In a must-read article published Friday, The Washington Post documents the extraordinary empathy shown by the mom of Mollie Tibbetts, the murdered Iowa 20-year-old whose disappearance this summer animated right-wing forces’ vitriol against undocumented immigrants in America. Mollie’s mother, Laura Calderwood, has taken in the teenage son of Mexican immigrants who fled the state in the face of threats and fear because they worked at the same farm as the murder suspect, Cristhian Bahena Rivera. Since the days after the murder, Calderwood has opened her Iowa home to the farm workers’ 17-year-old boy, whose cousin had a child with Rivera. The teenager attends the local high school and is living in a spare room, the Post reports, and is surrounded by stacks of letters, flowers, and gifts sent to the family after Mollie’s death. Tibbetts’ family has strongly rejected attempts to politicize her killing by whipping up anti-immigrant sentiment, as well as those who have exploited it, including President Trump. Notably, her father demanded in a September op-ed that politicians “not appropriate Mollie’s soul in advancing views she believed were profoundly racist.” Rivera led police to Tibbetts’ body and has pleaded not guilty in her death.
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