Hundreds gathered at a candlelight vigil held on the University of Iowa campus in honor of Mollie Tibbetts Wednesday evening, and they all reached out to another person for friendship to honor the slain 20-year-old psychology student.
Jake Tibbetts, Mollie's older brother, urged the crowd to meet somebody new, to make a friend. He described his sister as outgoing and “someone who would have made friends with every single person in this crowd tonight if she could,” according to the Des Moines Register. He told attendees to reach out to someone, and make them “feel special.”
Immediately after his request, chatter could be heard across the campus. People were introducing themselves to others, and sparking new relationships in honor of someone. They clearly took Jake's words to heart.
“You can always attribute that friendship you just made to my sister, and that would mean the world to her, knowing that a thousand people just made a friend tonight in her name," Jake said.
Mollie’s online presence is full of positivity.
Her Twitter bio states, “I probably wanna hype you up and tell you you’re pretty.”
On June 8, she tweeted, “Don’t let the deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain be another pair of celebrity suicides. Mental illness is real and can affect anyone. We need to make people feel more comfortable talking about mental health. Be kind and understanding with everyone, including yourself.”
Friends have flocked to her Facebook page to pay tribute to a student who had her whole life ahead of her.
Although the body found earlier this week in an Iowa cornfield has not yet been officially identified, authorities hope an impending autopsy can bring a positive identification and answers as to how she died. Mollie was last seen going for an evening jog in Brooklyn, Iowa on July 18.
Police announced Tuesday that they had arrested Cristhian Rivera, who they said led authorities to a body, hidden under corn stalks on a patch of farmland. According to court documents obtained by Oxygen.com, Rivera, 24 said said he had been following Mollie during her job and that she threatened to call the cops when he approached her, which made him angry. He claimed he blacked out at some point before coming to at an intersection on the outskirts of town, with Mollie's body in the trunk of his car, according to the court documents.
He’s being held on $5 million dollar cash bond only.
[Photo: Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation]