MONTEZUMA, Iowa —A suspect is in custody in connection with the death of Mollie Tibbetts, according to authorities.
The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation confirmed Tuesday during a news conference that Cristhian Bahena Rivera, 24, is charged with first-degree murder.
Authorities confirmed Rivera is an illegal alien and is being held on a federal detainer.
Authorities said Tibbetts’ body was located in a cornfield southeast of Brooklyn.
The 20-year-old was last seen jogging July 18. Investigators said Rivera saw Tibbetts running and began running alongside her.
Court documents said Tibbetts threatened to call police and that Rivera “got mad” and “blocked” his “memory.”
Rivera told police that the next thing he remembered was finding an earpiece from headphones in his lap and realizing that he had placed Tibbetts in his truck.
He then drove out into a cornfield and placed Tibbetts’ body there, according to court documents.
Authorities said surveillance video brought investigators to Rivera. Rivera brought investigators to Tibbetts’ body.
“Our hearts go out to the Tibbetts family and to the Brooklyn community. It is a loss for all of us,” Poweshiek County Sheriff Tom Kriegel said. “We appreciate the support for law enforcement community in their commitment to this investigation, and we thank the Brooklyn community for their support for the investigation.”
Gov. Kim Reynolds issued a statement following the news conference that said, in part, “As Iowans, we are heartbroken, and we are angry. We are angry that a broken immigration system allowed a predator like this to live in our community, and we will do all we can bring justice to Mollie’s killer”
According to the arrest warrant, Rivera is being held on a $1 million cash bond.