Man Charged with Murder in Iowa College Student's Death

Compiled from Associated Press reports
Updated: August 21, 2018 05:44 PM

MONTEZUMA, Iowa (AP) - Court documents detail what a man charged with murder told investigators about the abduction and killing of Mollie Tibbetts.

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An affidavit filed Tuesday says the 20-year-old Tibbetts was running on July 18 in a rural area near Brooklyn, in central Iowa, when a car driven by Christian Bahena Rivera approached her.

During questioning Monday, Rivera allegedly acknowledged making contact with Tibbetts, first by pursuing her in his car and then getting out and running beside her.

According to court documents: Rivera told investigators he became angry when Tibbetts showed a cell phone and threatened to call police. He says he panicked and then "blocked" his memory. He says he does not recall what happened but found an earpiece from headphones in his lap and realized he'd put Tibbetts' in his trunk.

He opened the trunk and noticed blood on the side of her head.

The affidavit says he carried Tibbetts' body to a cornfield and covered her with corn stalks. When he was questioned by authorities, he led investigators to the site.

Rivera has been charged with first-degree murder.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement says Rivera is a citizen of Mexico who was in the country illegally.  ICE released a statement Tuesday stating that it had "lodged a detainer" with the Poweshiek County Sheriff's Office to hold Rivera.

At a news conference, Rick Rahn, special agent in charge with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, said Rivera had been living in the area for four to seven years.

Investigators say they used surveillance video in tracking down Rivera. The video showed Tibbetts jogging in a rural area near her hometown of Brooklyn as well as Rivera's car.

Tibbetts, a 20-year-old student at the University of Iowa, had been missing since July 18.


Compiled from Associated Press reports

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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