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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Brooklyn Abuela Murdered By Serial Killer Who Targeted Elderly People Who Lived in His Housing Project

Things That Matter

Brooklyn Abuela Murdered By Serial Killer Who Targeted Elderly People Who Lived in His Housing Project

Photo via GoFundme

The families of three Brooklyn elderly women who were slain by their neighbor are struggling to come to grips with what happened.

In early January, 78-year old Juanita Caballero was found dead in her public housing unit, strangled to death with the cord of a telephone.

To the residents of the Carter G. Woodson senior housing project, Caballero’s death didn’t seem like a coincidence. It was the third suspicious death that had occured in the complex since 2015.

In 2015, an 82-year-old woman named Myrtle McKinney was found dead in her apartment. At first, authorities assumed that she died of natural causes. It was only when her autopsy report turned up a stab wound in her neck that they suspected foul play.

83-year-old Jacolia James body was found in her apartment in 2019 by her grandson. It was immediately evident that James did not die of natural causes. Authorities revealed that she had “injuries to her face and neck which were highly suspicious”. It was later determined that the elderly woman was strangled and stomped to death.

Through a combination of forensic evidence and witness accounts, police identified 66-year-old Kevin Gavin as the person responsible for the three murders.

Gavin was a fellow resident of the Carter G. Woodson housing project. He was known around the complex as someone who you could depend on to do you a favor.

“I am confident the defendant took advantage of his relationship with these women, was allowed into their homes, and did unspeakable acts of violence against them,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez during a press conference.

In other words, Kevin Gavin e gained the trust of these elderly women by acting the part of the friendly neighbor–helping them out around their homes and running errands for them. But in the end, he murdered them in cold blood.

At the moment, police believe that disputes over money was the motive for his killings.

Whatever the motive, the families of these three women are distraught.

“All who knew my mother would know she didn’t deserve to have her life ended in such a horrific way,” said Juanita Caballero’s son, Peter, on a GoFundMe page he created to help with the funeral costs.

Peter Caballero also expressed frustration at the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) for not taking action to prevent further deaths sooner.

After the death of Jacolia James in 2019, the NYCHA installed four security cameras in the building’s lobby last year. But plans for an extra 65 security cameras throughout the building were nixed due to budget constraints.

According to the Cabellero’s family attorney, Gavin’s criminal record should have also prevented him from being a resident of the community in the first place.

“You’re not allowed to live in an NYCHA building with a criminal record,” said the Caballero’s lawyer to the New York Post. “He should never have been in the building, irrespective of the clear lack of security.”

“NYCHA failed our families. They failed the McKinney family. They failed the James family. They failed my mother. They had time to do something,” said Juanita’s other son, Steven Caballero to NY1. “I don’t know what it’s going to take for them to put these cameras in the building.”

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More Information Has Come Out About the Man Who Senselessly Shot a Young Woman While She Was Walking Her Dog

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More Information Has Come Out About the Man Who Senselessly Shot a Young Woman While She Was Walking Her Dog

Photo via bella_joy_gardens/Instagram

On June 10th, 2020, a senseless crime was committed. 21-year-old Isabella Thallas was shot and killed while she was out walking her dog with her boyfriend, 26-year-old Darian Simon. Simon, who was shot as well, survived.

Almost immediately after Thallas lost her life, the police were informed of the murderer: 36-year-old Michael Close, who lived in the same building as the couple.

Michael Close had shot the couple from his window with an AK-47. Thallas died almost instantly.

Close was quickly arrested and charged with first-degree murder, first-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault, and possession of a high-capacity magazine during a crime.

But questions piled up as to why Close committed this crime in the first place. Why did he target the couple? Was the murder pre-meditated? How did this unstable man get his hands on an AK-47?

As the police put the pieces together, the motive was shocking. According to Close, he shot and killed Thallas because her dog defecated in the alley behind his unit.

The story he gave police lined up with Darian Simon’s version of events as well. Simon says that he and Thallas were walking their dog together behind their building. Simon commanded the dog to “poop” when he heard Close yelling at him from the window above them.

“Are you going to train that f—ing dog or just yell at it?” Close allegedly yelled out the window at them. When Simon bent down to pick up the dog’s feces, that’s when Close open-fired out the window. Simon was able to run away with wounds to his lower body. Thallas lost her life.

According to Close’s girlfriend, the man had been mentally unwell for a long time.

He had been diagnosed with depression as well as a personality disorder but refused to seek help. He frequently abused drugs and alcohol after being sober for three years.

The murder of Thallas was a culmination of a tumultuous night where he had been drinking and arguing with his girlfriend for hours. Thallas just happened to be the person who was at the receiving-end of his outburst. She was at the wrong place at the wrong time.

And recently, some more disturbing information has come to light about Thallas’s murder.

According to Denver Police, the gun that Close used to murder Thallas was taken from his friend, police officer Sgt. Dan Politica.

The close friendship between a police officer and an unhinged murder is, understandably, drawing questions from the Denver community.

The Denver Police Department confirmed that Close and Politica were “close friends”. Thalla’s mother, Anna Thallas, appears to have even more information on the friendship.

“They’re best friends. Life-long best friends for over 20 years. They grew up together,” she told 9News Denver.

Anna Thallas is angry and frustrated that the Denver police aren’t conducting an internal investigation.

The DPD argues that Sgt. Politica did nothing wrong. Thallas points to his failure to report the rifle missing until after her daughter was missing as a massive red flag. It is also worth noting that Politica has a history of violence and disciplinary actions by the DPD.

According to phone records, Close texted Sgt. Politica before the murder complaining about a dog in his neighborhood. After he murdered Thallas, he left Politica a voicemail saying he “really f—-d up bad.”

“That man should be stripped of his uniform,” Anna Thallas said. “Had that officer acted in his capacity and the oath that he took to serve and protect and was a responsible gun owner, Isabella might still be alive. My daughter might still be here.”

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