to the Des Moines Register, they erroneously assumed e-Verify was the same as the Social Security Administration’s number verification service, which does not check immigration status or eligibility to work in the U.S

Rivera’s attorney, Allan M. Richards, has acknowledged that Rivera was paid under a different name, but has continued to dispute claims that his client is in the country illegally. Rivera has paid taxes for years and has no criminal record Richards said. He has also implied that his client would have been eligible for citizenship under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) yet there is no record of Rivera making any DACA requests.

While there are questions surrounding the murder case, including the legal status of Rivera and the motive, the family does not want Tibbetts’s death politicized.

Coverage surrounding the tragic murder of Tibbetts has been a two sided story that has seen some media outlets use Rivera’s legal status as the leading narrative. President Donald Trump has led the argument that this case shows the need to maintain stricter border security and kick out undocumented immigrants. Even the White House Twitter account posted a video with accounts of people whose family members had been killed by undocumented immigrants.

“A person came in from Mexico illegally and killed her,” Trump said in a Twitter post. “We need the wall, we need our immigration laws changed, we need our border laws changed, we need Republicans to do it because the Democrats aren’t going to do it.”

The Tibbetts family is trying to put the focus back on Mollie’s death and not the immigration narrative the media has created.

Tibbetts’s cousin, Sandi Tibbetts Murphy, wrote in a Facebook post that Rivera’s legal status doesn’t matter because the tragedy was a result of toxic masculinity, as opposed to a man simply immigrating to the United States.

“He is a man, whose path in life crossed that of Mollie’s life, with tragic results,” Murphy wrote. “He is a man who felt entitled to impose himself on Mollie’s life, without consequence. He is a man who, because of his sense of male entitlement, refused to allow Mollie the right to reject his advances — the right to her own autonomy.”

Instead of using this tragedy to divide a community, many are using to come together.

At least two Iowa festivals dedicated to Latino heritage and scheduled this past weekend were cancelled days before citing heated rhetoric about Hispanics. Manny Galvez, organizer of the Iowa City Latino Festival, said the decision to postpone Saturday’s event was based on “respect for Mollie, her family and friends.” Instead community members of Perry, Iowa came to hold a “Peace, Love and Unity Rally” due to the cancellation of the ¡Viva Perry! Latino Festival.

Rob Tibbetts, the father of Mollie Tibbetts, eulogized his 20-year-old daughter on Sunday that included messages to the Iowa community calling for a refocus on her life. The rally and burial of Tibbetts over the weekend is the turning of a new page. It brings hope that Mollie’s death won’t be remembered as an anti-immigration talking point but a terrible tragedy that brought an entire community together.

“The Hispanic community are Iowans. They have the same values as Iowans,” Rob Tibbetts said at his daughters funeral. “As far as I’m concerned, they’re Iowans with better food.”


READ: Immigration Officers Now Claim A Pregnant Woman’s Husband Is Wanted For Murder In Mexico After A Controversial Arrest

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Alleged DUI Driver Kills A Pregnant Latina

Entertainment

Alleged DUI Driver Kills A Pregnant Latina

Joe Raedle / Getty

Twenty-three-year-old Yesenia Lisette Aguilar was preparing to welcome a new life into her life with her husband this year. Last week she was killed by an alleged drunk driver while the couple was walking down a sidewalk in Anaheim, California.

Aguilar and her husband James Alvarez were walking in Anaheim last week when she was struck by an alleged drunk driver.

A Jeep SUV driven by Courtney Pandolfi, aged 40, jumped the curb of a sidewalk and drove along it before hitting Aguilar. The car narrowly missed James who said that when his wife was struck they were holding hands. At the time of her death worked as a cast member at Disneyland and was nearly 35 weeks pregnant.

Soon after the incident, Aguilar was rushed to the hospital at UCI Medical Center. There, doctors declared her dead and then delivered her baby via cesarean section. Currently, Aguilar’s newborn baby girl, Adalyn Rose, is in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit. She is in critical condition.

Speaking about his wife’s tragic death, Alvarez told KTLA, “It’s like I’m living a nightmare and I’m hoping to wake up soon. But I’m accepting the reality is she’s gone. And my daughter is the only thing that I have left.”

Pandolfi has been detained on single counts of vehicular manslaughter, felony driving under the influence, and driving on a suspended license.

Pandolfi was also taken to the same hospital but for minor injuries.

Soon after her detainment, Pandolfi’s charges were upgraded to murder and felony driving under the influence of drugs causing bodily injury. According to People, police confirmed that this is not Pandolfi’s first DUI arrest. She has previously been convicted of DUIs in 2008, 2015, and 2016. She is currently being held in Anaheim on a $1 million bail.

Speaking about his wife, Alvarez shared that their newborn had very much been wanted by his wife.

“We’ve been trying for two years, and finally, we’re blessed to have a beautiful princess, and we’re a month away from her birth. And all of a sudden, out of a second, my life changed,” he said. “I’m just praying that she is healthy. She’s the last thing I have from her.”

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More Than 1,200 Women And Girls Have Gone Missing In Peru During The Pandemic And Officials Think They Know Why

Things That Matter

More Than 1,200 Women And Girls Have Gone Missing In Peru During The Pandemic And Officials Think They Know Why

Rodrigo Abd / Getty Images

Apart from combating the Coronavirus, Peru has suffered a heartbreaking increase in the number of missing women and girls. Just as hundreds of thousands of women took to the streets to demand an end to gender-based violence, the Coronavirus hit and those same marches have had to be put on hold.

Now, as millions of women are forced to stay at home under strict lockdown orders, they’re spending more time with potentially abusive partners or family members. Many experts believe this combination of circumstances is leading to an increase in domestic violence as hundreds of women in Peru have been reported missing since the start of the pandemic.

Hundreds of women and girls have gone missing since the start of the lockdown.

In Peru, hundreds of women and girls have gone missing and many are feared dead since lockdown orders were put into place to help contain the spread of Covid-19. According to authorities (including Peru’s women’s ministry), at least 1,2000 women and girls have been reported missing since the start of the pandemic – a much higher figure than during non-Coronavirus months.

“The figures are really quite alarming,” Isabel Ortiz, a top women’s rights official, told the Reuters news agency on Tuesday. “We know the numbers of women and girls who have disappeared, but we don’t have detailed information about how many have been found,” she said. “We don’t have proper and up-to-date records.”

Ortiz is pushing the government to start keeping records so that authorities can track those who go missing – whether they are found alive or dead and whether they are victims of sex trafficking, domestic violence or femicide.

The women’s ministry said the government was working to eradicate violence against women and had increased funding this year for gender-based violence prevention programs.

Like many Latin American countries, Peru has long suffered from reports of domestic violence.

Credit: Cecile Lafranco / Getty Images

The Andean nation home to 33 million people has long had a domestic violence problem, but the home confinement measures because of the pandemic has made the situation worse, said Eliana Revollar, who leads the women’s rights office of the National Ombudsman’s office, an independent body that monitors Peru’s human rights.

Before COVID-19, five women were reported missing in Peru every single day, but since the lockdown, that number has surged to eight a day. Countries worldwide have reported increases in domestic violence under coronavirus lockdowns, prompting the United Nations to call for urgent government action.

According to the UN, Latin America has the world’s highest rates of femicide, defined as the gender-motivated killing of women. Almost 20 million women and girls a year are estimated to endure sexual and physical violence in the region.

Latin America and the Caribbean are known for high rates of femicide and violence against women, driven by a macho culture and social norms that dictate women’s roles, Ortiz said. She added, “Violence against women exists because of the many patriarchal patterns that exist in our society.”

“There are many stereotypes about the role of women that set how their behaviour should be, and when these are not adhered to, violence is used against women,” she said.

Before the pandemic, hundreds of thousands of women throughout Latin America, including Peru, were staging mass street demonstrations demanding that their governments should act against gender-based violence.

Meanwhile, the country is also struggling to contain the Coronavirus pandemic.

Credit: Cecile Lafranco / Getty Images

Despite implementing one of the world’s longest running stay-at-home orders, Peru has become one of the hardest hit countries. As of August 11, Peru has confirmed more than 483,000 cases of Coronavirus and 21,276 people have died.

Hospitals are struggling to cope with the rising number of patients and healthcare workers have protested against a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE).

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