Cristhian Bahena Rivera (spelled earlier by some sources as Christian Rivera) was arrested by police in connection to the death of Mollie Tibbetts, a long-missing University of Iowa student. Rivera’s Facebook profile reveals that a woman he was once romantically connected to online, Iris Monarrez, was friends on Facebook with Mollie Tibbetts and other members of her family. Monarrez is in no way connected to Tibbetts’ death and is another innocent victim in a tragic and horrific crime. In a press conference, officials said that Rivera is the only person connected to Tibbett’s death. Rivera confessed to police, telling authorities that he approached Tibbetts while she was jogging the night that she disappeared. He led police to Tibbett’s body.
People following Tibbetts’ case have wondered if whoever was responsible for Tibbetts’ disappearance might have had some kind of previous connection to her. Although Rivera was not friends with Mollie Tibbetts on Facebook, he was only separated from her by one connection. Rivera has 502 friends on Facebook, and none of them are members of Tibbetts’ family. But a woman that he posted lovingly about on Facebook three to five years ago, Iris Monarrez, is friends on Facebook with Mollie Tibbetts and other members of her family. She is being referred to in this story as Rivera’s ex-girlfriend because she has not made any public posts about Rivera in a number of years and they are not friends on Facebook. The current status of their relationship is not known.
On June 15, 2013, Rivera posted on Facebook: “First Met Iris Monarrez. El mejor día de mi vida.” This translates to: “The best day of my life.” Monarrez also posted about Rivera on her own page.
He also posted a photo of a baby and tagged Monarrez in the picture.
Between 2013 and 2015, Monarrez had made multiple posts on Facebook about Rivera. This one shows them posing together:
And this one is when he commented on a profile picture update she made in 2015:
Monarrez is friends on Facebook with Mollie Tibbetts, Scott Tibbetts, and Jake Tibbetts. Jake and Scott are Mollie’s brothers.
Exactly how Monarrez and Tibbetts knew each other is not confirmed, but a few high school newsletters indicate that they may have gone to the same high school together, although they weren’t the same age. It’s not clear if they knew each other well or if Rivera ever actually met Tibbetts through Monarrez.
Rivera posted a few other public photos on Facebook that did not include Monarrez, including photos of himself like this one:
Monarrez has not made any public posts on her Facebook page since 2015. This is a developing story.