Mollie Tibbetts' father says stop using her death to advance 'views she believed were profoundly racist'

A missing poster for Mollie Tibbetts
(Image credit: Charlie Neibergall/The Associated Press)

Rob Tibbetts, the father of Mollie Tibbetts, the Iowa college student whose alleged murderer is in the U.S. illegally, implored immigration hawks to stop using his daughter's death for political purposes in a moving Saturday op-ed:

At the outset, politicians and pundits used Mollie's death to promote various political agendas. We appealed to them and they graciously stopped. 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. But do not appropriate Mollie's soul in advancing views she believed were profoundly racist. [...]Please leave us out of your debate. Allow us to grieve in privacy and with dignity. At long last, show some decency. On behalf of my family and Mollie's memory, I'm imploring you to stop. [Des Moines Register]

Latino people in Iowa report they have been subject to racist robocalls and verbal abuse since Tibbetts was killed. "Our community members are very afraid," a community leader named Joe Henry told a Des Moines CNN affiliate. "We had young people last week who were confronted even walking in parks."

"To the Hispanic community, my family stands with you and offers its heartfelt apology," Rob Tibbetts said in his op-ed. "That you've been beset by the circumstances of Mollie's death is wrong." Read Tibbetts' full plea here, and read The Week's Shikha Dalmia on the despicable politicization of Mollie Tibbetts' murder.

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Bonnie Kristian

Bonnie Kristian was a deputy editor and acting editor-in-chief of She is a columnist at Christianity Today and author of Untrustworthy: The Knowledge Crisis Breaking Our Brains, Polluting Our Politics, and Corrupting Christian Community (forthcoming 2022) and A Flexible Faith: Rethinking What It Means to Follow Jesus Today (2018). Her writing has also appeared at Time Magazine, CNN, USA Today, Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, and The American Conservative, among other outlets.