Right to Speedy Trial Waived

Rick Tracewell

Defense lawyers and prosecutors agree that they need more time to build their cases. Cristhian Rivera waives his right to a speedy trial.

Cause of Death

Rick Tracewell

The Iowa State Medical Examiner released preliminary findings that Mollie Tibbetts died of”multiple sharp force injuries.” The report oncluded her manner of death was homicide. It said further examination could result in additional findings.

Trial Postponed a Third Time

Rick Tracewell

Due to an order from the Iowa Supreme Court, which postponed jury trials because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Rivera’s trial is rescheduled for May 17, 2021.

Trial Postponed Again

Rick Tracewell

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Rivera’s trial was moved to Scott County, and was rescheduled to start in January of 2021.

Rivera Enters a Plea, Trial Postponed

Rick Tracewell

Cristhian Bahena Rivera enters a plea of not guilty. Originally, Rivera’s trial was set to go ahead in Poweshiek County, but his attorneys argued that he would never get a fair trial there, and it was moved to Sioux City. His trial is set for September 2019, but was postponed for a year, with a trial date set in September of 2020.

Rivera is Charged

Rick Tracewell

Rivera was charged with first-degree murder and held on cash-only bond of five million dollars.

Mollie’s Body Found

Rick Tracewell

Rivera led investigators to Mollie’s body. He lay her amongst the corn face up and covered her with corn leaves. After the discovery of the body, Officer Pamela Romero said that she read Rivera his rights again and this time they were complete. She said that he provided “substantial information” about how Tibbetts was killed and left in the field at that point.

Cristhian Bahena Rivera Detained

Rick Tracewell

Police identify the owner/driver of the car as Cristhian Bahena Rivera, who worked at a Brooklyn dairy farm. Rivera partially confessed to police, but was not properly read his Miranda rights. Officer Pamela Romero later testified that she tried to read Rivera a Miranda warning during the interrogation but didn’t realize until later that she left one part out, failing to tell him that his statements could be used against him in court. Romero said her failure was a mistake and not an attempt to keep him talking without a lawyer.

Investigators Get a Break

Rick Tracewell

Investigators spot Mollie in footage from a Brooklyn, IA resident’s home. In the footage, they spot a black Chevy Malibu driving back and forth several times, eventually following Mollie as she ran. (Car pictured not actually Rivera’s car.)

Second Search of Pig Farm

Rick Tracewell

On August 3, FBI agents returned to the pig farm and interviewed Cheney a second time.