Why did Cristhian Rivera kill Mollie Tibbetts? It’s a question we are all asking after Rivera was arrested and charged on August 21 with the murder of 20-year-old Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts.
As Tibbetts went for an evening jog around 8 PM on July 18 in Brooklyn, Iowa, Rivera followed her in his car. He parked the car and ran alongside her on foot, at which point she threatened to call the police, sending him into a rage. He claims he then blacked out.
According to Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation Agent Rick Rahn, authorities were able to trace Rivera’s car, thanks to area security cameras. On the recordings, Tibbetts runs by, followed by a black Chevy Malibu circling the area.
When they apprehended him, he led them to Tibbetts’ body, which was hidden under corn stalks in a field in Guernsey, Iowa, about 15 minutes from Brooklyn, where Mollie was last seen.
A court document that prosecutors filed against Rivera on Tuesday says that, “Rivera said he then panicked and got mad and that he then 'blocked' his 'memory,' which is what he does when he gets very upset.”
He told police he “came to” at an intersection and drove to the field after realizing he had Mollie in his trunk. When he opened the trunk, he noticed Mollie had blood on the side of her head, and then threw her over his shoulder to carry her into the field and covered her in cornstalks.
But what is the motive behind Mollie’s murder? Was Rivera a secret killer hiding in plain sight? Did he decide to act on his angry impulses after Mollie threatened to call authorities? Did the two even know each other? Police said Rivera had been living in the area for four to seven years, so it’s possible the two had run into each other in another location before. Or perhaps a connection will reveal itself in due time.
When asked about why Rivera murdered Mollie, Rahn replied, “I can't really speak about the motive. I can just tell you, it seemed he followed her and seemed to be drawn to her on that particular day. And for whatever reason, he chose to abduct her.”
He also revealed that Rivera had seen Tibbetts before in the small town of 1,500 people, but wouldn’t say whether or not they knew one another.
While we wait for the autopsy report, the town of Brooklyn, Iowa is remembering Mollie Tibbetts as the beautiful and sweet young woman she was. And though we may not yet have a solid motive behind Mollie’s abduction and murder, hopefully her family can find some solace in knowing Rivera will pay for his crime.
Samantha Maffucci is an associate editor for YourTango. In her free time, you can find her obsessing about cats, wine, and all things Vanderpump Rules.