The father of Mollie Tibbetts, the Iowa college student whom authorities say was killed by an undocumented immigrant, urged in an opinion piece published Saturday against his daughter's death being used to advance "racist" views against immigrants.
"At the outset, politicians and pundits used Mollie’s death to promote various political agendas. We appealed to them and they graciously stopped," Rob Tibbetts wrote in an opinion piece for the Des Moines Register. For that, we are grateful."
"Sadly, others have ignored our request. They have instead chosen to callously distort and corrupt Mollie’s tragic death to advance a cause she vehemently opposed. I encourage the debate on immigration; there is great merit in its reasonable outcome," he continued. “I encourage the debate on immigration; there is great merit in its reasonable outcome. But do not appropriate Mollie’s soul in advancing views she believed were profoundly racist.”
“The person who is accused of taking Mollie’s life is no more a reflection of the Hispanic community as white supremacists are of all white people," Rob Tibbetts added. "To suggest otherwise is a lie. Justice in my America is blind. This person will receive a fair trial, as it should be. If convicted, he will face the consequences society has set. Beyond that, he deserves no more attention.”
The op-ed echoes similar pleas from other relatives of Mollie Tibbetts.
“No, no and no,” Sandi Tibbetts Murphy, Mollie Tibbetts' cousin posted on Facebook. “Especially for those of you who did not know her in life, you do not get to usurp Mollie and her legacy for your racist, false narrative now that she is no longer with us. We hereby reclaim our Mollie.”
Samantha Lucas, Tibbetts's second cousin, said Mollie Tibbetts would not want her death to be used as “fuel against undocumented immigrants.”
Tibbetts's body was found late last month after having been missing for more than a month.
She disappeared while jogging in the town of Brooklyn, Iowa. Her cause of death in a preliminary report was listed as a "homicide resulting from multiple sharp force injuries," the Iowa State Medical Examiner told CNN.
President Trump was quick to cite her murder as a call for stricter immigration.
He tweeted a video shortly after her body was found saying, “A person came in from Mexico illegally and killed her. We need the wall, we need our immigration laws changed, we need our border laws changed. … This is one instance of many. We have tremendous crime trying to come through the borders.”