A suspect in Mollie Tibbetts’ death is under arrest and is “subject to [an] immigration detainer,” according to police officials.
During a Tuesday press conference, police confirmed that the man is an illegal alien.
Rick Rahn, special agent in charge at the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, told reporters that law enforcement has “confirmed with Homeland Security Investigations that he is an illegal alien, and we believe he’s been in this area [of Iowa] for four to seven years.”
The suspect, Christian Bahena Rivera, 24, apparently led investigators to the location of Mollie Tibbetts’ body after confirming that he interacted with her while she was running — and that she felt threatened by him.
Rivera claimed he “blacked out” at some point during their interaction, officials said.
Heartbroken by the news about Mollie Tibbetts. Mollie was an amazing young woman and we are praying for her parents, brothers & friends in this time of unimaginable grief…. https://t.co/JesB2VXjnN
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) August 21, 2018
BREAKING: Cristhian Bahena Rivera, 24, an undocumented immigrant, has been arrested for the death and disappearance of Mollie Tibbetts. pic.twitter.com/dndgyUieOp
— Bill Schammert (@BillSchammert) August 21, 2018
The man accused of killing Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts is an illegal alien. But Democrats will tell you that ICE agents are the bad guys.
— toddstarnes (@toddstarnes) August 21, 2018
Just watch as all the Liberals go out of their way to defend the illegal immigrant who killed Mollie Tibbetts. Is he one of your DREAMErs, too? Sick.
— Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) August 21, 2018
First degree murder charged in Mollie Tibbetts disappearance. 24-year-old Cristihian Bahena Rivera, 24. Rivera lives in Poweshiek Co. Authorities confirm "he is an illegal alien." pic.twitter.com/W00podixui
— KWWL (@KWWL) August 21, 2018
The suspect in Mollie Tibbetts’ death is an illegal immigrant. Tell me again how our President’s stance on immigration is “too strict.” Literally sick to my stomach. This shouldn’t have happened.
— Emily Russell (@Emily_Russell1) August 21, 2018
Nick Miroff, a national security reporter for The Washington Post who covers immigration, tweeted out earlier on Tuesday afternoon: “SCOOP: Iowa investigators have made arrest in Mollie Tibbetts’ murder, and the suspect has a fed[eral] immigration detainer, meaning likely in the country illegally.”
Tibbetts, a 20-year-old college student whose disappearance in mid-July sparked national attention, disappeared while jogging in the rural farming town of Brooklyn, Iowa.
Rahn told the media that Rivera said he saw Tibbetts running, got out of his car, and ran alongside of her, Rahn said.
Law enforcement officials became focused on a rural area of farm fields near a wildlife area and the small communities of Guernsey and Deep River, Iowa, specifically near Highway 21, about 12 miles from Brooklyn.
A KCCI-TV live report said there was law enforcement activity underway in a location south of Guernsey, Iowa, and a medical examiner’s van had driven to that spot, noted Heavy.com.
The television station reported that the location was about 15 minutes south of Brooklyn, just off Highway 21 on 460th Avenue.
There was a detour put up at about 5 a.m., according to locals, as the television station reported.
Investigators were able to link Rivera to the Tibbetts case after “catching his black Chevy Malibu on surveillance camera the day Tibbetts disappeared,” the New York Post reported late Tuesday afternoon. “He was allegedly tailing her as she ran.”
“He followed her around,” said Rahn on Tuesday afternoon. “Circled around a couple times, located her, then began to interface with her.”
Officials will be doing an autopsy; the results are likely weeks away.
President Donald Trump, at his rally in Charleston, West Virginia, on Tuesday night, addressed the sad case, saying Mollie Tibbetts’ death “should never have happened.”
“You heard about [this] today, with the illegal alien coming in, very sadly, from Mexico,” said Trump. “And you saw what happened to that incredible, beautiful young woman … The laws are so bad. The immigration laws are such a disgrace.”
Rivera is being held on a $1 million bond.
Watch the video below:
This article has been updated.