For 34 days friends, family, the community, and investigators searched for 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts, who went missing after going for a run in the rural area of Brooklyn, Iowa on July 18th. On July 21, her family's worst fears were realized when 24-year-old Cristhian Bahena Rivera confessed to stalking her on her run that day and getting out of his car to run alongside her. Rivera then led the authorities to Mollie Tibbetts' body in a corn field. She had been murdered.
Cristhian Rivera is facing several charges including Murder In The First Degree. He's a Mexican national who had been living in the area for at least four years working on a dairy farm. Rivera claims to have blacked out during the murder and discovered Mollie's bloody body in the trunk of his Chevy Malibu. The Iowa State Medical Examiner performed an autopsy on Mollie on August 22. Here's what we know so far about Mollie Tibbetts' cause of death, plus what does 'sharp force injuries' mean?
1. Multiple sharp force injuries
The Iowa State Medical Examiner conducted an autopsy on the body believed to be Mollie Tibbetts on August 22nd. It was determined that the body was, in fact, the missing college student. The manner of death was preliminarily determined to be homicide resulting from multiple sharp force injuries.
2. What are sharp force injuries?
The report from the state medical examiner does not elaborate on the full meaning of sharp force injuries because under Iowa state law, autopsy reports are confidential, except for the cause and manner of death. According to Medscape.com, sharp force injuries are characterized by a well-defined traumatic separation of tissues, occurring when a sharp-edged or pointed object comes into contact with the skin and underlying tissues. There are three types of sharp force injuries: stab wounds, incised wounds, and chop wounds.
3. What is an incised wound?
A stab wound and chop wound are pretty self-explanatory. What is an incised wound? These types of wounds are caused by a clean, sharp-edged object such as a knife, box cutter, razor, metal, or glass splinter. An incised wound is usually longer than it is deep. In contrast, stab wounds are sharp force injuries caused by a pointed instrument but the depth of the wound is greater than the length of the wound.
4. The politicization of Mollie's death
Some politicians and news anchors are blaming the U.S.'s immigration system for Mollie's death. Rivera is an undocumented immigrant from Mexico. President Trump and other Republicans have used her death to argue for stricter enforcement of immigration laws. However, some of Mollie's family members don't want her death to be used to push for political leverage.
In particular, her aunt, Billie Jo Calderwood, spoke out about this saying, "I don't want Mollie's memory to get lost amongst politics." Calderwood made it clear she was only speaking for herself. She said that her family has received love and support from people of all races, religions, and ethnicities during the search for Mollie. "It's not about race, it's about people joining together to do good," she said.
Mollie's second cousin Samanth Lucas spoke to CNN and said she wants Mollie's death removed from political discussion. She said she didn't know Mollie that well and she isn't speaking for the whole family, but she knows Mollie well enough to believe that she would not want her death to be used as "fuel against undocumented immigrants."
5. Rivera used a fake ID
It was previously reported that Cristhian Rivera was verified through the government's E-Verify program before he started his job at Yarrabee Farms. However, When Rivera applied for the job, he used a Social Security card and ID that were not his. Rivera could have made a request through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) that might have granted him legal status in the U.S. He never did that.
Amy Lamare is a Los Angeles based freelance writer covering entertainment, pop culture, beauty, fashion, fitness, technology, and the intersection of technology, business, and philanthropy. She is deeply devoted to her chocolate Labrador and an avid long distance runner. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook.
Keywords: entertainment and news