STREAMING NOW: Watch Now
CLOSINGS: View Closings

Some of Mollie Tibbetts' family don't want her death politicized

Some relatives of Mollie Tibbetts are pushing back against politicians who are blaming the country's immigra...

Posted: Aug 23, 2018 6:33 PM
Updated: Aug 23, 2018 6:33 PM

Some relatives of Mollie Tibbetts are pushing back against politicians who are blaming the country's immigration system for the Iowa college student's death.

A body believed to be Tibbetts' was found in Iowa on Tuesday, a month after she went missing during an evening jog. The man arrested in her death is an undocumented immigrant from Mexico.

Continents and regions

Immigration

Immigration, citizenship and displacement

International relations and national security

Iowa

Midwestern United States

Misc people

Mollie Tibbetts

North America

The Americas

United States

DACA and Dream Act

Government and public administration

Immigration politics

Latin America

Mexico

Political platforms and issues

Politics

Undocumented immigrants

President Donald Trump and other Republican politicians have highlighted the case to argue for stricter enforcement of immigration laws.

But some of Tibbetts' family members, including her aunt, Billie Jo Calderwood, say they don't want her death to be used for political leverage.

"I don't want Mollie's memory to get lost amongst politics," Calderwood told CNN, emphasizing that she's speaking only for herself.

She said her family received an outpouring of love from people of all races, religions and ethnicities during the search for her niece.

"It's not about race, it's about people joining together to do good," said Calderwood, who posted a similar message on Facebook.

Tibbetts' immediate family released a statement Tuesday focusing on their grief and gratitude.

"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. We remain forever grateful."

At a vigil for Tibbetts in Iowa City on Wednesday, Mollie's brother Jake asked those in the crowd to remember the good over the bad, and to appreciate how people across the state and country joined together in the aftermath of her disappearance.

"Remember this as a time that the country came together for one girl. One girl that loved everyone. One girl that loved everything and wanted the best for everyone. Don't remember this as the time that someone made a very poor decision and took a girl away," he said.

"We're going to miss her dearly but, to be honest, what made her so special is she was just like anyone standing here. She loved to run. She loved Harry Potter. She loved the hawks. She loved her family. She was goofy. She was clumsy," Jake Tibbetts said.

One of Tibbetts' second cousins, Samantha Lucas, also told CNN she wants Tibbetts' death removed from political discussion.

Lucas said she didn't know her second cousin well, and isn't speaking for the whole family. But she says knows enough about Tibbetts to believe "she would not want this to be used as fuel against undocumented immigrants."

CNN contacted Lucas after she pushed back against people on social media who mentioned Tibbetts as they railed against illegal immigration.

At the vigil for Tibbetts Wednesday, a friend of the 20-year-old said she didn't want the tragedy to be politicized.

"I also know what Mollie stood for ... and she would not approve," the friend, Breck Goodman, said. "So I don't want her death to be used as propaganda. I don't want her death to be used for more prejudice and for more discrimination, and I don't think she would want that, either."

Huntsville
Overcast
68° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 68°
Florence
Overcast
64° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 64°
Fayetteville
Overcast
64° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 64°
Decatur
Overcast
68° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 68°
Scottsboro
Overcast
64° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 64°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 158701

Reported Deaths: 2680
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson23292377
Mobile16916315
Tuscaloosa10345140
Montgomery10250197
Madison935096
Shelby739063
Baldwin665869
Lee654665
Calhoun459961
Marshall439550
Etowah428551
Houston417034
Morgan416435
DeKalb342629
Elmore320853
St. Clair295542
Limestone287230
Walker279492
Talladega266435
Cullman248024
Lauderdale229442
Jackson215915
Autauga205931
Franklin205531
Colbert202132
Russell19493
Blount193225
Chilton188432
Dallas186627
Coffee177111
Dale176351
Covington174729
Escambia172730
Clarke135217
Chambers135044
Pike134113
Tallapoosa132987
Marion108129
Barbour10339
Marengo101922
Butler101140
Winston92913
Geneva9067
Lawrence85832
Pickens85218
Bibb84014
Randolph82716
Hale76830
Washington74912
Clay74412
Cherokee73814
Henry7176
Lowndes71328
Bullock64917
Monroe64610
Crenshaw60830
Perry5926
Fayette57713
Cleburne5698
Wilcox56812
Conecuh56113
Macon53620
Lamar4965
Sumter47221
Choctaw39212
Greene34216
Coosa2043
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 247587

Reported Deaths: 3131
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby36376562
Davidson31748337
Knox1273889
Rutherford11893114
Hamilton11758109
Williamson710256
Sumner6114110
Wilson469059
Putnam444056
Montgomery421756
Out of TN407935
Madison378079
Sullivan376346
Bradley358723
Washington347651
Sevier335122
Blount334336
Maury330737
Robertson261441
Hamblen246448
Tipton236723
Dyer223732
Unassigned22063
Gibson216244
Hardeman189833
Coffee189425
Obion178822
Trousdale17758
Greene175052
Bedford170920
Fayette169225
Dickson169119
Anderson168814
McMinn164036
Loudon162311
Lawrence161820
Cumberland161025
Wayne16007
Weakley156126
Carter155633
Jefferson155521
Monroe146228
Warren143910
Lauderdale143617
Henderson141626
Hardin139720
Macon134325
Roane13027
Franklin129519
Haywood129527
Overton122717
Hawkins120925
White118814
Johnson11507
Carroll114826
Marshall113810
McNairy112927
Rhea111118
Cheatham106011
Cocke105814
Campbell103012
Bledsoe10174
Smith99113
Lake9853
Giles96936
Fentress91611
Lincoln8973
Crockett86820
Hickman80315
Henry79611
Marion7739
Chester73214
DeKalb73217
Decatur66311
Grainger6114
Grundy57011
Union5433
Claiborne5266
Polk51113
Jackson4525
Humphreys4504
Morgan4437
Houston42017
Benton4199
Unicoi4183
Cannon4152
Clay40613
Lewis4033
Scott3845
Sequatchie3462
Stewart33111
Meigs3276
Perry3082
Pickett2747
Moore2692
Van Buren2071
Hancock1193

Community Events