Cristhian Bahena Rivera stands trial in the 2018 murder of University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts, 20. Court is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. CT / 9:30 a.m. ET. You can watch in the player above.
Tibbetts went missing while out jogging in the small town of Brooklyn, Iowa. She was reported missing on July 19, 2019. Footage showed a dark-colored Chevy Malibu near her, according to authorities. That vehicle was seen “numerous times driving back and forth in the area.” Investigators claimed to link this to Bahena Rivera.
The defendant allegedly admitted to following Tibbetts in his vehicle, parking it, getting out, and running behind and alongside her.
In this account, Tibbetts grabbed her phone and threatened to call the police. Rivera allegedly claimed to have panicked, got angry, and “blocked” his memory, which happened when he got very upset. He asserted he did not remember what happened immediately after until he arrived at an intersection. He allegedly drove to a cornfield, saw there was an earpiece from headphones in his lap, and realized he put Tibbetts in his trunk. Bahena Rivera allegedly saw that she had blood on the side of her head.
The defendant said he carried her about 20 meters into the cornfield, and left her under corn leaves, according to investigators.
Bahena Rivera allegedly led law enforcement to her body. Details at the scene matched his story, officials said.
#MollieTibbetts – Kivi says they had Rivera get out of the car and walk them to where they found Mollie Tibbetts’ body. This was in a long lane into an old driveway in a cornfield. pic.twitter.com/tMIo38IY0w
— Cathy Russon (@cathyrusson) November 13, 2019
The defense attempted to bar the alleged confession from trial, saying it was coerced and Bahena Rivera was sleep deprived. The judge ultimately decided to admit any statement he made after his legitimate, second Miranda warning and before he was placed on an immigration detainer.
[Iowa Department of Public Safety]
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