A press conference was held at 4pm local time on Tuesday, August 21st to announce that police had arrested and interviewed 24-year-old Cristhian Bahena Rivera in relation to the disappearance of 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts. A complaint and affidavit were filed naming Cristhian Rivera of Poweshiek County Iowa, in the charge of Murder in the First Degree. Rivera then led authorities to the college student's body. Here's what we know of the grim details right now, plus the full Christhian Rivera mugshot photo released by authorities today.
1. He saw her running
Rivera told investigators that he saw Mollie Tibbetts running and decided to approach her. He ran alongside or behind her as he was interacting with her. Rivera told the police that she told him to leave her alone and threatened to call the police. He chased her down.
2. He led them to her
Rivera told the investigators where to find Mollie's body. Police followed his directions and made the tragic discovery of Mollie Tibbetts' body on 460th Avenue off of Highway 21. She was found in a cornfield with corn stalks laid over her. A map of the location can be seen here.
3. He is not a citizen
Rivera is not a U.S. citizen, so in addition to the charge of Murder in the First Degree, he is also being held on a customs and federal immigration detainer. He is from Mexico. He has reportedly been in the U.S. for four to seven years.
4. How did he get caught?
Local police worked with the FBI to find Tibbetts. Investigators discovered security cameras and were able to identify a black Chevrolet Malibu that belonged to Rivera. Police then tracked him. They found Mollie running in the surveillance video and that led them to realize that Rivera was one of the last people to see her alive.
5. Cause of death
The cause of death nor the reason for Mollie's abduction and murder are known at this time. Police believe that Rivera had seen Mollie before the day on which he abducted and murdered her. An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday, August 22nd. Rivera is facing life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Amy Lamare is a Los Angeles based freelance writer covering entertainment, pop culture, beauty, fashion, fitness, technology, and the intersection of technology, business, and philanthropy. She is deeply devoted to her chocolate Labrador and an avid long distance runner. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook.
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