Mollie Tibbetts Murder: What Can We Learn?

Mollie Tibbetts death: Neighbour's security camera leads to police finding body in cornfieldToday, I use news stories about the Mollie Tibbetts (University of Iowa student) murder to teach tips that might benefit you. It is not my intention (or my place) to imply anyone involved did anything wrong. And, only the person facing people-danger has enough information to choose the best course of action.

News Sources

My Summary and Commentary

Mollie Tibbetts, a University of Iowa student, was reported missing about a month before her body was found. Some said Mollie Tibbetts had last been seen jogging. But, social media evidence seemed to imply she had returned home. She was to house sit for her boyfriend and his brother that night.

At first, we wondered if her boyfriend had murdered her. (Most murders are committed by someone known to the victim.) But, he was cleared. Info from her Fitbit showed how far she might have run. Authorities investigated a man who suspiciously photographed female joggers. Later, public interest in the Mollie Tibbetts case focused on a particular pig farmer who refused to take a polygraph test and had once been in a bit of trouble for “stalking” (harassing phone calls to an ex). After all, movies make us think pig farmers are often serial killers.

Authorities found the body of another woman while searching for Mollie Tibbetts. Eventually, someone who lived where she was believed to have jogged provided footage from their outdoor security camera. In fact, the video showed a car circling and following Mollie Tibbetts and a man leaving the car to talk then argue with her.

Police tracked the car to Cristhian Rivera and investigated him. He told them he had spoke to her and become angry. According to him, she threatened to call police then ran from him. He chased her and, apparently, is unclear about what happened from then to when he placed her dead body in a cornfield. (Details are shaky at this point.)

He worked at a farm in the area for four years and is probably a Mexican illegal alien. (In one report, his lawyer disputes that fact.) We can expect politicians to make a big deal out of his immigration status, for their own purposes.

Teaching Points Related to Mollie Tibbitts Murder:

#1 Be easy to find by your loved ones.

Should you be a victim of foul play, or suffer an accident, you want people to notice it quickly and start looking for you. Think how we had no idea another woman was missing (the first body found). But, we all worried for Mollie Tibbitts safety because her family worked hard to find her.

#2 It’s great if we all come together to look for a person missing in suspicious circumstances.

Sadly, in this case, efforts didn’t save Mollie Tibbitts. But, in many other cases, efforts of local authorities plus the FBI plus the public could find a missing person before it’s too late.

#3 Running doesn’t solve every self-defense concern.

Mollie was a good runner. It currently seems she knew she was in danger and decided to run as a strategy. Don’t run from an attacker if you don’t know exactly where you will run and have reason to believe you will get there well before your attacker. Yelling to attract attention is another option. In armored assailant self defense classes, ladies can learn the best way to yell when in danger. And, they can train themselves to avoid angering a potential attacker further while speaking to them. (The wrong words can push a person “over the edge” into doing things they otherwise wouldn’t.)

#4 There is no good reason not to take an armored assailant self-defense class.

One danger of running is that it puts the attacker behind you. It’s harder to fight when grabbed from behind than when grabbed from the front. Another danger of running is that, if you are caught and must fight, you may be out of breath so less able to strike hard. In an armored assailant self-defense class like taught by Model Mugging, IMPACT, Resolve, or FAST Defense, ladies learn effective verbal tactics and to fight an attacker from the front and from behind.

Click here for a list of classes that might be in your area! Or, call whichever is closest to you and see if they could travel to you if you get a group of ten or so friends to take a class with you. If you call a FAST Defense location, tell them Marcy Shoberg asked if they could include rear attacks in their beginner workshop. IMPACT, Model Mugging, and Resolve always include rear attacks in the beginner workshop. I’m also personally available to travel for workshops based on my book Not Prey: Facing the 7 People-Dangers for Young ladies.

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