Yesterday, Mollie Tibbetts had been found dead in a corn field. The suspect in the murder is a 24-year-old illegal immigrant from Mexico who had been living in the area for up to seven years.
Cristhian Rivera was taken into custody and charged with first degree murder. Rivera led authorities to her body. The 20-year-old Iowa college student was found dead hidden in a corn field under several corn stalks.
Special agent in charge, Rick Rahn explained Rivera told authorities he saw Tibbetts and pursued her. He got out of his car and started running beside her. She threatened to call the police and that’s when Rivera says he “blacked out.”
“He actually tells us that he ran alongside of her or behind her. And then at one point, he tells us that Mollie grabbed ahold of her phone and says, 'you need to leave me alone, I'm gonna call the police,’” Rahn said of the interview. “And then she took off running, he, in turn, chased her down. And then he tells us that at some point in time he blacks out and then he comes to near an intersection in which we believe he then placed Mollie.”
Authorities were lead to Rivera after they found home surveillance video that showed Rivera’s car following Tibbetts jogging.
Charges were filed in district court in Poweshiek County and bail was set at $1 million. If Rivera is convicted, he could get life without parole. Iowa does not have the death penalty.
An autopsy is planned for today to determine how Tibbetts died.
Gov. Kim Reynolds spoke with the Tibbetts family.
“I spoke with Mollie’s family and passed on the heartfelt condolences of a grieving state,” Reynolds said, “I shared with them my hope that they can find comfort knowing that God does not leave us to suffer alone. Even in our darkest moments, he will comfort and heal our broken hearts.”