Court documents released on May 31 say officers found traces of blood belonging to University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts in the trunk of Cristhian Bahena Rivera’s car, according to KCCI. Rivera awaits trial for Tibbetts’ slaying.
As The Daily Iowan previously reported, authorities charged Rivera with first-degree murder after he reportedly confessed to abducting Tibbetts while she was on a run on July 18 near Brooklyn, Iowa.
According to court documents, “On Aug. 20, 2018, officers obtained valid consent to search a black Chevrolet Malibu, which was a vehicle that was used by the Rivera. The vehicle fit the description of a vehicle observed in a surveillance video that also showed a jogger believed to be Mollie Tibbetts on her run. When the vehicle was searched, blood was located in the trunk of the vehicle. DNA analysis confirmed that the blood was that of Mollie Tibbetts.”
“The DCI lab performed DNA analysis on suspected blood found in the trunk of the defendant’s vehicle, the Chevy Malibu. This is the same vehicle the defendant consented to allowing law enforcement to search while he was at Yarrabee Farms when he first encountered law enforcement. The results of the analysis confirmed the presence of blood in the trunk of the defendant’s vehicle, and DNA developed from that blood was matched to the known DNA of Mollie Tibbetts.”
During interviews that lasted several hours from the evening of Aug. 20, 2018, to the morning of Aug. 21, Rivera gave information on the location of Tibbetts’ body before and after receiving the Miranda warning, according to court documents.
“Miranda warnings were read to the defendant at approximately 11:30 p.m. by Officer Romero. The rights were read in Spanish. Just prior to the Miranda warning being read, federal agent Mike Fischels spoke to the defendant on the phone, asking him questions concerning his immigration status. During the interview, it was determined that the defendant was suspected of being in the United States illegally, and a detainer was placed on him. At this time, the defendant was not free to leave, so his Miranda rights were read to him in Spanish. Subsequently, the defendant waived his Miranda rights and agreed to continue speaking with the officers.”
Rivera led officers to Tibbetts’ body after the Aug. 21 interview.
“During the interview, both before and after Miranda warnings were read, the defendant made several admissions concerning his involvement in the disappearance and death of Mollie Tibbetts. Following the interview, the defendant led law enforcement to the location of Mollie Tibbetts’s body.”
Rivera’s trial is set for Sept. 3 in Woodbury County.