A Mexican man accused of murdering Iowa university student Mollie Tibbetts was known for years on the dairy farm where he worked under another name: John Budd.
The alias arose when Cristhian Bahena Rivera's employer, a cattle operation owned by a prominent Republican family, has doubts about whether his managers were aware of any warning signs that he was in the country illegally.
The name under which Rivera was hired and paid during the last four years was confirmed by three people with knowledge of their work history.
One of the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Rivera's work identity as John Budd appears in official government records.
Cristhian Bahena Rivera's alias, John Budd, emerged as his dairy farm where he worked in Brooklyn, Iowa. He faces questions about whether they knew he was in the country illegally. He is pictured above last month after being accused of the murder of Mollie Tibbetts
The employer, Yarrabee Farms, refused to confirm or deny Rivera's work identity.
Lori Chesser, an immigration employment lawyer who advises the farm, said companies can not discriminate against workers based on how they look or what their names sound like.
Farm officials have said that Rivera presented an out-of-state photo ID and a social security number when he was hired in 2014, and they believed he was the person listed on those documents until his arrest last month.
The farm followed the legal requirements to examine the documents and determined that they looked genuine on their face and related to the person presenting them, Chesser said.
"Questioning a name or other characteristic would violate the anti-discrimination provisions of the law."
During his four years at the farm near Brooklyn, Iowa, Rivera was called and responded to the name he used in the hiring process, "said Chesser, who lived in a trailer owned by the farm as a benefit of his job, as than half of its 10 workers.
The farm did not use the government's voluntary E-Verify system, which allows companies to confirm the identity and eligibility of employees to work in the US. UU
Police say Rivera went on and confronted Tibbetts while she was out on July 18 in Brooklyn, Iowa, and then stabbed her to death.
Yarrabee Farms refused to confirm or deny Rivera's work identity. Farm manager Dane Lang (above) apologized for initially saying they used the government's voluntary E-Verify system to confirm their identity
The farm manager, Dane Lang, apologized for an error by falsely claiming to have used E-Verify in an initial statement about Rivera's arrest on August 21, hours after he allegedly took the police to the body of Mollie Tibbetts. in a nearby corn field.
It is unclear if E-Verify would have detected a red flag with Rivera's claimed identity, but the farm has said it used a different government service to confirm that the name and Social Security number match.
Police say Rivera followed him and confronted Tibbetts while she went running on July 18 and then stabbed her to death.
He has been jailed on $ 5 million bail while awaiting trial for a first-degree murder charge, which carries a life sentence. The federal government has also filed an immigration detention order, which means you would be subject to deportation proceedings if you are acquitted.
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement refused to comment on whether the agency is investigating Yarrabee Farms, which has said it received dozens of angry phone calls after Rivera was arrested.
Tibbetts' father, Rob Tibbetts, has urged the public not to bring his daughter's death to the divisive racial debate over immigration.
"The person accused of taking Mollie's life is no longer a reflection of the Hispanic community as white supremacists are all white," he wrote in an op-ed for the Des Moines Register.
Tibbetts father, Rob Tibbetts, has urged the public not to bring his daughter's death to the divisive racial debate on immigration
Employers generally do not face legal consequences for hiring a worker with false documents, as long as they are not involved in obtaining them and there is no other obvious reason to suspect that they are fraudulent, said Bob Teig, a retired US attorney in Iowa.
"In unusual circumstances, it would be difficult to prove that they knew more than what they were told," Teig said, adding that it would be "quite racist" to assume that John Budd could not be Hispanic.
If anyone else knew Rivera as John Budd is not clear.
The 24-year-old had a Facebook page with his real name, and his account listed many friends from central Iowa. He has a girlfriend and a young daughter, his former lawyer said.
Rivera did not have an ID issued by Iowa under any name or known criminal record or interactions with the police. It is unclear who owned the car that supposedly used to surround Tibbetts.
Rivera's former defense attorney, Allan Richards, has accused the farm and other employers in the area of closing his eyes to the reality that many of his workers are illegally in the US. UU And they are employed under false documents. He has said that Rivera arrived in the USA. UU When I was around 17 years old and has the equivalent of a middle school education.
Erica Johnson, an advocate who directs the immigration program of the American Friends Service Committee in Iowa, said the case highlights the "precarious position" faced by immigrant workers and their employers.
"We have an immigration system that does not take into account the labor needs or the economic realities of businesses and farms in Iowa," he said. – So, what are you doing? Do not make a racial profile of people and take the information they give you because you need workers?