Federal agents visited the Iowa dairy farm that employed the suspect in Mollie Tibbetts’s death on Thursday.
Officers with the Poweshiek County Sheriff’s Office and agents with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and federal agencies visited Yarrabee Farms in Brooklyn, Iowa on Thursday, the Associated Press reported. In a statement to the AP, Yarrabee Farms did not release details about the visit but said it continues to cooperate with local, state and federal authorities.
Iowa Division of Criminal Investigations Assistant Director Mitch Mortvedt told the AP that just “one or two” state agents were present and deferred questions to the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The two-hour visit, which included meetings with employees and owners, came a day after it was reported that Cristhian Bahena Rivera used an alias to work at the farm. The 24-year-old accused of killing 20-year-old college student Mollie Tibbetts allegedly worked at the farm under the name of John Budd.
Three law enforcement source who spoke to the AP under condition of anonymity reportedly confirmed that Rivera used the name to work at the farm. Rivera, originally from Mexico, was living in the country illegally. One source told the AP that official government documents showed the John Budd alias.
Mortvedt did not immediately respond to Newsweek’s request for comment about the visit to Yarrabee Farms or about Rivera’s alleged alias.
Rivera was arrested on August 21 and charged with first-degree murder in Tibbetts’s death. Tibbetts was abducted on July 18 and reported missing the following day by her family after she failed to show up for work.
An affidavit said Rivera admitted to making contact with the University of Iowa sophomore and told investigators that he followed her with his vehicle in an area east of Brooklyn, Iowa. Rivera said he then parked his car and began running behind and beside Tibbetts.
After Tibbetts warned him she would call police, he said he panicked, got mad and “blocked” his “memory.” He later dragged the victim’s body to a secluded area in a cornfield.
Rivera led authorities to Tibbetts’s body in the cornfield more than a month after her disappearance from the small town of Brooklyn. His arrest prompted Republican lawmakers to blame her death on immigration laws.
Tibbetts’s father, Robert Tibbetts, asked Republicans cease using his daughter’s death as a “pawn” in the immigration debate. In an op-ed for the Des Moines Register, he asked that people stop “appropriating Mollie’s soul in advancing views she believed were profoundly racist.”
Robert Tibbetts also expressed solidarity with the Hispanic community in Iowa.