Undocumented Immigrant Arrested in the Death of Missing University of Iowa Student Mollie Tibbetts 

Suspect Arrested in the Death of Missing University of Iowa Student Mollie Tibbetts
Cristhian Bahena Rivera, 24, has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts. Iowa Department of Public Safety

Cristhian Bahena Rivera has been arrested and charged with murder in the first degree of missing University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts, authorities announced during a press conference on Tuesday, August 21.

Tibbetts, who was last seen alive on July 18, was found dead in Poweshiek County on Tuesday, her father previously confirmed to Fox News. The 20-year-old was a sophomore at the University of Iowa studying psychology.

According to the arrest warrant obtained by Us Weekly, Rivera, 24, “admitted to making contact with a female running” in Brooklyn, Iowa — where Tibbetts was last seen — and admitted “he pursued her in his vehicle.”

“Defendant Rivera stated he parked the vehicle, got out and was running behind her and along side her,” the arrest warrant states. “Rivera stated she grabbed her phone and said ‘I’m gonna call the police.’ Rivera said he then panicked and got mad and that he then ‘blocked’ his ‘memory’ which is what he does what he gets very upset and doesn’t remember anything after that until he came to an intersection.”

Rivera then “made a u-turn, drove back to an entrance to a field and then drove into the driveway of a cornfield,” according to the warrant. “He noticed there was an ear piece from headphones in his lap and that is how he realized he put her in the trunk. He went to get her out of the trunk and he noticed blood on the side of her head.”

The police explained during the press conference that they found Rivera by using surveillance video. After they interviewed Rivera, he brought them to the location of the body on Tuesday.

Authorities added that Rivera is being held on a federal immigration detainer. They believe he has lived in the area of rural Poweshiek County for “four to seven years.”

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