Suspect in Tibbetts' murder makes initial appearance

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He said he dragged her 60ft (20m) into a secluded corn field, and allegedly left her body face-up and covered with corn plants.

Rivera says that at some point, he panicked, got mad and doesn't remember what happened next, according to the affidavit.

"You saw what happened to that handsome, incredible young woman".

The body of Ms Tibbetts, who went missing on 18 July, was discovered by investigators on Tuesday after they were led to the scene by Mr Rivera.

Rivera, a 24-year-old Mexican man who officials said came to the USA illegally, largely remained silent in court, answering yes or no questions in Spanish through an interpreter. Rivera next remembers seeing her earphones on his lap, and taking her bloody body out of the trunk of his vehicle, it said.

"Mollie Tibbetts, the young woman in Iowa who was murdered". His bond was set at $5 million and his next court hearing is scheduled for August 31.

But according to federal immigration officials, Rivera is in the country illegally.

The government is incorrectly promoting the idea that Rivera is not in Iowa legally, attorney Allen Richards of Tama said in a court document asking for a gag order in the case.

The Des Moines Register reports that, for the past four to seven years, Rivera worked on Yarrabee Farms, located near Brooklyn, Iowa.

But Mr Rivera's farm employers said he had passed an immigration background check.

"You heard about today with the illegal alien coming in, very sadly from Mexico, and you saw what happened to that incredible, attractive young woman?"

The lawyer asked the court to prevent the government from claiming Rivera is in the country illegally. "We're getting it changed but we have to get more Republicans".

A video of Trump standing on the lawn of the White House was shared by the president on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon, a day after Tibbetts' body was found.

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Law enforcement officials Tuesday said he was an undocumented immigrant, which immediately fueled political debate, including comments from President Donald Trump and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds. Similarly, a study from Northwestern University found no correlation between immigrants and violent crime. In fact, some have shown that undocumented immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than native-born citizens.

That hasn't stopped people from seizing on another powerful anti-immigration anecdote.

Williams showed viewers the Brooklyn, Iowa, neighborhood where the 20-year-old University of Iowa was last seen alive.

The killing has recharged the USA debate over illegal immigration after it emerged the suspect was Mexican.

Investigators believe Rivera abducted Tibbetts while she was out on a jog July 18.

Authorities and dozens of volunteers searched for her for more than a month, combing cornfields and barns and scouring her Fitbit data and social media accounts for clues.

It showed Tibbetts jogging and Rivera's auto - and was a critical clue in identifying a suspect.

Rick Rahn, special agent in charge at the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, said the suspect's motive was unclear.

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

We Are Iowa published a statement from the Langs saying their family farm follows employment laws, and verifies the legal status of all employees.

They thanked "all of those from around the world who have sent their thoughts and prayers for our girl".

Trump has often suggested, erroneously, that undocumented immigrants are more unsafe than United States citizens.

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