For five weeks, Mollie Tibbetts has been missing. The 20-year-old had been house-sitting for her boyfriend when she disappeared. Her body was found today and police have made an arrest in her murder. Cristhian Bathena Rivera, 24, is a Mexican national here in the country illegally. He is being held as a suspect in Tibbetts’ death.
Tibbetts vanished on July 18th. The initial rumors about her disappearance suggested she was kidnapped while she was jogging in Brooklynn, Iowa.
Now police say Rivera accosted Tibbetts while she was on her jog. She threatened to call police. Though the details are still under wraps, it appears that police believe Rivera killed her and dumped her body in a cornfield.
Rivera lived in Poweshiek County, a rural area in Iowa, where Tibbetts’ body was found.
“The body of Tibbetts, a 20-year-old University of Iowa student, was found Tuesday in a field covered with corn stalks,” Fox writes. “Her father and two sources confirmed to Fox News on Tuesday morning that Tibbetts was found dead; investigators said later in the day they were working to formally identify the body.”
Police have acknowledged that they used surveillance footage to identify Rivera. They found video footage of Tibbetts jogging, and were able to identify a video seen in that footage, too. That vehicle was then traced to Rivera.
Tibbetts’ father had been in Iowa for the search for weeks. Up until this morning, many involved in the effort of tracking Tibbetts held out hope for her safe return. Some in the law enforcement community even felt like Tibbetts was alive and that her captor had been involved in the search efforts.
“Somebody knows something,” Tibbetts’ father, Rob, told reporters. “You can’t do anything [in Brooklynn] without someone seeing it.”
Iowa’s Division of Criminal Investigation was flooded with tips. Tibbetts was known to have both a Fitbit and a cell phone with her during her run, and both had disappeared. They remain missing.
The news has hit the community that hoped for Tibbetts’ safe return hard. “It’s Brooklyn. You don’t lock your doors,” Tibbetts’ brother told reporters. “We lock our doors now. Every night.”
There will be more information coming. There are numerous questions about Tibbetts’ disappearance and the circumstances surrounding her death that remain unknown.