Mollie Tibbetts' mum took in a child of Mexican immigrants

  • Mollie Tibbetts was found dead in a cornfield near her home in Poweshiek County, Iowa, on August 21.
  • Cristhian Bahena Rivera, an unauthorised immigrant living in the area, was arrested and charged with her murder. He has pleaded not guilty.
  • After Mollie’s death, her mother, Laura Calderwood, took in 17-year-old Ulises Felix, a friend of her teenage son and a child of Mexican immigrants.
  • Ulises’ parents fled after political tensions flared in Brooklyn, Iowa when politicians used Mollie’s death to call for tougher immigration laws.

The mother of murdered University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts has taken in the son of Mexican immigrants.

Laura Calderwood took in 17-year-old Ulises Felix, a friend of her teenage son, after the boy’s parents left Brooklyn, Iowa for Illinois after political tensions flared following Mollie’s death, The Washington Post reported in a profile of the family published Friday.

Felix, a friend of Calderwood’s son Scott, wanted to finish high school in the town where he’d lived for more than half of his life.

He moved in with Calderwood after Mollie’s disappearance and murder gained national attention, with politicians including President Donald Trump using her death to rail against illegal immigration.


Read more:
Mollie Tibbetts’ father pleads in op-ed: ‘Do not appropriate Mollie’s soul in advancing views she believed were profoundly racist’

Felix’s parents, who are from Mexico, worked at Yarrbee Farms alongside the man charged with killing Mollie, Cristhian Bahena Rivera, an unauthorised immigrant.

Bahena Rivera had trained Felix at the farm, and had a daughter with his cousin before they separated, according to the Post.

Cristhian riveraThe Gazette/Jim Slosiarek via Associated PressCristhian Bahena Rivera is lead into the courtroom for his initial court appearance on Aug. 22, 2018 in Montezuma, Iowa.

Calderwood told the Post she took in Ulises after debating what Mollie would have done in the same situation.

Mollie’s father, Rob Tibbetts previously told the Des Moines Register that his daughter “vehemently opposed” anti-immigrant views.

Mollie was found dead on August 21 in a cornfield in Poweshiek County, a month after she disappeared while going for a run.

Bahena Rivera has pleaded not guilty to Mollie’s murder. If he is convicted, he could serve life in prison.

Read the full story from the Washington Post ยป

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.