Mollie Tibbetts murdered: the chronology of the events
The body of the missing University of Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts was found to be an end to the five week search. Murder suspect Cristhian Bathena Rivera was charged with first-degree murder. Here is a timeline of the events since her disappearance.
The suspect in the murder of Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts is a 24-year-old illegal immigrant from Mexico, who already live in the area for up to seven years, officials revealed Tuesday.
Cristhian Bahena Rivera was held more than a month after the 20-year-old University of Iowa student disappeared, Rick Rahn, special agent in charge with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, said during a press conference. Tibbetts was last seen jogging on the 18th of July, near Brooklyn, Iowa — Poweshiek County, where Rivera lives.
A body believed to be Mollie Tibbetts was discovered earlier Tuesday, and Rivera led authorities to the location, Rahn said, adding that her body was found, hidden in a maize field under different corn stalks.
The suspect told law enforcement he approached Tibbetts, while she was running, said Rahn.
MOLLIE TIBBETTS MURDER SUSPECT ID’D AS CRISTHIAN RIVERA, 24, LIVING IN THE U.S. ILLEGALLY
“He actually tells us that he ran alongside of her or behind her. And then at one point, he tells us that Mollie grabbed ahold of her phone and says, ” you need to leave me alone, I’m going to call the police,'” said Rahn of the interview. “And then she took off in which he, in turn, chased her down. And then he tells us that at a certain point in time that he blacks out and then he comes in the vicinity of an intersection, which we believe, he placed Mollie.”
Rivera revealed to the investigators that he became angry if Tibbetts took her mobile phone, according to the court documents, obtained by The Associated Press. He told the authorities that he panicked and “blocked” his memory.
The defendant claimed that he did not remember what happened after that, but later realized that he would be Tibbetts’ in his truck after finding an earpiece of the headset in his lap, the documents said. He opened the trunk and saw blood on the side of her head.
The researchers said they believed that the suspect was in the area for four to seven years. Homeland Security confirmed his illegal-immigrant status.
“A first-degree murder charges filed today in connection with the disappearance of Mollie Tibbetts, who was last seen jogging in Brooklyn, Iowa on July 18, 2018,” said Rahn. “A complaint, and affidavit names Cristhian Bahena Rivera, 24, who lives in rural Poweshiek County, and he is charged with murder in the first degree.”
A poster for the miss of the University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts hung in the window of a local business on Tuesday in Brooklyn, Iowa.
(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
MOLLIE TIBBETTS, UNIVERSITY OF IOWA STUDENT, FOUND DEAD: A TIMELINE OF THE EVENTS
After Rivera’s arrest, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) “lodged a detainer with the Poweshiek County Sheriff’s Office” on the suspect, who was described as “an illegal alien from Mexico,” the agency confirmed.
With the help of surveillance video that was obtained from someone who live in the area, law enforcement was able to get a vehicle of the suspect, said Rahn. The researchers saw Tibbetts at the video and realized that Rivera “was one of the last to see Mollie,” Rahn added.
Fox News’ Nicole Darrah, Katherine Lamb, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.