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Mollie Tibbetts murder suspect ID’d as Cristhian Rivera, 24, living in the U.S. illegally

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Man in US illegally charged with the murder of Mollie Tibbetts

Police say the 24-year-old Cristhian B. Rivera known to hunt Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts, led authorities to her body; Matt Finn reports from Montezuma, Iowa.

An illegal immigrant from Mexico, is accused of killing the student Mollie Tibbetts and dumping her body in Iowa in a cornfield, after he allegedly approached her during a July 18, jog, and she threatened to call the police.

Cristhian Bathena Rivera, 24, was charged with first-degree murder Tuesday in Tibbetts’ death, officials confirmed.

Cristhian Bahena Rivera, 24, was charged with first-degree murder Tuesday in the death of Mollie Tibbetts, a missing 20-year-old student at the university of Iowa.

(Iowa Department of Public Safety)

Authorities said Rivera, who lived in the rural Poweshiek County area, is being held on a federal immigration detainer. He is believed to have been in the field four to seven years.

The body of Tibbetts, a 20-year-old University of Iowa student, was Tuesday found in a field covered with corn stalks. Her father and two sources confirmed to Fox News on Tuesday morning that Tibbetts was found dead; the researchers said later in the day, they were working to formally identify the body.

MOLLIE TIBBETTS, UNIVERSITY OF IOWA STUDENT FOUND DEAD: A TIMELINE OF THE EVENTS

The researchers said they used surveillance footage to identify Rivera. The video showed Tibbetts jogging in a rural area near her home in Brooklyn, and also showed Rivera’s car. She was last seen around 7:30 p.m. on July 18, after she went for a jog around a neighborhood in Brooklyn.

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Mollie Tibbetts murdered: the chronology of the events

Tibbetts’ family begged for her safe return and remained hopeful she would be found alive. Her father, Rob, earlier told Fox News that “somebody knows something.”

Brooklyn, according to her father, is a small town and the “you can do nothing without someone to see.”

Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, received more than 4,000 tips during the investigation, and had about 30 to 40 detectives working on the case.

The researchers followed “hundreds” of these leads — interviewing several hundred people and the recruitment of a nearby hog farm, corn fields and other properties for the traces of the student. Two items Tibbetts usually took with her — a Fitbit and mobile phone remained missing.

MOLLIE TIBBETTS, MISSING IOWA STUDENT, FOUND DEAD, HER FATHER SAYS

Researchers announced last week that they search at five locations in and around Brooklyn, which is also a car wash, just a stone’s throw away from the main commercial strip and a TA truck stop next to Interstate 80, which runs across the whole of Iowa.

Mollie Tibbetts was missing from her residence in the eastern Iowa city of Brooklyn in July 2018.

(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Brooklyn, a town of only 1,400 people, was shaken by Tibbetts’ disappear. Blake Jack, the brother of Tibbetts’ friend, told Fox News on Aug. 8 there was no sign of a battle against the Brooklyn home where she was living at the time.

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Police: Illegal immigrant charged in Mollie Tibbetts’ death

Dalton, Tibbetts’ boyfriend of two years, said that he believed that the doors of the house where his girlfriend, the last time it was left unlocked.

“It’s Brooklyn. You do not need to lock your doors,” Dalton said. “We’re closing our doors now. Every night.”

Vice-President Mike Pence said that he’s “broken” about Tibbetts’ death, and calls the student a “wonderful young woman”. He tweeted that “justice will be served” against the murder suspect.

“We will never forget Mollie Tibbetts,” the vice president added.

We appreciate the quick action by the local, provincial and federal researchers working in Iowa in the detection of an illegal immigrant, who is now charged with first-degree murder. Now, justice will be served. We will never forget Mollie Tibbetts.

— Vice-President Mike Pence (@VP) August 21, 2018

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds shared similar sentiments, calling the news about Tibbetts “heart-wrenching,” and said that Iowans “are angry that a broken immigration system, a predator, such as this living in our community.”

“Mollie Tibbetts, our hearts are broken,” Republican Iowa Rep. Steve King tweeted Tuesday. “We pray for the safe return. You can now with the Lord and your family one day find peace. Justice must now be served. RIP Mollie.”

Fox News’ Katherine Lamb, Lillian LeCroy and Emilie Ikeda contributed to this report.

Nicole Darrah cover breaking and trending news for FoxNews.com. Follow her on Twitter @nicoledarrah.

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