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Culture > News

Missing College Student Mollie Tibbetts’ Body Has Reportedly Been Found

Authorities have announced that the body of missing University of Iowa student, Mollie Tibbetts, has been found. As previously covered by Her Campus, the case of the 20-year-old, who went missing over a month ago, had shaken the public nationwide and had also brought residents in the small town of Brooklyn, Iowa together to search for the college student — but to no avail.

According to the Des Moines Register, “thirty to 40 investigators have worked on the case each day.” Authorities had combed through buildings as well as open spaces in Brooklyn and her family even set up the Finding Mollie Tibbetts Facebook Group. Authorities had also turned to Mollie Tibbetts’ social media as well as her FitBit to try to find clues to her whereabouts.

Although a body was found earlier on in the investigations, it was found to belong to another woman, Sadie Alvarado. Mollie Tibbetts’ father, Robert Tibbetts, had made claims earlier in the investigation that he believed his daughter to be alive. A statement from the college student’s father on this latest piece of news has not yet been released. 

Police reported that the body was found in Powshieck County early Tuesday morning; however, officials have not yet determined whether the body does belong to Mollie Tibbetts.

Further details were shared in a news conference on Tuesday, August 21st. According to CNN, after watching hours of home surveillance video, authorities found clues that were able to lead them to a suspect. The suspect, Cristhian Bahena Rivera, lead authorities to a leaf-covered body in a cornfield on Tuesday. 

After examining the clothes at the scene and interviewing Rivera, authorities arrested the 24-year-old man and filed first-degree murder charges against him.

At this time, it is unclear why Rivera killed Tibbetts. 

“I can’t really speak to you about the motive,” said Rick Rahn, special agent in charge at the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation. “I can just tell you it seems that he followed her and seemed to be drawn to her on that particular day and for whatever reason he chose to abduct her.” 

According to court documents, Rivera said in his interview with law enforcement that Tibbetts pulled out her cell phone and said she would “call the police” when he approached her, making him angry. 

Shawn Neudauer, a spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), said the agency sent a detainer request to local authorities on Tuesday for Rivera, who is from Mexico. Though it’s previously been reported that Rivera was an undocumented immigrant, recent documents filed by Rivera’s lawyer state that he was working legally in the United States.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said she “spoke with Mollie’s family and passed on the heartfelt condolences of a grieving state.”

“I shared with them my hope that they can find comfort knowing that God does not leave us to suffer alone. Even in our darkest moments, He will comfort and heal our broken hearts,” Reynolds said.

An autopsy to determine how and when the woman died is set for Wednesday. 

Elizabeth is a second year student at Durham University, studying Sociology and Anthropology. She is currently a News x Social Media Intern at HC headquarters in Boston and has been involved in the Durham University chapter of Her Campus since January 2018. 
Emily has also authored political articles for Restless Magazine and numerous inspirational and empowering pieces for Project Wednesday. When she isn't writing, she can be found flying off to her next adventure, attempting new recipes, listening to one of her infinite playlists on Spotify, or cuddling with her dogs. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter @emilycveith.