College student Mollie Tibbetts was abducted and murdered by a man who saw her jogging, say police


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College student Mollie Tibbetts was abducted and murdered by a man who saw her jogging, say police

She was found dead this morning

A month after college student Mollie Tibbetts disappeared, an arrest has finally been made. Cristhian Rivera, 24, who lives in Iowa, has been charged with murdering her. Cops say he approached Mollie while she was out jogging, started speaking to her and then chased her down as she tried to run away.

According to the Poweshiek Sheriff's office, Rivera says he blacked out and came to at an intersection 10 miles away where Mollie's body was found. He led investigators to her body. Police have not yet announced how she died, or what Rivera's motive was.

At a press conference just now, Sheriff Tom Kriegel confirmed that Mollie was killed by Rivera. Kriegel said Rivera admitted to seeing her when she was jogging on the day she disappeared. He approached her as she ran, and started speaking to her, according to the Poweshiek Sheriff's office.

"He followed her around, circled her a couple times… And then interfaced with her around 385th Street," said the Poweshiek Sheriff. He went on to say Mollie took her phone out and threatened to call the police, asking Rivera to leave her alone. She took off running, but Rivera chased her down. Rivera then claimed to have blacked out, coming to at an intersection near where Mollie's body was found over 10 miles away.

Investigators discovered her body in a corn field with stalks placed on top of her. They credited security camera footage which showed Rivera's black Malibu driving near Mollie on her jog with leading them to her alleged killer.

Cops did not confirm if Rivera knew Mollie. When we searched his Facebook, we saw Rivera has mutual friends with her and her family.

Cristhian Rivera

Investigators did not say how Mollie died, nor why Rivera wanted to speak to her, explaining they would do so at a later date. Rivera was initially said to be in Iowa illegally, and had been living in the States for over four years.

Today, Rivera's lawyer confirmed he is in fact legally in the US. He is being held in Poweshiek County Jail and charged with first degree murder, which has a sentence in Iowa of life without parole.

A recent photo of Rivera

Mollie was a college student on vacation before her sophomore year at University of Iowa, and staying at her boyfriend's place in Brooklyn, Iowa. She was last seen jogging on the evening of July 18th. Texts from her boyfriend went unanswered, and she was reported missing after not showing up for work the next day.

The 20-year-old's disappearance sparked a statewide manhunt as cops desperately looked for her. As Mollie's family made desperate pleas calling for her safe return, they heard nothing, until this morning, when police confirmed they found her body.

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Missing Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts found dead