More than one month after University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts was reported missing, her body has been discovered and her suspected killer is in police custody.
Christian Bahena Rivera, a 24-year-old illegal immigrant who has lived in and around Poweshiek County for the past four to seven years, was apprehended and has been charged with first-degree murder, said Rick Rahn, special agent in charge at the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, in an official statement read during a press conference Tuesday evening.
— Mario Rossi (@mariovrossi) August 21, 2018
So far, Rahn told reporters, Rivera has been cooperative.
Police were able to find and arrest Rivera after he was spotted driving a black Chevrolet Malibu in footage shared by a local resident whose home was equipped with security cameras.
“From that [footage] we were able to track his pattern and the routes in which he took,” Rahn explained. “We were also able to find Mollie running on this video and were able to determine that [Rivera] was one of the last ones to have seen Mollie running, based on the video, again, that we were able to seize from the general public.”
It was reported Tuesday morning that police found Tibbetts’ body in a field in Poweshiek County not far from where she initially disappeared.
According to police, it is not clear what will happen to the nearly $400,000 reward for information regarding Tibbetts’ abduction and the arrest of her killer.
Mollie’s family has yet to comment publicly on Rivera’s arrest.
On Tuesday, the University of Iowa released a statement regarding the murder of Tibbetts, who would have started her sophomore year this week.
The statement, issued by Dr. Melissa Shivers, Vice President for Student Life and Interim Chief Diversity Officer, reads:
We are deeply saddened that we’ve lost a member of the University of Iowa community. Our thoughts are with Mollie Tibbetts’ family, friends, and classmates.
Losing a fellow student and member of our Hawkeye family is difficult. President Harreld and I share in your grief and encourage you to reach out if you are in need of support.
A list of resources can be found on the university’s safety and support website (http://www.uiowa.edu/homepage/safety-and-support) or by calling one of these offices:
- University Counseling Services (319-335-7294)
- Student Care and Assistance (319-335-1162)
- UI Employee Assistance Program (319-335-2085)
Faithwire will be providing additional updates as they become available.