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Mollie Tibbetts' Family Releases Emotional Statement After Search for Missing College Student Comes to Heartbreaking End

An autopsy is scheduled Wednesday by the state medical examiner to determine the cause of death

The family of an Iowa college student whose body was found in a cornfield near the area she disappeared from while jogging last month released a statement to the public Wednesday. 

"Our hearts are broken," the family said. "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."  

The man charged in the kidnapping and killing Tibbetts is expected to make his initial court appearance Wednesday afternoon.

Cristhian Bahena Rivera, who authorities say is in the U.S. illegally, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Mollie Tibbetts, who disappeared July 18 from Brooklyn, Iowa. He's set to appear at the Poweshiek County Courthouse in Montezuma at 1 p.m. 

A criminal complaint alleges Rivera followed Tibbetts while she was out for a run, abducted and killed her, and dumped her body in a cornfield. Investigators say Rivera confessed to the killing and led them to a body believed to be Tibbetts early Tuesday. 

An autopsy is scheduled Wednesday by the state medical examiner to determine the cause of death.

Court records don't list an attorney for Rivera, who is jailed on a $1 million cash-only bond.

Tibbetts' July 18 disappearance set off a massive search involving state and federal authorities.

President Donald Trump noted the arrest and called for immigration law changes at a rally in West Virginia. And Republican Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said residents "are angry that a broken immigration system allowed a predator like this to live in our community."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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