"We have confirmed with Homeland Security investigations that he is an illegal alien, and we believe that [Rivera] has been in this area now for four to seven years", said Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Rick Rahn in a press conference, according to a live stream.
A complaint and affidavit names Cristhian Bahena Rivera, who resides in rural Poweshiek County, in the charge of murder in the first degree.
The Des Moines Register reported, citing the criminal complaint filed by police, that Rivera told authorities he saw Tibbetts jogging on July 18, got out of his vehicle and began "running behind her and alongside her".
Authorities said surveillance video helped them determine a suspect.
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After a lengthy interview, Rivera led detectives to the body of the slain woman, Rahn said. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette) A blue ribbon waves in the wind outside a store with a poster for Mollie Tibbetts in Brooklyn on Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018.
Investigators said Tibbetts was last seen July 18 in Brooklyn, a rural community of about 1,400 people, as she took a routine evening jog.
She had been staying at Jack's house at the time to watch his dogs, and he raised the alarm after she failed ot show up for work the next day.
There, Rivera told police he took Tibbetts out of his trunk and "noticed blood on the side of her head". I want to commend our law enforcement officials who worked around the clock to investigate this crime.
The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation planned a 5 p.m. news conference ET to provide an update on the case.
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If convicted, Rivera could face life in prison, the AP reported.
The body of an adult female was found early Tuesday in a farm field southeast of Brooklyn, approximately two miles from where Tibbetts was last seen jogging on July 18.
"We're gonna come get you", he said. The immigration laws are such a disgrace, we're getting them changed, but we have to get more Republicans.
In the days since Mollie Tibbetts disappeared, a team of dozens of local, state and federal officers have fielded more than 4,000 leads and conducted hundreds of interviews. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds released a written statement Tuesday saying her heart goes out to the family, and that the country's immigration system is at fault.
Last week, Vice President Mike Pence met privately with the Tibbetts family during a visit to Iowa and told them that "you're on the hearts of every American". It is significant because if we had stronger border security, it is possible that Mollie Tibbetts would be alive today. At that point, Rivera says he panicked and "blocked his memory which is what he does when he gets very upset".
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Fox News and CBS News reported Tuesday that her body has been found. His defense attorney, Allan Richards, said Rivera came to the USA as a minor, held a job in the community and has no prior criminal record.