An Iowa murder trial resumes Thursday, in the case against a farm worker accused of killing University of Iowa student, Mollie Tibbetts.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Cristhian Bahena Rivera is accused of killing Tibbetts, 20, of Brooklyn, Iowa. Mollie was out for a jog and was never seen alive again.
Tibbetts, a University of Iowa student and an avid jogger who ran on the cross-country team during high school, disappeared on July 18, 2018. The student was on summer break from school and taking a jog near her Brooklyn neighborhood when she vanished.
In 2018, Rivera told investigators that he spotted Tibbetts jogging near Middle and Boundary Streets, when he slowed down and started following her in his black Chevrolet Malibu, according to court documents.
At some point, Rivera got out of the vehicle and began following the University of Iowa student by foot, even jogging alongside her. Apparently frightened, Tibbetts told the suspect she would call 911, then pulled out her phone, according to Bahena Rivera’s reported admission.
Rivera said he became upset and “blacked out” at the threat, something he claimed he did often when becoming too angry, according to investigators.
Rivera allegedly told investigators the next thing he remembered was waking up inside his car, parked at a rural intersection. He immediately made a U-turn and drove to the entrance of a rural field. He then drove into a driveway of a cornfield.
Rivera said at some point he looked down noticed Tibbetts’s earpiece from her earbuds or headphones lying on his lap, and “realized he put her in the truck.”
Upon checking the trunk, Rivera said he found Tibbetts inside, with one side of her head bloodied, according to the affidavit. The suspect allegedly said he pulled Tibbetts out of the trunk and dragged her by foot into a secluded area in the woods.
Rivera then tossed Tibbetts over his shoulders and walked around 20 meters into the woods, where he tossed her body on the ground and covered her with corn leaves, the affidavit read.
On Wednesday, Rivera took the stand and changed his story. He now claims two armed men kidnapped him and forced Tibbetts into the trunk of his car.
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[Feature Photo: Mollie Tibbetts/Handout]