First Degree Murder Charges Filed for Death of Mollie Tibbetts

Cristhian Rivera (WHO-HD)

MONTEZUMA, Iowa  —  A Poweshiek County man is charged with first degree murder after authorities found a body believed to be that of Mollie Tibbetts.

The body of an adult female was found early Tuesday in a farm field southeast of Brooklyn, approximately two miles from where Tibbetts was last seen jogging on July 18th.

Authorities say shortly after Tibbetts was reported missing, they obtained video footage from an area on the east side of Brooklyn. That video shows Tibbetts running near the area of Boundary and Middle Streets.  A dark colored Chevy Malibu can be seen driving back and forth several times.  Officials tracked that vehicle back to 24 year-old Cristian Rivera.  Law enforcement questioned Rivera Monday. During the interview he admitted to making contact with a female running in Brooklyn and followed her in his car before getting out and running behind and along side her.   Rivera told police Tibbetts grabbed her phone and said “I’m gonna call the police.”  At that point, Rivera says he panicked and “blocked his memory which is what he does when he gets very upset.”

Rivera says he drove into a cornfield and noticed an ear piece from headphones in his lap and “that is how he realized he put her in the trunk.” When Rivera went to get to get Tibbetts out of the trunk he noticed blood on the side of her head. He told police he dragged Tibbets to a secluded location in a cornfield, covered her with cornstalks and left her there face up.

Rivera led officers to the body by memory early Tuesday. Based on the interview with Rivera, clothing found at the scene and tentative identification from the medical examiner, authorities say the body they found is Tibbetts.  An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday to positively identify the body and determine a cause of death.

Rivera is being held in the Poweshiek County jail on a $1 million cash only bond. Officials say he is an undocumented immigrant who has been in the United States illegally for four to five years.

Read the complete Cristhian Rivera arrest warrant.