Mollie Tibbetts: Police charge man with murder of missing college student after body discovered

Cristhian Behena Rivera is accused of killing 20-year-old who went missing when out jogging

Tom Barnes
Wednesday 22 August 2018 08:05 BST
Former FBI profiler comments on Mollie Tibbetts missing person case

Police have charged a man with murder after they discovered what is believed to be the body of a missing college student.

Cristhian Behena Rivera would face a mandatory life sentence if convicted of killing 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts, who had been missing for more than a month in the US state of Iowa.

Investigators announced Mr Rivera had been charged at a press conference hours after they found what is thought to be the University of Iowa student’s body in a field covered in corn stalks.

Cristhian Behena Rivera faces a life sentence if found guilty of Ms Tibbetts' murder
Cristhian Behena Rivera faces a life sentence if found guilty of Ms Tibbetts' murder (AP)

Ms Tibbetts was last seen on 18 July in Brooklyn, her rural hometown of around 1,400 people, as she took a routine evening jog.

It is unclear whether or not she returned to the home where she was dog-sitting for her boyfriend and her boyfriend’s brother. Her family reported her missing the following day.

Tibbetts' disappearance set off a massive search involving dozens of officers from the FBI, as well as state and local agencies.

Last week, vice president Mike Pence met privately with the Tibbetts family during a visit to Iowa and reportedly told them they were “on the hearts of every American.”

Investigators say they used surveillance video in tracking down Mr Rivera and had obtained footage showing Ms Tibbetts jogging in a rural area near Brooklyn as well as the suspect’s car.

Mollie Tibbetts had been missing since 18 July
Mollie Tibbetts had been missing since 18 July (AP)

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents said in a statement Mr Rivera was a Mexican citizen who had been in the country illegally.

The agency believed the suspect had been living in the state for four to seven years prior to the incident.

He is now being held on a federal immigration detainer, investigators said.

Ms Tibbetts, a psychology major, would have started her junior year at college this week in Iowa City, around 50 miles east of Brooklyn.

She had been staying with her long-time boyfriend and working while home from school over the summer.

Additional reporting by AP

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