Two Marshalltown attorneys to represent suspect in Tibbetts case

Cristhian Bahena Rivera is escorted into the Poweshiek County Courthouse for his initial court appearance, Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018, in Montezuma, Iowa. Rivera is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Mollie Tibbetts, who disappeared July 18 from Brooklyn, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Two Marshalltown attorneys are now representing the suspect in the Mollie Tibbetts case.

Cristhian Bahena Rivera was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Mollie Tibbetts, who disappeared July 18 from Brooklyn, Iowa.

Marshalltown attorneys Chad Frese, of Kaplan & Frese, LLP and Jennifer Frese, of Johnson, Bonzer & Barnaby, P.C. are now representing Rivera, according to Poweshiek County court documents.

Rivera led investigators early Tuesday to a body believed to be Tibbetts in a cornfield about 12 miles southeast of Brooklyn, where Tibbetts was last seen running, Division of Criminal Investigation special agent Rick Rahn said.

An affidavit attached to the criminal complaint against Rivera alleged that he admitted to investigators he got out of his car and started running alongside Tibbetts.

Tibbetts grabbed her phone and said she was going to call the police. The affidavit says Rivera panicked and then said he blacked out. Rivera next remembers seeing her earphones on his lap, and taking her bloody body out of the trunk of his car according to the affidavit.

“The defendant further described during the interview that he dragged Tibbetts on foot from his vehicle to a secluded location in a cornfield,” the affidavit said.

The Iowa college student who was allegedly abducted by a stranger while running last month was killed by “multiple sharp force injuries,” investigators announced last week.

Preliminary autopsy results from the state medical examiner’s office also determined that 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts was the victim of a homicide, the Division of Criminal Investigation announced in a press release.

Rivera, who was in the country illegally, worked on a dairy farm for years under a false name just a few miles from where Tibbetts was allegedly abducted.

Reporting from the AP contributed to this piece.


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