Illegal Alien Faces Murder Charge in Mollie Tibbetts Case (Multi-Video)

By Eric Levenson, Samira Said and Steve Almasy, CNN

An undocumented immigrant has been charged with first-degree murder in the presumed death of Mollie Tibbetts, an Iowa college student who went missing on July 18, officials said Tuesday.

The suspect on Tuesday led authorities to a body officials believe is that of Tibbetts, 20, said Rick Rahn, special agent in charge at the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.

An autopsy to determine when and how the woman died is planned for Wednesday.

 Authorities said surveillance video helped them determine a suspect.

The suspect, Cristhian Bahena Rivera, 24, is an undocumented immigrant who authorities believe has been in the area for four to seven years, Rahn said.

(Investigators say a murder charge has been filed against a man who led them to remains believed to be the body of 20-year-old college student Mollie Tibbetts, who disappeared from her small hometown in central Iowa one month ago. The body was discovered in a field in rural Poweshiek County, which includes Tibbetts’ hometown of Brooklyn, Iowa, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation said in a press release. Officials say the suspect, Cristhian Bahena Rivera, is in the country illegally. Investigators believe Rivera followed Tibbetts on July 18 and abducted her as she was out for a jog. Surveillance video showed a car that investigators traced back to Rivera, investigators said. Courtesy of CBS News and YouTube. Posted on Aug 21, 2018.)

Charges were filed in the district court in Poweshiek County and bail was set at $1 million.

“I can’t really speak to you about the motive,” Rahn said.

Rick Rahn, SAIC at the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation
Rick Rahn, SAIC at the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation

“I can just tell you it seems that he followed her and seemed to be drawn to her on that particular day and for whatever reason he chose to abduct her.”

Authorities said the suspect followed Tibbetts on July 18 and then abducted her.

He said he blacked out during an altercation with Tibbets and woke up at an intersection in rural Poweshiek County, court documents say.

Rahn said the suspect told investigators he realized he had put the woman in the trunk of his car and when he took her out, he saw blood on the side of her head, the document says.

He left the body in a cornfield and covered it with corn leaves, it adds.

Rahn said Tibbetts’ digital footprint, which included data from a fitness tracker known as a Fitbit, played a role in solving the case.

(Learn More. Rob Tibbetts tells Fox News that the body found in Iowa is Mollie. Courtesy of Fox News and YouTube. Posted on Aug 21, 2018.)

Tibbetts’ father, Rob Tibbetts, when reached earlier Tuesday, had no comment.

Tibbetts, a University of Iowa student, was last seen jogging on July 18 in the small community of Brooklyn, Iowa, about an hour east of Des Moines, according to the Poweshiek County Sheriff’s Office.

Before she went missing, Tibbetts’ brother dropped her off at her boyfriend’s house so she could dog-sit, HLN reported.

Her family reported her missing after she did not show up for work the next day.

(Video taken by Mollie Tibbetts’ friend shows the missing college student’s fun-loving personality. The first clip was taken the day before she went missing. Courtesy of 6ABC News.)