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Mollie Tibbetts

‘Over and over he would message me’: Mollie Tibbetts’ murder suspect relentlessly pursued another woman, ‘creeped’ her out [Report]

A Brooklyn, Iowa, woman says she had her own encounter with suspected killer, Cristhian Rivera, the man accused of abducting and murdering University of Iowa student, Mollie Tibbetts.

“He would just stare. He wouldn’t really, like, talk,” Brooke Bestell, 20, told The New York Times. “Something about him was off.”

Bestell said Rivera once asked her out on a date. She declined the offer but it didn’t stop him from trying to pursue her. He reportedly began sending her Facebook messages in the middle of the night. She added that he also started messaging two of her friends.

“Just over and over, like every week or so, he would message me again.”

Bestell stated the last message she received from Rivera occurred on June 13 at around 3 a.m. A little over a month later, Rivera allegedly killed 20-year-old Mollie, after he abducted her while she was out jogging, according to court documents.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, two other people in the Brooklyn area reported similar accounts with Rivera.  Speaking on behalf of her 17-year-old sister, Brooklyn resident Bailey Gibson, 18, told MailOnline that although her younger sibling initially thought Rivera was nice, he eventually made the teen feel unsafe and “creeped out.”

“I know Cristhian from my sister. She thought he was a nice, well-spoken person. They hung out a few times but nothing really happened romantically,” she said. “She told me that a little while ago he drove up to her while she was walking through Brooklyn. He told her she was really pretty and things like that.”

“It was more flirty than sexual but my sister is very shy. She didn’t appreciate it. Even though she knew him a little she felt unsafe and didn’t want to talk to him. In the end she was really creeped out by his behavior. She had to keep telling him she wasn’t interested.”

After a while, according to Bailey, Rivera left her little sister alone. Neither Bailey or her sister thought anything else of it until the news of Mollie’s death and the details surrounding it surfaced.

Another Brooklyn resident, Justin, stated that Rivera likely followed his girlfriend home and circled around the block in her neighborhood at least two times in the past.

“He followed my girlfriend twice – in the same exact black Malibu,” Justin told the outlet. “I remember her calling me when she noticed how slow he was driving by in circles, turning around the block to keep up with her several times on her walk home.”

Justin claimed the reported the first incident happened around sunset as his fiancé made her way home from a grocery store. Justin indicated someone driving a black car “drove past her about six times,” then continued to circle around the neighborhood after she arrived home.

“It makes you wonder if Mollie was his only victim,” Justin added.

Mollie Tibbetts Timeline

July 16-17

  • 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.

July 18

  • 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.

July 19

  • 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.

July 20

  • 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.

July 22

  • Authorities announce Mollie is still missing and that nothing was found during the searches.

July 23

  • 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.

July 25

  • 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.

July 26

  • 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.

July 27

  • 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.

August 2

  • 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.

August 3

  • An FBI agent goes to Cheney’s house for a second round of questioning.

August 5

  • 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.

August 6

  • 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.

August 9

  • 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.

August 12

  • 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.”

August 21

  • 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.

August 22

  • 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.

August 23

  • Authorities are seen searching Rivera’s residence and its surrounding areas for a possible murder weapon.

August 24

  • 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.

August 27

  • Suspect Cristhian Rivera hires two new defense attorneys to represent him. His former attorney withdrew from the case.
  • Rivera’s new attorneys withdrew all previous pending motions and waived Rivera’s preliminary hearing.

[Photo: Mollie Tibbetts; Cristhian Rivera/Handout]