The man accused of killing University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts apparently has two new lawyers representing him, according to court documentation filed at the Poweshiek County court on Sunday and Monday.
The Des Moines Register reports that 24-year-old Cristhian Rivera consented to withdraw his now former defense lawyer, Allan Richards, per court documents. The suspect is now represented by Chad Frese of of Kaplan and Frese LLP, and Jennifer Frese of and Johnson, Bonzer and Barnaby PLC. The attorneys were retained privately by Rivera’s family.
“The family reached out (to) us and we met with them first and then we met with Mr. Rivera on Friday evening and he decided to move forward with the change of counsel,” Jennifer Frees said.
Court documents do not specify why Richards withdrew as Rivera’s attorney.
Although they work for different law firms, Chad and Jennifer Frese are married, and decided to take the case as it’s “high-profile” and they reportedly felt Rivera would need to lawyers to defend him.
Rivera’s new defense lawyers withdrew all previous pending motions filed by Richards. Rivera will not appear in court in Friday as previously scheduled, as the new lawyers waived his right to a preliminary hearing.
“It’s not something Chad and I would have requested if we were on the case initially, so that’s the reason we’re withdrawing it,” Jennifer Frese explained.
Mollie Tibbetts Timeline
- Mollie’s boyfriend saw her for the last time on July 16, before leaving town to work at a Dubuque construction site with his brother, around 100 miles away from Brooklyn.
- On July 17, Dalton and his brother, who lives with him, drove to work. Mollie agreed to dog-sit while he was gone.
- At around 5:30 p.m. on July 17, Mollie’s brother, Jake Tibbetts, who shares a car with her, dropped her off at Dalton’s home. Mollie stayed alone while watching the dogs.
- Investigators report another neighbor reported Mollie out for a jog at around 7:30 p.m. on July 18.
- Mollie had plans to go to her mother’s house for dinner on the evening on July 18. She never showed up.
- At 10 p.m. on July 18, Dalton opened the SnapChat message from Mollie. He said it looked like she took the photo while indoors. It’s unclear when Mollie took the picture but detectives think she took it at some point on Wednesday.
- Jake Tibbetts, who has been cleared as a suspect, sends Mollie a text message at 7:30 a.m., asking if she needed the car for work. The text message was not read.
- Dalton sends Mollie a text message, wishing her a good morning. Mollie does not read the text message.
- Mollie’s mother, Laura Calderwood, sends Mollie several text messages throughout the afternoon. All text messages remain unanswered.
- Jake Tibbetts calls Laura Calderwood and says Mollie never made it to work at a daycare center. Laura calls the police.
- The Facebook group, “Finding Mollie Tibbetts,” was created. It currently has over 40,000 members.
- Hundreds of people show up in the Brooklyn area to search for Mollie.
- The Poweshiek County Sheriff’s Office announces that tips should directed to its office.
- The University of Iowa released a statement on Twitter that the school is also monitoring the incident and looking for any helpful information.
- Authorities announce Mollie is still missing and that nothing was found during the searches.
- Dalton tells ABC he’s optimistic about Mollie’s return.
- Laura Calderwood says her daughter is an “outgoing, fun, loving life, loving person.”
- Poweshiek County Sheriff Thomas Kriegel announces that no one from the “tight-knit” community in Brooklyn has been missing this long.
- Investigators continue to follow up with tips and leads.
- The family spreads the search even further by distributing flyers across the state.
- Kriegel indicates Mollie could have possibly been abducted.
- Investigators search two hog farms after following up on tips, but the searches yield no results.
- Wayne Cheney is questioned by the FBI.
- Authorities search Cheney’s home and cellphone.
- Iowa Department of Public Safety released a statement announcing that there are still no suspects but authorities will continue to pursue leads and investigate.
- A neighbor tells a local media outlet that he spotted Mollie “walking nonchalantly” down the street.
- As authorities searched an area close to the Lincoln Wildfire Reserve in Brooklyn, Iowa, someone mowing their lawn nearby discovered a red a shirt.
- The shirt was turned over to the FBI for evidence processing.
- FBI reportedly asked Cheney to take a lie detector test. He refused.
- An FBI agent goes to Cheney’s house for a second round of questioning.
- Authorities revealed there have been “hundreds” of leads and tips into Mollie’s disappearance.
- An Iowa woman’s body was found in Lee County, but despite speculation, police confirmed it was not Mollie, but instead a young woman named Sadie Alvarado, who allegedly jumped out of a moving car while arguing with her boyfriend.
- Rob Tibbetts explained why his daughter, according to his own speculations, may still be alive.
- Tibbetts encouraged anyone responsible for Mollie’s disappearance to come forward now, before things get worse.
- Brooklyn resident Devin Riley describes how he saw Mollie jog past him home on the evening of July 18, explaining that she was wearing a pink sports bra and running short.
- Riley explained that he contacted police after he realized Mollie had disappeared.
- Former FBI profiler says she thinks Mollie left with someone she knew, explaining that the “most likely scenario is that Mollie was at least somewhat familiar with the person that she went with.”
- Authorities find a deceased body in a rural area between Deep River, Iowa, and Guernsey, Iowa. Officials stated the body is likely of Mollie Tibbetts.
- Authorities detain Cristhian Bahena Rivera without incident. Rivera allegedly confesses to hiding Mollie’s body.
- During a press conference, authorities announce Rivera entered the country illegally and has a federal immigration detainer.
- Owners of a local dairy farm speak out and claim they checked Rivera’s eligibility to work in the U.S. prior to hiring him.
- Dane Lang, co-owner of Yarrabee Farms, announced that Rivera used fraudulent identification to obtain employment at the farm.
- A Poweshiek County judge sets River’s bond at $5 million.
- Authorities are seen searching Rivera’s residence and its surrounding areas for a possible murder weapon.
- Tensions run high as social media groups form in an attempt to spill anti-immigration rhetoric after the public learned Rivera is a reported undocumented immigrant.
- The Iowa City Latino Festival spokesperson announced the annual festival would be postponed this year.
[Feature Photo: Cristhian Rivera via AP/Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette]