An autopsy is reportedly planned Wednesday for a body police believe is Mollie Tibbetts. Although the body has not yet been officially identified, authorities hope the autopsy can bring a positive identification and answers as to how and when the 20-year-old Iowa student died. Tibbetts was last seen going for an evening jog in Brooklyn, Iowa on July 18.
Police announced Tuesday that they had arrested Cristhian Rivera, an undocumented immigrant who has been in Iowa for roughly four to seven years. Rick Rahn of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation identified him as Tibbetts' alleged killer. Police said Rivera led authorities to a body, hidden under corn stalks on a patch of farmland.
“I can’t speak about the motive. I can just tell you that it seemed that he followed her, seemed to be drawn to her on that particular day, for whatever reason he chose to abduct her,” Rahn told reporters at the news conference.
Rivera has been charged with first-degree murder. He’s being held on a $1 million dollar cash bond.
According to court documents obtained by CNN, Rivera said Tibbetts threatened to call the cops when he approached her, which made him angry. He claimed he blacked out at some point before coming to at an intersection, with Tibbetts' body in the trunk of his car, according to the court documents.
After Tibbetts vanished, a massive search by local police and the FBI ensued. An official website to aid in the search, findingmollie.iowa.gov, was set up, as were Facebook profile pages. The website asked those with potential information to focus on five areas of interest around Brooklyn including areas of farmland.
The case has drawn national attention. A Facebook group, “Finding Mollie Tibbetts,” currently has over 66,000 members.
Tibbetts was studying psychology at the University of Iowa. She had plans to get a doctorate.
[Photo: Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation]