The body of Tibbetts, a 20-year-old University of Iowa student, was found Tuesday in a field covered with corn stalks. Investigators said they used surveillance footage to track down Rivera.
Cristhian Rivera was charged with first-degree murder in Tibbetts’ death, officials confirmed.
The suspect in connection with Mollie Tibbetts’ murder is in custody and has been identified as a 24-year-old man living in the U.S. illegally, investigators announced at a Tuesday news conference.
According to court documents, Rivera admitted to driving after a female who was running in Brooklyn, then getting out of his car and running alongside and after her. Authorities say Rivera told them the woman grabbed her phone and said “I’m gonna call the police,” at which point Rivera says he got panicked and mad.
Rivera told authorities he blocks things from his memory when he gets mad and doesn’t remember anything after that until he was driving and came to an intersection. Rivera says he then drove to a cornfield and noticed an ear piece from headphones in his lap. Court documents state that’s when Rivera realized he had put Tibbetts in his trunk.
Authorities say Rivera removed Tibbetts from his trunk and noticed she had blood on the side of her head. Rivera is then reported to have told law enforcement he dragged Tibbetts to a secluded spot in the corn field and left her there, face up and covered with some corn leaves.
Law enforcement says Rivera guided them back to the location by memory and that’s where they located the dead body of a female.
Based on clothing found at the scene, where the body was located, and a tentative identification by the medical examiner, authorities say the body is that of Mollie Tibbetts.
“Our hearts go out to the Tibbetts family and to the Brooklyn community. It is a loss for all of us,” says Poweshiek County Sheriff Tom Kriegel. “We appreciate the support for law enforcement community in their commitment to this investigation, and we thank the Brooklyn community for their support for the investigation.”
Mollie could still be with us if our elected officials would actually protect our borders from foreign invaders.