Christhian Bahena Rivera, 24, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder after leading police to Mollie Tibbetts‘ body in a cornfield on Aug. 21. Now, he’s pleading not guilty to her untimely death.
According to several outlets, the 24-year-old was arraigned at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday and appeared before District Court Judge Joel Yates at the Poweshiek County Courthouse.
Mollie had been missing for nearly five weeks when her father finally confirmed that her body was found in Gurnsey, IA. The rural area is a 15-minute drive from Brooklyn, where Mollie lived with her boyfriend and his brother. She had been staying in the house alone at the time, as both men were off on construction jobs, and she was last seen alive heading out for a jog.
Mollie was a psychology major at the University of Iowa. She was a sophomore in school and just 20 years old when her life was cut short. As soon as she went missing, a massive hunt ensued to find her. At first, her father and family remained hopeful that she would be returned safely, but as the weeks passed, they feared the worst.
Previously, Radar reported that the suspected killer begged taxpayers for money to get him off the hook. He allegedly asked for $5,000, knowing the “amount is probably considerably less than what will actually be necessary to conduct all investigation in this matter.”
Rivera has since blamed memory loss and rage on his inability to recall the events that ensued on that fateful night, and sources close to the investigation think there’s still a lot that needs to be uncovered. “This case is far from finished,” a separate source Radar. “It appears there are more pieces to this puzzle — each day everyone learns something new about Cristhian Rivera — and the investigation will unravel all of the ghosts that he has in his closet.”
Currently, Rivera sits in jail on a $1 million bond. His trial is set for April 2019.