Mollie Tibbetts is the Iowa college student who has disappeared on July 18th after going for a jog in the small town where she attended school. Earlier today her body was finally located and now authorities have revealed that they were taken to the body by a 24-year-old illegal immigrant who has been charged with her murder. From ABC News:
A first-degree murder charge was filed on Tuesday against an undocumented immigrant in the case of missing Iowa jogger Mollie Tibbetts, state officials said Tuesday.
The suspect, 24-year-old Cristhian Rivera, lives in the rural area where the college student vanished one month ago, according to Rick Rahn of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation…
A critical break in the case was finding a local person with security cameras showing Tibbetts jogging, Rahn said.
“Through that we were able to identify a vehicle that we believed belonged to Mr. Rivera,” Rahn said…
Rivera led authorities to Tibbetts’ body, according to Rahn.
There’s actually more to this story that was revealed during the law enforcement press briefing this afternoon. After investigators identified Rivera’s truck on the security camera, they brought him in for an interview at which point he admitted to following Mollie but claimed he blacked out.
“During that interview, he tells us that he sees Mollie running and was able to…approach her,” Rahn said. He continued, “He actually tells us that he ran alongside of her or behind her. Then at one point, he tells us that Mollie grabbed ahold of her phone and said ‘You need to leave me alone I’m going to call the police.’
“Then she took off running. He, in turn, chased her down. And then he tells us that at some point in time he blacks out and then he comes to near an intersection which we believe he then placed Mollie.”
After the interview, Rivera led police to her body which was located in a cornfield, covered in corn stalks. So far police are not revealing how Tibbetts was killed. They also aren’t saying much about Rivera’s motive, though it doesn’t seem hard to guess what it was. Tibbetts’ body will be autopsied tomorrow.
Rivera himself is believed to be from Mexico. He has been living and working in the area for the past 4-7 years. He claims to have seen Tibbetts previous to the abduction last month, so this is sounding like someone who became a literal stalker. Based on his age (24) and the time he has been in the country (4-7 years) Rivera might have been eligible for DACA assuming he met the other requirements, such as arriving before he was 16, not having a criminal record, etc. I’m sure we’ll hear more about that in the coming days.
Meanwhile, here’s the press conference with all the details authorities have made public thus far: