Mollie Tibbetts murder: killer, Cristhian Bahena Rivera, gets life in prison

Cristhian Bahena Rivera has been sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for the fatal stabbing of Mollie Tibbetts, an Iowa college student, in 2018.

According to the judge who sentenced Cristhian Bahena Rivera to spend the rest of his life in prison, he had “forever changed the lives” of those who loved Mollie Tibbetts. The sentence he got is one mandatory in Iowa for those convicted of first-degree murder.

A representative of the Attorney General’s Office, Laura Calderwood, read a statement by Tibbetts’ mother, asking Bahena to imagine the pain her family felt. She went ahead to ask how he would feel if it were his family, including his young daughter, who had to suffer such a tragedy.

Mollie Tibbetts was a University of Iowa student who went out for a run on Wednesday, 18 July 2018, but never returned. The search for her drew national attention and kicked off a month-long manhunt that ended when Bahena Rivera, a Mexican national, led investigators to the rural cornfield where they found her remains.

Mollie Tibbetts murder: killer, Cristhian Bahena Rivera, gets life in prison
Cristhian Bahena Rivera mugshot

After a series of investigations and trials, it was uncovered that Behena’s car was driving around the area where she was last seen. After a marathon interview with the cops, he admitted to following Tibbetts, whom he thought was “hot.”

He also admitted that they struggled briefly, and then he blacked out only to later see his victim’s bloodied body was in his trunk.

5 facts about Mollie Tibbetts

1. Mollie Cecilia Tibbetts was born in San Francisco on 8 May 1998 to parents Rob Tibbetts and Laura Tibbetts. Her parents divorced when she was in the second grade, so she and her siblings moved in with their mum.

2. Before her disappearance, she worked at a children’s day camp at Grinnell Regional Medical Center while preparing for her sophomore year in college.

3. She was reported missing after she didn’t go to work on the morning of 19 July 2018 and also stopped responding to messages.

4. The police started searching for her with data obtained from her FitBit, a wearable activity tracker that is like a wristwatch that uses wireless technology to measure data like the number of steps walked, heart rate, sleep quality, steps climbed and other fitness metrics. Her boyfriend, Dalton Jack, informed the police that she wore the tracker all the time.

5. Her family described her as “very responsible & conscientious”. Laura, her mother, told The Gazette that her daughter loved life at school. In her words, “She’s very intelligent, and she loved college and really enjoyed studying. She loves life and lives it to the fullest. She is very happy and social, she loved to sing and perform, and she loves caring for the kids at the daycare where she works.”

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