Mollie Tibbetts' Suspected Killer Is Undocumented Immigrant

Cristhian Bahena Rivera, 24, has been charged with first-degree murder
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 21, 2018 1:11 PM CDT
Updated Aug 21, 2018 4:19 PM CDT
A poster for missing University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts hangs on the front door of a local business, Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018, in Brooklyn, Iowa.   (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
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(Newser) – Mollie Tibbetts' father confirmed the reports that emerged Tuesday morning: His daughter has been found dead. Rob Tibbetts made the confirmation to Fox News in advance of a 4pm local time news conference, at which time authorities revealed a first-degree murder charge has been filed in the case. The Des Moines Register reports the suspect is Cristhian Bahena Rivera, 24. He lives in rural Poweshiek County, where the body was found; Brooklyn, the town from which Tibbetts vanished, is in that county. Rivera has reportedly lived in the area for four to seven years and is an undocumented immigrant.

  • CNN reports surveillance video helped authorities zero in on a suspect and that data from Tibbetts' Fitbit also provided clues. Officials say Rivera followed Tibbetts as she jogged and allegedly abducted her; they say he led them to a female body, which was in a cornfield and covered with cornstalks, per Special Agent Rick Rahn with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation. "For whatever reason he chose to abduct her," Rahn said.
  • An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday, and should reveal more on how and when she died, though the Register notes it could take as long as six weeks to get the results.
  • The Des Moines Register reported the property where the body was found is a roughly 15-minute drive from Brooklyn. A medical examiner vehicle and SUVs were seen at the scene, and the Register reports a no-fly restriction has been put in place by the FAA over an area that encompasses "460th Avenue near North English River just southeast of Guernsey" through early Wednesday morning.

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