Cristhian Bahena Rivera, the man arrested for allegedly killing Mollie Tibbetts, is scheduled to make his first appearance in an Iowa courtroom Wednesday. Investigators claim he abducted her, and ended her life.
According to the police affidavit, he claimed not to remember the actual murder itself. Before and after, yes. The actual event, not so much.
Tibbetts, 20, disappeared July 19 after she went out jogging in Brooklyn, Iowa, setting off a weeks-long search for her. Cops credited surveillance footage for helping solve the case. Video showed a “dark-colored Chevy Malibu” in the area where Tibbets is believed to have been running. It seemed suspicious because it drove around the area several times, police said.
They linked the vehicle to Rivera, cops said. According to them, he admitted to everything: following her in his vehicle, parking it, and running alongside her.
He allegedly said that Tibbetts threatened to call the cops. Rivera said he got mad. He blocked his memory,” he said, which happened when he got aggravated. Next thing, he remembered, he was driving with Tibbetts in the trunk, he said. Rivera admitted to carrying the body, and hiding it in a corn field.
Police found Tibbetts Tuesday. They said they used the suspect’s phone and memory to find the body.
Rivera is being held in lieu of $1 million bond. Authorities claim he is an undocumented immigrant, who worked for the family of a local Republican politician, and has been living in the United States for between four and seven years.
Aaron Keller and Colin Kalmbacher contributed to this report.
[Mugshot via Poweshiek County Sheriff’s Office]