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Prosecution rests in murder trial of University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts

Student Killed-Iowa
Posted at 10:44 AM, May 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-25 12:44:29-04

Cristhian Bahena Rivera is currently on trial for the first-degree murder of University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts, who disappeared while out running in July 2018 in Brooklyn, Iowa.

Division of Criminal Investigation agent Trent Vileta testified at the Scott County Courthouse in Davenport as the trial entered its second week, the Associated Press reported.

On Monday, Vileta told jurors that Rivera was a person of interest after investigators linked him to a car that a video captured near where Tibbetts disappeared in 2018.

But due to a shortage of Spanish-speaking officers, Vileta said speaking to Rivera was delayed four days because the department "didn't have any Spanish speakers," the AP reported.

Prosecutors said Tibbetts was followed by Rivera while out running on July 18, 2018, killed her after she threatened to call the police and then hid the body in a cornfield, the Des Moines Register reported.

Rivera led investigators to her body after he made a partial confession on August 20, 2018. Investigators also found Tibbett's DNA in his trunk.

Investigators never found a murder weapon, Vileta said, and they don't have physical evidence tying Rivera to Tibbetts' murder, but they know that her body was in his trunk.

During his interview with police, Rivera said he "blacked out" and didn't remember how he killed Tibbetts.

The prosecution rested on Monday, and the defense is set to begin calling witnesses Tuesday.

If convicted, Bahena Rivera, 26, faces life in prison.