Illegal Alien Charged With Murder in Death of Iowa College Student Mollie Tibbetts

This undated photo provided by the Iowa Department of Public Safety shows Cristhian Bahena Rivera. (Iowa Department of Public Safety via AP)

The body of 20-year-old University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts has presumably been found in a rural area of Poweshiek County, Iowa. Cristhian Bahena Rivera, 24, an illegal alien thought to be from Mexico, has been charged with first-degree murder in the case.



“I can’t really speak to you about the motive,” Rahn said. “I can just tell you it seems that he followed her and seemed to be drawn to her on that particular day and for whatever reason he chose to abduct her.”

Authorities said the suspect followed Tibbetts on July 18 and then abducted her.

According to court documents, the suspect said in an interview that Tibbetts pulled out her cell phone and told Rivera she was going to “call the police” and that caused him to get angry.

He said he blacked out and woke up at an intersection in rural Poweshiek County, court documents say.

Rahn said the suspect told investigators he realized he had put the woman in the trunk of his car and when he took her out, he saw blood on the side of her head, the document says. He left the body in a cornfield and covered it with corn leaves, it adds.

Shawn Neudauer, a spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said the agency on Tuesday sent a detainer request to local authorities for Rivera, who is from Mexico.

Rahn said Tibbetts’ digital footprint, which included data from a fitness tracker known as a Fitbit, played a role in solving the case.

An autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow, when it is believed the full — and perhaps real — story of Ms. Tibbetts’ last hours will be revealed.


Few details about Bahena Rivera have been released. And yes, the fact that he is an illegal alien is significant. It is significant because if we had stronger border security, it is possible that Mollie Tibbetts would be alive today.

Simplistic? Perhaps. But not recognizing why unbridled illegal immigration is dangerous for American citizens in a variety of ways only makes sanctuary city policies more incomprehensible. People are more important than votes. And politicians who continue to pander to pressure groups by refusing to cooperate with federal authorities in holding illegal alien criminals until they can be detained put citizens at risk.

It wouldn’t surprise any of us if Bahena Rivera had already been deported or was under a deportation order. It wouldn’t surprise us if the killer had committed other crimes — any one of which should have resulted in his immediate deportation. It wouldn’t surprise us because we’ve seen this same, tragic story play out again and again.

And one more American family is grieving.


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