On Jul. 18, 20-year-old, Mollie Tibbets thought it was the perfect evening for a run in Poweshiek County, Iowa. Then on Aug. 21, she was proclaimed dead. 

At no suprise her family was heart broken. “Our hearts are broken.” Her family then went on to express their thankfulness the support this nation and worldwide gave to their daughter. “We thank all of those from around the world who have sent their thoughts and prayers for our girl…again, thank you for the outpouring of love and support that has been shared in Mollie’s name. We remain forever grateful.”

Despite, the fact that Tibbets was killed by undocumented immigrant, Cristhian Bahena Rivera, and regardless of Republicans pressing for harsher immigration laws – Tibbet’s father, Rob, diminshed the virulence of hate against Hispanics. On his daughter’s funeral this past Sunday, he spoke of his positive feelings for the local Hispanic community. “The Hispanic community are Iowans. They have the same values as Iowans.”

As authorities searched for his daughter, he ate at numerous Mexican resturants. “As far as I’m concerned, they’re Iowans with better food, ” he said.

While, it is not made clear if the family forgives Riveria, it is evident that they are taking the step towards being tolerant toward the person who brutally stabbed their daughter to death and then hid her body in a cornfield.

In the period of debate circulating around Riveria’s immigration status, Mollie’s aunt, Billie Jo Calderwood, doesn’t want her niece’s tragedy to catapult in the sea of political opinions surrounding the tragedy. “I don’t want Mollie’s memory to get lost amongst politics.”

Although, immigration status and laws are pertient to our nation, it is not okay to proclaim bias against a race of people, simply because one happened to kill a college student. As Tibbet’s aunt, puts it, “evil comes in every color.”

In the lieu of hate and controversy, I commend Tibbet’s father and the rest of her family for clininging to an optimistic spirit. Instead of focusing on the hate toward Riveria and instead of treating it as a complete tragedy, it is admirable that the family chooses to focus on who their daughter was as a person; her Instagram bio reading, “it’s a good day to be alive.” In this time of turmoil, it is also wonderful to look at this incident as a celebration. After his daughter’s death, he asked moruners to join him and his family to celebrate her.

“Today, we had to turn the page. We’re at the end of a long ordeal,” he said. “But we need to turn toward life – Mollie’s life – because Mollie’s nobody’s victim. Mollie’s my hero.”


Chiara Elena will plan to graduate in May 2019 with a B.S. in English: Journalism and minors in writing and biblical studies. She has written for Corban University's "Hilltop News" and the Odyssey Online. When she is not writing articles, she adores writing short stories and poetry. She is also working on a novel right now. When not writing, she enjoys reading, hiking, swimming, walks on the beach, adventuring, making music, giving back to special needs children and those experiencing homelessness, and spending time with family and friends.