Undocumented immigrant charged with murder of Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts

Man arrested for murder of Mollie Tibbetts
(Image credit: Screenshot/YouTube/AP)

On Tuesday, police in Iowa arrested Cristhian Rivera, 24, charging him with first-degree murder for the death of University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts. Tibbetts, 20, disappeared while jogging on the evening of July 16, sparking a search involving the FBI and state and local investigators. Rivera led police to a body in a cornfield on Tuesday morning, according to court documents, and police believe the body is Tibbetts'. Rivera's motive is unclear, Rick Rahn, special agent in charge at the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, said at a news conference, but the suspect says he got mad and blacked out when Tibbetts threatened to call the police as he was following her on her run. Rivera is an undocumented Mexican national who has lived in Iowa for at least four years. Tibbetts would have been a sophomore this fall. You can learn more below. Peter Weber

Update 3:25 p.m. ET: Rivera's lawyer filed a court document Wednesday morning that disputed the suspect's immigration status. Attorney Allen Richards said the "government is incorrectly promoting the idea that Rivera is not in Iowa legally," the Des Moines Register reported. In fact, Rivera was working legally at an Iowa farm owned by the brother of Craig Lang, a prominent Iowa Republican. Read more at the Des Moines Register.

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at TheWeek.com, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.