Remembering one of their own. The University of Iowa is holding a vigil for Mollie Tibbetts one day after the 20-year-old was found dead and a suspect was arrested for her murder.
“The Hawkeye community is devastated about the loss of Mollie Tibbetts – a member of the University of Iowa family. Our thoughts are with her family, friends, and classmates during this difficult time,” a Facebook page created by the U of I Student Movement and Dance Marathon committee reads. “Members of Dance Marathon and the University of Iowa Student Government are hosting a vigil to honor & remember Mollie Tibbetts together as a community on Wednesday, August 22 at 7:00 p.m. at the West End of Hubbard Park. All are welcome to join us.”
The Facebook post concludes with a message about resources for students to seek help amid the tragedy: “Losing a fellow student and member of our Hawkeye family is hard. We encourage students, faculty, and staff to reach out to the resources provided below if they are in need of support.”
Police confirmed during a press conference on Tuesday, August 21, that Cristhian Bahena Rivera was arrested on first degree murder charges in the death of Tibbetts, who was last seen alive on a run in Poweshiek County, Iowa, in July.
According to the arrest warrant obtained by Us Weekly, Rivera, 24, “admitted to making contact with a female running” and “got out [of his vehicle] and was running behind her and along side her.”
After Tibbetts said she was going to call the police, Rivera then claimed he “panicked and got mad,” per the warrant, and as a result, he “blocked his memory” about what happened next. According to the warrant, Rivera said he did not remember what happened “until he came to an intersection” and “noticed there was an ear piece from headphones in his lap,” which is how he “realized he put [Tibbetts] in the trunk.”
Authorities revealed on Tuesday that Rivera, who is an undocumented immigrant, brought them to the location of Tibbetts’ body after they interviewed him. As of Tuesday, he was being held on a federal immigration detainer.
Tibbetts family released a statement following her death to the Des Moines Register: “Our hearts are broken. On behalf of Mollie’s entire family, we thank all of those from around the world who have sent their thoughts and prayers for our girl. We know that many of you will join us as we continue to carry Mollie in our hearts forever. At this time, our family asks that we be allowed the time to process our devastating loss and share our grief in private. Again, thank you for the outpouring of love and support that has been shared in Mollie’s name. We remain forever grateful.”
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