Cristhian Rivera, the suspect under arrest in the Mollie Tibbetts’ death, had a Facebook page, and he filled it with selfies and a picture of guns.
A review of the suspect’s social media shows he wrote that he “studied at PREPARATORIA 35,” and went to “en la escuela de la vida.” He wrote that he was from and lived in Guayabillo, Guerrero, Mexico and was single. However, the 24-year-old suspect also indicated he was in Iowa in the United States under a photo posted to the page in May. You can see pictures from Rivera’s Facebook page throughout this article. He was in Iowa working on a dairy farm and living in a farmhouse with other migrant workers, Daily Mail reports.
Rivera’s name was given as Christian Rivera in many media accounts. However, in court records and social media, his name was given as Cristhian Bahena Rivera. He was in the United States illegally, authorities revealed in a press conference. He is a Mexican national. He filled his page with comments written in Spanish.
However, Rivera’s attorney said in court documents that he is actually in the country legally, according to The Des Moines Register. The situation remains confusing. According to USA Today, federal authorities maintained they can find no record of Rivera being in this country legally. The newspaper reported that federal authorities say there is “no record in our systems indicating he (Rivera) has any lawful immigration status.”
In one exchange on a comment thread with a friend 12 weeks ago, Rivera appeared to joke with the person, writing, “Cuz so ugly I’m that haha.” The friend responded, “You look finished for life.” Rivera wrote, in Spanish, “Q evil haha.” He then added, “You are very evil.”
He added: “In The United States in the state of Iowa.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Christhian Rivera Is Being Held on an Immigration Hold
Cristhian Bahena Rivera is “subject to immigration detainer,” The Washington Post reported. Although the suspect’s name was widely reported as Christian Rivera, court records give his first name’s spelling as Cristhian.
“We have confirmed with Homeland Security that…he is an illegal alien,” authorities said during the news conference of the suspect, Cristhian Rivera, 24, who resides in rural Poweshiek County, Iowa. They said that Christian Rivera had been in the area for four to seven years. He was charged with an accusation of first-degree murder.
In another post on his Facebook page, he appeared to be referencing a videogame, writing, “The monsters of Cristhian Bahena Rivera are prodigious fighters! Join Monster Legends now and raise your own special monsters, fight in combat and get generous rewards.”
Rivera Is Accused of Confessing That He Abducted Mollie Tibbetts as She Jogged
The above is a photo showing guns that appeared on Rivera’s Facebook page.
Authorities painted a horrific picture of what happened to Mollie Tibbetts, who vanished on July 18, 2018. They said that Rivera allegedly confessed that he “seized Mollie running.” Authorities alleged that he told them he “ran alongside of her or behind her” and Mollie said she was going to call the police and took off running, but he allegedly chased her down. According to authorities, Rivera led them to Mollie’s body. Authorities said Cristhian Rivera was working in the community but weren’t more specific. They said he largely kept to himself.
“He followed her around, circled around a couple times, located her, and then began to interface with her,” authorities said.
Authorities said the break in the case came when they found an individual who had security cameras and were able to identify a black vehicle that they believed belonged to Rivera. Authorities said they tracked the patterns and routes that Rivera allegedly took with the vehicle. They also found images of Mollie running on this video. When interviewed, the suspect also claimed he blacked out and awoke in the area where Mollie was found, authorities revealed. Authorities did not release specifically how Tibbetts was murdered but said an autopsy will be conducted. Mollie was found in a cornfield with cornstalks placed over her, authorities said.
Nick Miroff, national security reporter for The Washington Post, tweeted out the breaking news shortly before authorities confirmed the immigration angle in a news conference. He covers immigration. “SCOOP: Iowa investigators have made arrest in Mollie Tibbetts murder, and the suspect has a fed immigration detainer, meaning likely in the country illegally,” Miroff wrote.
The Washington Post story by Cleve R. Wootson Jr. also reported the information, adding, “Iowa state investigators said Tuesday they have a suspect in custody who is subject to a federal immigration detainer, typically an indication that the person is present in the United States illegally.”
Authorities revealed the details on the crime in a 4 p.m. press conference. You can watch the press conference here. Authorities had earlier confirmed that they recovered a body in a rural area of Poweshiek County. That county is where Brooklyn, Iowa is located. Tibbetts, a college student whose disappearance sparked national attention, disappeared while dog sitting in a home in Brooklyn, Iowa.
Law Enforcement Activity Focused on Fields Near Guernsey, Iowa
The news that Mollie Tibbetts’ body was found broke on the morning of August 21, 2018. KCRG-TV and other news outlets reported that Mollie’s body was found in rural Poweshiek County. Poweshiek County is the county that includes Brooklyn, where Mollie was staying when she vanished. It was soon clear that law enforcement activity was focused on a rural area of farm fields near a wildlife area and the small communities of Guernsey and Deep River, Iowa.
The specific location where law enforcement efforts focused was near Highway 21, reports indicated. That spot is about 12 miles from Brooklyn.
According to WHO-TV, the location was previously searched. Radar Online reported there was a law enforcement search “deep in farmland” on August 20.
According to a KCCI-TV live report, there was law enforcement activity underway in a location south of Guernsey, Iowa, and a medical examiner’s van had driven to that spot. The television station reported that the location was about 15 minutes south of Brooklyn, just off Highway 21 on 460th Avenue. There was a detour put up around 5 a.m. this morning, according to locals, the television station reported.
You can watch video from the scene of that search above. Here’s a map of the FAA flight restricted area in rural Iowa:
A KCCI-TV reporter then posted that she was going to an area in southeast Guernsey:
She reported seeing many police barricades. Other reporters were also at the locations.
According to KCCI, the location was just a few miles from Guernsey and Deep River, which are both extremely small communities in rural Iowa. It’s an area that includes several farms and a wildlife area, and the authorities were working at a location with a gravel road.
Authorities did confirm early on they had found a body, but they didn’t say it was Mollie until the news conference:
Mollie’s body was found on August 21, 2018, reports said.
Previously, authorities had released a website that asked the public for information about various locations in connection with Mollie’s disappearance.
That website, titled Finding Mollie, said, “On Wednesday, July 18, 2018, Mollie Tibbetts was last seen jogging in Brooklyn, Iowa in the evening hours. There have been no credible sightings of, or communications with, Mollie since that time. Law enforcement is currently seeking additional witnesses and wants to speak to anyone who was in the areas indicated below on July 18, 2018 between the hours of 5PM and 10PM.” It’s not clear, though, what information led authorities to the body after so much time searching. Authorities have not yet announced any suspects.
The law enforcement website had indicated authorities were interested in Mollie’s “boyfriend’s home in Brooklyn, a car wash, a truck stop, a farm more than three miles from downtown Brooklyn, and another farm more than six miles away,” according to CBS News.
The FBI had previously said it was believed Mollie was with someone she knew but never gave information to the public on any suspect or person of interest.
The Search for Mollie Spanned More Than a Month
Mollie’s disappearance sparked national attention and a desperate search by her family after she was last seen jogging while house sitting dogs at a home in rural Brooklyn, Iowa. However, her distraught father had just announced that he was returning to his home in California after a month of searching for Mollie.
The college student had seemed to vanish without any trace, although other reports said that she had done homework on her computer after going for a jog and that there appeared to be no signs of a struggle. It was said that she had left her glasses and contacts behind and Fox News previously reported that a red shirt was located, although it was unclear whether it was Mollie’s and the report was not confirmed by authorities.