The Trump administration has repeatedly seized on crimes committed by undocumented immigrants as a way to push hardline immigration policies. A body believed to be Tibbetts' was found buried beneath cornstalks on a farm outside town. The way many people see it, if a foreign national, apparently in the country illegally, kills an American citizen, it underscores the urgency of Trump's message of putting Americans first.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement has issued a detainer on Rivera, and a hearing on his immigration status is still pending.
But this week, the image of Cristhian Bahena Rivera transformed in a matter of hours. Rivera is from Mexico and had allegedly seen Mollie out jogging in the past.
On this News Buzz edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks to Chris Larimer, professor of political science at the University of Northern Iowa, about the response to the Tibbetts case by politicians from Iowa and across the nation, including Senator Ernst's call to reconsider "Sarah's law".
"Today's Democrats are not just extreme, they are really not in a position to govern", he said. Investigators say Cristhian Bahena Rivera led police to the body on Tuesday in a cornfield outside of Brooklyn, Iowa. President Trump said in a Thursday interview on Fox News, "She was killed by a terrible person that came in from Mexico, illegally here".
Rudd said the harassment she faces is usually verbal, but sometimes a man will try to touch her butt or block the sidewalk so she has to run in the street to avoid "accidentally" brushing against him.
Earlier this week, investigators said they were uncertain how Tibbetts was killed or whether she was sexually assaulted.
Lang said his farm has received dozens of calls since Rivera's arrest, many of them including threats to his property, and even his dog.
In video posted on Twitter late Wednesday, Trump proclaimed that Tibbetts has been "permanently separated from her family"-a choice of words that was in all likelihood not accidental-and said "we need the wall, we need our immigration laws changed".
But others around town, including Rivera's defense lawyer, question whether the family had to have had suspicions, if not known, about Rivera's immigration status.
On Wednesday morning, Fox host and former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich sent a warning to Democrats in an email to Axios: "If Mollie Tibbetts is a household name by October, Democrats will be in deep trouble".
Federal authorities believe Rivera, originally from the Mexican Pacific Coast town of Guayabillo, has been in the United States illegally for between four and seven years. The survey showed that 68 percent of hired farmer workers were born in Mexico.
The Republican Party could score big in the midterms if Mollie Tibbetts, a woman thought to have been murdered by an illegal immigrant, becomes a "household name", Newt Gingrich has mused, inciting fury on social media.