- Cristhian Rivera, 24 was charged with first degree murder on Tuesday
- Police say he was filmed following Mollie Tibbets in his car as she went for a run
- Officers also say that Rivera had been in the US illegally for at least four years
- Rivera worked at Yarrabee Farms, which is owned by the prominent Lang family
- Owner Dane said Rivera passed background checks and was a good employee
The prominent Republican family which owns the farm where Mollie Tibbetts’ alleged killer worked have insisted that he passed background checks for migrant workers.
Christhian Rivera, 24, who is from Mexico, was charged with first degree murder on Tuesday after leading police to a corn field where Mollie’s body was dumped.
Dane Lang, co-owner of Yarrabee Farms along with Eric Lang, confirmed that Rivera had worked there for four years and was an employee ‘of good standing.’
Dane’s brother is Craig Lang, former president of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation and the Iowa Board of Regents, and a 2018 Republican candidate for state secretary of agriculture.
Dane’s statement said: ‘First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Mollie Tibbetts.
‘This is a profoundly sad day for our community. All of us at Yarrabee Farms are shocked to hear that one of our employees was involved and is charged in this case.
‘This individual has worked at our farms for four years, was vetted through the government’s E-Verify system, and was an employee in good standing.
‘On Monday, the authorities visited our farm and talked to our employees. We have cooperated fully with their investigation.’
The E-Verify site allows employers to establish the eligibility of employees, both US or foreign, by comparing a worker’s Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 with data held by the government.
The employee is eligible to work in the US if the data matches. If it doesn’t, the worker has only eight federal government work days to resolve the issue.
Despite the Lang family using the system, police say Rivera had been in the US illegally for between four and seven years.
Investigators say Rivera followed Mollie in his dark Chevy Malibu as she went for a run around 7.30pm on July 18.
He ‘blacked out’ and attacked her after she threatened to call the police unless he left her alone, officers said.
Rivera was identified by surveillance footage obtained in the last couple of weeks from someone’s home.
It showed him following the student in his car and Mollie running ahead of him. It is not yet clear how Mollie died.