The Associated Press reports that the body of missing college student Mollie Tibbetts in Iowa was found today by authorities, and a Mexican citizen in the U.S. illegally has confessed to kidnapping, murdering and dumping her in a cornfield.
Cristhian Bahena Rivera, 24, was arrested today and charged with first-degree murder. Tibbetts was reported missing on July 18, leading to a massive search.
Rivera led authorities to her body just 12 miles southeast of Brooklyn, where Tibbetts was last seen jogging. Authorities believe that Rivera followed her before abducting her. Rivera is being held at the Montezuma jail.
Experts expect this will lead to a greater crackdown on illegal immigration. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has entered a federal immigration detainer for Rivera since his arrest for the murder. This means he is likely to be subject to deportation.
It is believed that Rivera lived in the area for four to seven years, and mostly kept to himself. He has no prior criminal history and it is unknown if he has ever before been party to deportation proceedings.
Rivera was found after he was seen on surveillance video in Brooklyn in a Chevy Malibu, passing Tibbetts several times while she was running. Rivera allegedly told police he left his vehicle to start running next to her. She threatened to call police, and he claims he blacked out. He next remembered hauling her bloodied body from his trunk into a cornfield.
Investigators had searched the area earlier, but her body was covered too well by cornstalks to see it. An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday.
The first-degree murder charge in Iowa carries a mandatory life sentence without parole, but no death penalty.
*Photo credit Associated Press