Cristhian Bahena Rivera has been arrested for the murder of Mollie Tibbetts, a University of Iowa student who went missing last month. Tibbetts went missing on July 18 and her body was found dead on Tuesday, Aug. 21. According to law enforcement officials from the Department of Homeland Security Investigations, Rivera is an “illegal alien” and has been charged with first-degree murder.
From the Washington Post:
The charge was filed more than month after Tibbetts went out for a jog and disappeared — and days after investigators searching for the missing Iowa college student said they were focusing their efforts on five locations.
For 34 days, federal, state and local authorities had scoured Poweshiek County for Tibbetts, and sifted through electronic data from her Fitbit, cellphone and social media accounts for any clue about what happened to the woman who was last seen alive while going for an evening run. They’d also interviewed nearly 1,500 people.
Authorities had narrowed their search to a carwash, Tibbetts’s boyfriend’s home, a truck stop and two farms.
“These are hard,” DCI Special Agent Richard Rahn said Tuesday at a press conference. “We get to know the family, we get to know Mollie, we just spoke with the family and I told them that they raised a great daughter. She was a phenomenal individual and so we are saddened for the family. It is difficult on the investigators, however that is what we’re here to do and we just try to do it the best we can. We’re just glad we were able to locate him, get him charged and hopefully come out with a successful conclusion and that being a conviction.”
According to reports, Mollie Tibbetts, the 20-year-old Iowa college student who was last seen July 18, has been found dead. Tibbetts, a University of Iowa student, was last seen jogging in Brooklyn, Iowa, over a month ago.
On July 18, Tibbetts’ was dropped off at her boyfriend’s house by her brother so she could dog sit as her boyfriend was working. That night, around 7:30 p.m. local time, Tibbetts was spotted jogging is gym shorts, a black sports bra, and running shoes.
Tibbetts’ disappearance sparked an enormous search that involved local, state and federal authorities and volunteers.
Greg Willey, the vice president of Crime Stoppers of Central Iowa, says a body found Tuesday, August 21, is believed to be Tibbetts. Willey says a nearly $400,000 reward fund for her discovery will now become a reward for information leading to the capture of any suspects.
Richard Rahn, the special agent in charge with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation for the Major Crime Unit, said that more than 200 interviews have been conducted in the investigation into her disappearance.
At the time of her disappearance, a $400,000 reward was offered for Tibbetts. Her father had remained optimistic that Mollie would return home.
“We’ll still find Mollie and bring her home, and I still feel that way. We all still feel that way,” he said, via local news station ABC-6. “That’s why it’s difficult for me to leave, knowing that there’s a good chance we’re going to bring her home, and I want to be there when she arrives.”
Our deepest condolences go out to the Tibbetts family during this incredibly difficult time.