DAVENPORT, Iowa – The state of Iowa wrapped its case on Monday against Cristhian Bahena Rivera, the man accused of killing Mollie Tibbetts.
The fourth day of testimony began with Division of Criminal Investigation Agent Trent Vileta, who oversaw the investigation. He said Tibbetts’ risk level was very low based on the lifestyle she lived.
Vileta answered many questions from both sides about the different suspects and evidence in the case.
Prosecutor Scott Brown: “Who provided you that information prior to you seeing her in the cornfield?
Vileta: Cristhian Rivera.
Brown: Did any of the other men that you interviewed at all give you that type of information?
Brown: One person in this case is that right?
Vileta: That’s correct.
Brown: And that person is the man seated here to my right, Cristhian Rivera, would you agree?
Tibbetts was 20 years old when she disappeared while jogging in her hometown of Brooklyn in July of 2018.
Tibbetts’ body was found mid-August in a cornfield. Investigators say Rivera led them to her body and confessed to putting her there. He was first identified as a suspect by investigators after the car he drove appeared on surveillance footage.
Defense attorney Chad Frese cross-examined Vileta with questions about investigators’ 11-hour interview with Rivera, who was able to interview him, and how the language barrier created challenges.
Frese: The evidence that you have, that Cristhian Bahena actually killed Molly Tibbets came from his mouth right?
Vileta: Well there’s physical evidence too.
Frese: That puts the knife in his hand?
Vileta: That puts her blood and DNA in the trunk of his car.
Frese: That puts her in the trunk, agreed?
Frese: Does it put him stabbing her?
Frese: OK, that’s all I have.
An FBI cellular expert discussed how data from her cell phone and FitBit showed where she was and how fast she was going on her run the night she disappeared.
Investigators were not able to locate Tibbetts’ phone or FitBit. No weapons were found either.
The state’s medical examiner as well as a forensic anthropologist spoke about their work with the case as well.
The jury saw many autopsy images. A majority of those were not broadcast to the public.
The trial will continue Tuesday morning at 8:30.