Farm That Hired Illegal Immigrant Accused of Killing Mollie Tibbetts Didn’t Use E-verify

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
August 23, 2018US News

The Iowa farm that employed the illegal immigrant accused of killing Mollie Tibbetts actually didn’t use the E-Verify system after initially claiming it did.

Yarrabee Farms co-owner Dane Lang said late on Aug. 22 that the farm didn’t use the system, after claiming it had used it to vet Cristhian Rivera earlier in the day.

Illegal Immigrant Used Fake ID

Lang said that Rivera presented a state-issued photo ID and a social security card when applying to work at the farm, which enabled him to pass an I-9 (state check) and social security verification. But the identity the illegal immigrant presented was fake.

“What we learned within the last 24 hours is that our employee was not who he said he was,” Lang said at a press conference on Aug. 22, reported the Des Moines Register.

Lang said he mistakenly believed the Social Security Administration’s number verification service was E-Verify, but later learned that it wasn’t.

Lang declined to share the fake identity that Rivera was using.

A lawyer representing Rivera, who officials said confessed to killing Tibbetts on July 18 and led officials to her body in a remote cornfield near her hometown of Brooklyn, claimed his client was actually in the country legally but federal officials said there’s no data to support that claim.

Mollie Tibbetts' final moments
This undated photo provided by the Iowa Department of Public Safety shows Cristhian Bahena Rivera. (Iowa Department of Public Safety via AP)

“A search of records by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services revealed Rivera did not make any DACA requests nor were any grants given. We have found no record in our systems indicating he has any lawful immigration status,” a spokesperson for the services told Fox News.

Jessica Vaughan, the director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies, told the outlet that identity fraud is the most common way illegal immigrants get jobs. She said there are identity vendors around the country that sell fake identifications, including from people in jail.

“There have been cases of inmates selling their identities because they are incarcerated and don’t need them,” she said.

A report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration released in 2017 stated that hundreds of thousands of people were victims of identity theft.

Investigators believe that Rivera arrived in the United States between four and seven years ago; he worked for Yarrabee Farms for four years in day-to-day operations with cows and lived in a mobile home on the farm property. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have lodged an immigration detainer for Rivera, meaning he could be deported.

Alleged killer of Mollie Tibbetts worked at farm
Mollie Tibbetts, seen in a file photo, was found dead on Aug. 21, 2018. Her alleged killer was identified as an illegal immigrant who was working at a farm in Iowa for four years. (

Became Angry at Tibbetts

Rivera, 24, told investigators that he became angry at Tibbetts, 20, when she threatened to call the police on him.

The college student was jogging near Brooklyn, doing a circuit from and to the house of her boyfriend, where she was dogsitting while he was away on a work trip.

Rivera, driving a vehicle he may have also obtained using his fake identity, spotted Tibbetts while driving nearby.

He pulled over, got out, ran behind her, and then ran alongside her.

That’s when Tibbetts whipped out her phone and threatened to call the police.

According to the probable cause statement, that was one of the final moments of Tibbetts’ life.

“Rivera said he then panicked and got mad and that he then ‘blocked’ his ‘memory’ which is what he does when he gets very upset,” investigators stated. The next thing he knew, he was back in his car driving, with Tibbetts’ dead body in his trunk.

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