Iowa man sentenced to life in prison for 2018 murder of Mollie Tibbetts


IOWA (WOWK) – More than three years after Mollie Tibbetts disappeared while going for a jog in her hometown, the man convicted of killing her has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Tibbetts, a University of Iowa student, was last seen alive on July 18, 2018, when she left her home in the town of Brooklyn to go for a run and never returned. A nationwide search was launched in the days after her disappearance but there was no sign of her for months.

Then, in August 2018, police used home surveillance video to identify a vehicle of interest that ultimately led them to Cristhian Bahena Rivera. In a police interview, he admitted to confronting Tibbetts during her run, and her responding by hitting him and threatening to call the police. The next thing he recalled was taking her body out of his truck and placing her in a cornfield. He led authorities to her body and was taken into custody.

An autopsy showed Tibbetts died of multiple stab wounds. Her DNA was discovered in the trunk of Rivera’s car. Rivera was convicted on May 28, 2021, of first-degree murder.

Rivera’s attorneys had requested a new trial for their client based on alleged confessions from an Iowa inmate who claimed Rivera may have been set up to cover for a sex trafficking operation. That request was denied.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending on

Today's Central OH Forecast

Get severe weather email alerts

Don't Miss

Local News

Ohio State University Marching Band halftime performance for Sept. 18, 2021

Skull Session 9/18/2021

Lancaster Band 100th

Liz McGiffin: Warm last weekend of summer

Referee crew says they were locked inside locker room

One-on-One with J.D. Vance

More Local News