Mollie Tibbetts Murder: How Did Mollie Tibbetts Die? Who Killed Mollie Tibbetts? – Mollie Cecilia Tibbetts, a University of Iowa student, went missing while jogging near her home in Brooklyn, Iowa, on July 18, 2018. Police identified Cristhian Bahena Rivera, 24, as a suspect in the disappearance a month later; surveillance footage showed Rivera’s car following Tibbetts on her jog.
On August 21, Rivera led police to Tibbetts’ body in a Poweshiek County cornfield. He was charged with murder in the first degree. Rivera was convicted guilty of first-degree murder on May 28, 2021. Rivera was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on August 30, 2021.
The Trump administration exploited the murder and several Republicans, including Iowa governor Kim Reynolds, to call for stricter immigration policy. Rivera’s immigration status became a polarising topic as police, US Citizenship, and Immigration Services (USCIS), and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) all said he was in the country unlawfully. Tibbetts’ family has spoken out against attempts to politicise his death.
‘The Last Day: The Case of Mollie Tibbetts,’ a Dateline documentary, examines Mollie’s terrible death and reveals how the investigation found a rage-fueled murder. If this case has piqued your interest and you’d like to know where Mollie’s killer is right now, we’ve got you covered.
Who Was Mollie Tibbetts and How Did She Die?
Mollie Cecilia Tibbetts was born in San Francisco, California, on May 8, 1998, to Rob and Laura Tibbetts. Her parents split when she was in the second grade, and she relocated to Iowa with her mother and two siblings. Her father maintained close contact with his children, and he last saw Mollie in June 2018 at his wedding.
She was a psychology major at the University of Iowa and a resident of Brooklyn, Iowa, a small town about 70 miles (110 kilometres) east of Des Moines at the time of her disappearance. She worked at Grinnell Regional Medical Center’s children’s day camp and was about to start her sophomore year of college when she vanished.
Tibbetts, a former cross country runner, left her boyfriend’s brother’s home in Brooklyn for an evening jog on July 18, 2018. She was last seen around 7:30 p.m. CDT, and her family reported her missing when she did not show up for work the next day. Her final confirmed communication, according to authorities, was with her three-year-old boyfriend, shortly before departing for her jog.
Her boyfriend was away for work in Dubuque, Iowa, which was more than 130 miles (210 kilometres) away. Later that evening, he received a Snapchat message from her that looked to show her indoors, he told police.
When the authorities started looking into the event, they discovered that, despite the fact that Mollie’s boyfriend was in Dubuque, Iowa, on the night of her disappearance, he received a message from her. According to the message, Mollie was indoors at the time. Unfortunately, that was the last time she interacted with anyone. Days passed into weeks, and law enforcement personnel investigated the surrounding areas for the missing woman, leaving no stone untouched.
However, no word on Mollie Tibbetts, and the prospect of her survival dwindled by the second. Mollie’s body was eventually discovered in a nearby cornfield roughly a month after she went missing. The woman was dressed in a sports bra, socks, and shoes when the police arrived, indicating that her attacker may have had sexual motivation. According to an autopsy, Mollie died as a result of multiple stab wounds.
Who Killed Mollie Tibbetts and Why?
Cristhian Bahena Rivera, 24, lived and worked in the remote Poweshiek County area where Tibbetts vanished at the time of the murder. He was born in El Guayabillo, Guerrero, Mexico, and arrived in the United States illegally at the age of 17 after living in the area for several years. Before moving to Yarrabee Farms near Brooklyn, Iowa, in August 2014, he worked at another farm. Rivera used the identity of John Budd to self-identify and obtain his compensation.
Rivera became a target of detectives after a neighbouring surveillance camera captured images of a Chevrolet Malibu driving back and forth in the area where Tibbetts was jogging. Police approached him without incident after matching the automobile to him. He admitted to kidnapping, killing, and then discarding her body, according to them. He took them to the corpse in an isolated place within a cornfield, according to an affidavit filed by the Poweshiek County Sheriff’s Office.
Despite the lack of incriminating evidence in the video, it was evident that the vehicle was following Mollie. As a result, authorities were directed straight to the car’s owner, Cristhian Bahena Rivera, who worked at a local dairy farm, using it as their lone lead. The then-24-year-old first maintained his innocence, claiming that he had nothing to do with Mollie’s disappearance. However, when authorities searched his vehicle’s trunk, they discovered traces of blood that matched the victim exactly.
When confronted with the facts, Rivera abruptly altered his tune and led the cops to Mollie’s body. The suspect initially claimed he had no recall of killing Mollie, but subsequently claimed that he was forced to do so by two unknown males. Rivera was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in 2021 after being presented in court.