The illegal migrant farm worker accused of killing schoolgirl Mollie Tibbetts used a fake ID to pass background checks, his employers say.
Cristhian Rivera, 24, was working at Yarrabee Farms in Iowa when he allegedly followed Tibbetts in his car before killing her when she threatened to call police.
Dane Lang, co-owner of the farm, previously said that Rivera had worked there for four years and passed all background checks, despite police saying he had been in the US illegally the entire time.
Now Lang has revealed that Rivera used a fake ID and social security number to cheat the Social Security Administration verification system, which the farm used.
Cristhian Rivera, 24, is accused of killing schoolgirl Mollie Tibbetts while working as a farmhand at Yarrabee Farms, in Iowa, on July 18
Dane Lang, co-owner of the farm, has revealed that Rivera used a fake ID to pass background checks and that his colleagues knew him by another name
Rivera allegedly followed Mollie in a truck that he registered under a false name before killing her when she threatened to call police then dumped her body in a corn field
‘What we learned within the last 24 hours is that our employee was not who he said he was,’ Lang told the New York Post.
Employees did not know him as Rivera because he used a different name at work, Fox News reported.
Police also revealed that the dark-colored Chevy Malibu Rivera was seen driving in CCTV footage on the night Tibbetts vanished was also not registered in his name.
Investigators did not reveal the false identity which Rivera used.
Lang previously said Rivera had been checked using the the federal E-Verify program, though later said that had been a mistake.
Authorities insist that Rivera has been in the US illegally for between four and seven years, though his lawyers say otherwise.
During his first court appearance on Wednesday, lawyer Allan Richards insisted Rivera was in the country legally and ‘has the legal documents’ to prove it, though he did not produce any of those documents.
Richards also revealed that Rivera first came to America as a minor, has held a job since then and has no prior criminal record.
His client remained largely silent throughout the bail hearing, answering ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to questions which were read to him through an interpreter.
A judge ordered Rivera to be held in lieu of a $5million bond.
The news comes after President Trump used Tibbetts’ case to renew his calls for a border wall between the US and Mexico.
Trump lashed out at America’s ‘pathetic’ immigration laws for allowing an illegal immigrant to allegedly murder Tibbetts.
However, Tibbetts’ aunt also spoke out to say ‘evil comes in every color’, as her family plead for her death not to become a political tool.
Trump posted a clip of him demanding tougher immigration rules just hours after Rivera appeared in court for the first time.
In a video he posted on Twitter on Tuesday, filmed on the White House lawn, he said that Mollie was ‘an incredible young woman’ had been killed by someone who ‘came in from Mexico illegally.’
‘We need the wall, we need our immigration laws changed, we need our border laws changed,’ he said.
‘We need Republicans to do it because Democrats aren’t going to do it.
‘This is one instance of many. We have tremendous crime trying to come though the borders.
‘We have the worst laws anywhere in the world. Nobody has laws like the United States. They are strictly pathetic.’
He added that, while the wall is ‘being built’ he needed more funding to continue.
He also had a message for the family of Mollie Tibbets; ‘All I can say is god bless you, god bless you.’
It’s unlikely the family will have welcomed the appeal in Mollie’s name as several family members have been outspoken in their calls for her death not to be used as a political pawn.
‘Please remember, Evil comes in EVERY color,’ her aunt Billie Jo Calderwood wrote on Facebook Tuesday color’; her cousin attacked conservative activist Candace Owens
On Tuesday, Rivera led police to Mollie Tibbetts’ body. She had been missing since July 18
While her cousin, Samantha Lucas, attacked the conservative right for ‘generaliz(ing) a whole population based on some bad individuals.’
‘Stop… using my cousins death as political propaganda. Take her name out of your mouth.’
On Wednesday, Rivera made his first appearance at the Poweshiek County Courthouse flanked by sheriffs’ deputies at 1pm.
He remained in the same black and white striped jumpsuit he was photographed in on Tuesday and required the services of two translators throughout the hearing.
Among those in the public gallery were the mother of his child and his three-year-old daughter.
At the beginning of the hearing, Rivera’s attorney Allan Richards argued to ban the media from the trial and asked that it become private. He also submitted court records claiming Rivera was in the country legally and had been since he was a minor.
On Wednesday, Rivera’s employer walked back that claim and said they used the wrong system to check his eligibility to work in the US. Rivera, they said, provided them with a different name and someone else’s social security number which is what they ran through government checks.
Nonetheless, Rivera’s lawyer cautioned against a desire to portray him as ‘something that he is not’ during Wednesday’s hearing.
Despite his efforts, the judge denied his requests and increased Rivera’s bond from $1million to $5million cash. Rivera said nothing other than answering yes and no to his interpreter when prompted.
If convicted, Rivera could face deportation or life imprisonment without parole. The judge on Thursday said he may also have to register as a sex offender.
He did not understand his right to waive his preliminary hearing and conferred with his attorney for a brief moment.
His privately retained lawyer said that he came to the US as a ‘minor’ and had been living quietly and respectably for the last several years working for a ‘respectably’ member of the community – the brother of a prominent Iowa GOP member.
President Trump has since jumped at the opportunity to use Rivera as an example why the US needs a border wall and stricter immigration policies – branding the current ones ‘pathetic’
Several family members of Mollie have been outspoken in their calls for her death not to be used as a political pawn
Samantha Lucas, attacked the conservative right for ‘generaliz(ing) a whole population based on some bad individuals’
Rivera was caught after police traced his vehicle which had been filmed on surveillance cameras following Mollie as she jogged in Brooklyn, Iowa, on July 18.
He attacked her when she refused to talk to him and threatened to call the police.
Prosecutors argued for his bond to be increased for the safety of the community.
‘We think it is appropriate given the severity of the charge, what his immigration status as it’s been described and the fact that what he is accused of is obviously a very heinous crime the safety of the community should be at the forefront of the court’s mind,’ Assistant Attorney General Scott Brown said.
Judge Johnson agreed with the prosecution at every turn.
She allowed the media to remain in the room and refused Rivera’s attorney’s request to make the hearing private.
In asking that bail be set at a ‘reasonable’ amount, Rivera’s attorney said: ‘Cristhian is a young man.
‘He’s been working for a number of years for a respectable person in this community, he has no prior history, he sits here presumed evidence and so far no evidence has been submitted.
‘When he came to this country as a minor, he had the mental capacity of an eighth grader.’
After the hearing, Yarrabee Farms, where he had worked, held a press conference to say they could no longer be sure, as they once had been, that he in fact was in the country legally.
While Rivera passed their E-verification check with the information he gave them, the company now says he provided a different name. The next time he will return to court is on August 31 at 2pm.
Rivera had two interpreters – one provided by the court and one retained by his attorney
Rivera’s three-year-old daughter was in the public gallery along with her 25-year-old mother
One of his relatives cried as she watched him be led away by deputies at the end of the hearing
Richards also said Rivera had been treated unfairly since he was arrested and claimed the characterization of him by police in Iowa and by ICE that he is an ‘illegal alien’ is inaccurate and politically motivated.
‘In this case, the coverage that’s out there is leaning all one way and the fact the government has weighed in at the highest levels… there’s a predisposition that this young man, Cristhian, is guilty.
In this case, the coverage that’s out there is leaning all one way and the fact the government has weighed in at the highest levels
‘In our system he is entitled to a presumption of innocence,’ he said.
He then addressed this ‘politically controversy’ of ‘portraying Cristhian as something that he isn’t.’
‘It’s a political payback for what’s swirling around and the media is feeding in to it,’ he went on.
On Tuesday, Rivera’s employer said they verified his legal status when they employed him four years ago.
At the end of the 40-minute session on Thursday. The man’s 25-year-old ex-girlfriend was wrought with anxiety. She held their daughter on her lap throughout.
Other people in the court were visibly emotional as he was led away.
Minutes before Rivera entered the court, they broke their silence with a statement which read: ‘On behalf of Mollie’s entire family, we thank all of those from around the world who have sent their thoughts and prayers for our girl.
‘We know that many of you will join us as we continue to carry Mollie in our hearts forever.
‘At this time, our family asks that we be allowed the time to process our devastating loss and share our grief in private.
Rivera is shown leaving court on Wednesday in a prison jumpsuit. He appeared to be wearing a protective vest beneath it
Iris is pictured leaving the court on Wednesday carrying their three-year-old daughter
MOLLIE TIBBETTS FAMILY STATEMENT ON HER MURDER
Our hearts are broken. On behalf of Mollie’s entire family, we thank all of those from around the world who have sent their thoughts and prayers for our girl.
We know that many of you will join us as we continue to carry Mollie in our hearts forever.
At this time, our family asks that we be allowed the time to process our devastating loss and share our grief in private.
Again, thank you for the outpouring of love and support that has been shared in Mollie’s name.
‘Again, thank you for the outpouring of love and support that has been shared in Mollie’s name.’
Within minutes of the court hearing finishing on Wednesday, Rivera’s employers at Yarrabee Farms said he had not, as they thought, passed an immigration background check.
What we learned in the last 24 hours is that or employee was not who he said he was.
‘First when anyone applies, they must provide required government identification. In this case, the individual provided a state issued photo ID and a social security card.
They are required for us to complete an i9. Our practice is to take a second enhanced step to verify.
‘We ran that information through the verification process and the information came back verified.
‘That means the exact name, birth day and social security number were all cross referenced.
‘What we learned in the last 24 hours is that or employee was not who he said he was.
‘And just within the last four hours, we have come to learn the SSN verification service is not the same as E-verify.
‘They are not the same systems and we apologize for any confusion this caused with our earlier statements,’ Dane Lang said.
A Department of Homeland Security official also confirmed that there was no record of Rivera applying for legal status or being given it.
POLITICIANS CALL FOR TIGHTER IMMIGRATION LAWS AFTER MOLLIE TIBBETTS’ MURDER
President Donald Trump was among the first to turn talk about the tragedy of Mollie Tibbetts’ murder to calls for tighter immigration laws on Tuesday after it was revealed the 20-year-old Iowa student was murdered by a suspected illegal alien.
According to police, Mexican national Cristhian Rivera, 24, has been living in Iowa and working illegally for anywhere between four and seven years. His attorney Allan M. Richards stated in a court document filed Wednesday that an employer has said Rivera was in the U.S. legally.
At a rally in West Virginia on Tuesday night, Trump said the ‘incredible, beautiful’ young woman’s death should never have happened.
‘You heard about today with the illegal alien coming in very sadly from Mexico and you saw what happened to that incredible, beautiful young woman.
‘Should have never happened. Illegally in our country. We’ve had a huge impact but the laws are so bad.
Iowa’s Governor Kim Reynolds said she and the rest of the state were ‘heartbroken’ by the discovery of Mollie’s body.
She blamed the young woman’s death on the country’s ‘broken’ immigration system, tweeting: ‘As Iowans, we are heartbroken and we are angry.
.We are angry that a broken immigration system allowed a predator to live in our community and we will do all we can to bring justice to Mollie’s killer.
‘Over the past month, thousands of Iowans searched and prayed for Mollie’s safe return.
‘Now, we are called to come together to lift up a grieving family. The search for Mollie is over, but the demand for justice has just begun.’
Former congressman Joe Walsh said: ‘Mollie Tinnetts would be alive today if this nation enforced its immigration laws.
‘A 20-year-old American girl was murdered by a damn illegal. A person who shouldn’t have ever been in this country!
Mollie Tibbetts had her whole life ahead of her. But because of an illegal, she’ll never get to live it.
‘First, Kate Steinle. Now, Mollie Tibbetts. Unacceptable.’
Gov. Mike Huckabee said he was ‘sick to his stomach’.
‘Suspect is illegal immigrant. If found guilty he will be reminder why sanctuary cities and open borders are as stupid as the politicians who promote them.’
U.S. Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst vowed: ‘We cannot allow these tragedies to continue.’