There was hope, initially, that Mollie Tibbetts, the 20-year-old Iowa college student who went missing last month, would be found alive.

Maybe she had left on her own accord (though unlikely) — or maybe someone holding her against her will had just gotten in too deep and was trying to figure a way out.

Maybe there was some huge mistake, some vast misunderstanding, somehow, and all would be explained.

Tragically, none of these scenarios was the case.

The breaking news on Tuesday flooded across televisions, phones and radios, stunning Americans everywhere: Mollie Tibbetts, the bright, beautiful young woman with a loving family and the rest of her life ahead of her, was dead — her body left in an Iowa cornfield, her body covered with cornhusks, so sadly symbolic of the state she called home.

It is no way for a young life in this country to end, no way for anyone’s life, no matter his or her background, to end — and the hearts of Americans everywhere broke as we heard the news.

Worse still came the news that someone who had entered this country illegally had reportedly stalked her as she jogged, frightened her during what would be her last minutes on this earth — and is now charged with murder.

It brought to the minds of many another life that ended so violently almost three years ago exactly — Kate Steinle, 32, killed in 2015 by an illegal alien on a pier in San Francisco, by a gunshot to the head.

Related: Outrage Over Not Guilty Verdict in Kate Steinle Murder

From a metropolitan West Coast city to the rural cornfields of Iowa, illegal immigrants who committed heinous crimes changed two American families forever. The potential contributions to this country by two lives will now forever go unfulfilled.

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It’s far from just two families or two circles of people that are affected by these vicious acts, of course. Crime — whether it’s the illegal drugs that so many Americans are addicted to, or human trafficking, or rampant gang activity, or murder — all of these travesties weaken the collective fabric of America.

Their cost is counted in broken lives, broken hearts and broken dreams, in the big cities, small towns, and everywhere else across this nation.

“The world is getting smaller and Iowa is no different,” one man from that state wrote to LifeZette after hearing the news that Mollie Tibbetts’ dead body had been found and that an illegal alien had been charged with her murder.

“These things happen everywhere, but here in Iowa, we aren’t resigned to that. We are still shocked, still scared, still deeply offended when these things happen in our little corner of the world.”

We must keep up the fight for the toughest of immigration policies and law enforcement directives that demand that those who come to this country do so legally.

He continued, “We are particularly outraged when evil touches our young people. I think of the opening to one of my favorite songs, ‘As I walk through this wicked world’ (from Elvis Costello’s ‘What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace Love and Understanding?’). Seems like we are living that now, in Iowa.”

For the Tibbetts family, the grief is only just beginning, of course, and prayers from Americans everywhere go up for their comfort and peace in the time of their mourning.

For Americans, there needs to be a firm resolve to fight illegal immigration despite the clamor of calls from those who refuse to see the continued carnage and pain — and instead fight for the rights of non-Americans over the rights of legal citizens.

Related: Mollie Tibbetts’ Alleged Murderer Worked Less Than Three Miles from Where She Was Staying

Americans can honor Mollie Tibbetts’ memory and Kate Steinle’s memory — and the memories of all the other victims of illegal alien crime, who get but a brief mention in the mainstream news cycle. We can do that by keeping up the fight for the strongest, toughest of immigration policies and law enforcement directives, which demand that those who come to this country do so legally — an issue that is responsible at least in part for the election of Donald J. Trump to the White House in 2016.

“I am sick — physically, mentally, emotionally — over this needless, senseless crime,” said one mother of four from New York. “And it goes beyond just saying, ‘Our thoughts and prayers go the family.’ This is about our country. This is about all of our children – all of our families, right now in America. We are at risk right here on our soil from those who come here illegally and seek to do us harm in one way or other. We must fight this. We need strong border security, period. We must protect America.”

And as the Iowan who wrote LifeZette said, “Tomorrow we wake up, mentally and physically prepared to face down this scourge on our nation, confident that the good people here will conquer evil in the end.”

His message was signed, simply, “An Iowan.”