Cristhian Bahena Rivera.

A man from Mexico who authorities say was living in the U.S. illegally has been charged with murdering Mollie Tibbetts. His employer — a business run by a family that’s been influential in Republican Party politics — said he passed an “E-Verify” check.

Yarrabee Farms, a dairy operation near Brooklyn, is owned by the Lang family. Craig Lang is a former Iowa Farm Bureau president who ran in the Republican Primary for state agriculture secretary this past June. He also served one term on the Iowa Board of Regents, the board the governs the three state universities.

His brother, Eric, runs the operation. Eric’s wife, Nicole Schlinger, is president of Campaign HQ, which works to raise money and identify voters for conservative organizations and political candidates.

The family-owned Yarrabee Farms issued a written statement last night, saying they were shocked to hear one of their employees had been charged with murdering Tibbetts. They confirmed 24-year-old Cristhian Bahena Rivera had worked at the farms for four years, had been “vetted through the government’s E-Verify system, and was an employee in good standing.”

The man charged with murdering Tibbetts was interviewed by investigators Monday. Authorities say Rivera led them “by memory” to the site in a corn field where he hid her body.

Statement from Yarrabee Farms
First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Mollie Tibbetts. This is a profoundly sad day for our community. All of us at Yarrabee Farms are shocked to hear that one of our employees was involved and is charged in this case.
This individual has worked at our farms for four years, was vetted through the government’s E-Verify system, and was an employee in good standing. On Monday, the authorities visited our farm and talked to our employees. We have cooperated fully with their investigation.
Yarrabee Farms follows all laws related to verifying employees are legal to work in the United States, and we regularly seek outside counsel to ensure we stay up-to-date on employment law matters. We keep records on all employees and have shared that information with authorities.
We appreciate the hard work of law enforcement officials. We will continue to cooperate with authorities as the investigation moves forward