Mollie Tibbetts was found dead after being reported missing by her family. She was killed by a man who couldn’t take no for an answer. When it was revealed that the man who allegedly killed her was an immigrant to the United States, many people, including Donald Trump, used her death as a rallying call against immigration.
Her family repeatedly asked for this to end; they insisted their daughter would not want her death to be used as a way to incite hate. They wanted to remember Mollie as a source of courage and compassion.
In the days and weeks following her death, not everyone listened to the Tibbetts’s request. On Saturday, her father, Rob Tibbetts wrote an op-ed article in the Des Moines Register again, pleading that Mollie’s death not be used as a “debate pawn.”
“She may not be able to speak for herself, but I can and will. Please leave us out of your debate. Allow us to grieve in privacy and with dignity,” Tibbetts wrote. “At long last, show some decency. On behalf of my family and Mollie’s memory, I’m imploring you to stop.”
He wrote that his daughter would never have stood for the hate being spread in her name. It is a statement the family has repeatedly posted to social media, and reiterated at her funeral.
“The person who is accused of taking Mollie’s life is no more a reflection of the Hispanic community as white supremacists are of all white people. To suggest otherwise is a lie,” Tibbetts continued. “Justice in my America is blind. This person will receive a fair trial, as it should be. If convicted, he will face the consequences society has set. Beyond that, he deserves no more attention.”
He compared Mollie to John McCain, and considered them both to be good people who wouldn’t stand for the kind of hate being directed to the Latino community. He called for the unity that existed when people searched for Mollie.
“For most of the summer, the search for Mollie brought this nation together like no other pursuit. There was a common national will that did transcend opinion, race, gender and geography. Let’s not lose sight of that miracle. Let’s not lose sight of Mollie.”