- The man charged with first-degree murder in the death of 20-year old Mollie Tibbetts reportedly made repeated unsolicited advances on social media towards local young women.
- One woman told The New York Times that she once rejected Cristhian Bahena Rivera’s advances, but he repeatedly messaged her over social media.
- She said she discussed Bahena Rivera with female friends, and they said he messaged them, too.
- “Something about him was off,” said a 20-year-old Iowa woman who turned him down for a date.
The man charged with first-degree murder in the death of 20-year old Mollie Tibbetts made repeated unsolicited advances on social media towards local young women, according to a New York Times report.
Cristhian Bahena Rivera was a familiar fixture in Brooklyn, Iowa, where he worked for the last four years at a dairy farm a few miles from where Tibbetts was last seen.
Brooke Bestell, a local 20-year-old woman, told the Times she once turned him down when he asked her out on a date, but he repeatedly messaged her on Facebook late at night though they didn’t speak in person.
“He would just stare. He wouldn’t really like talk,” Bestell said. “Something about him was off.”
Bestell said he would message her “just over and over, like every week or so.” She said the most recent message from Bahena Rivera came June 13 at 3 a.m.
After Bahena Rivera was arrested, two of Bestell’s friends told her that he had also messaged them and Bestell said she wondered “how many other girls he probably was trying to talk to.”
Bahena Rivera is jailed on a $5 million cash bond after prosecutors allege he abducted Tibbetts while she was out for an evening run in Brooklyn on July 18, killed her, and disposed of her body in a cornfield.
Preliminary autopsy results from the state medical examiner’s office found Tibbetts died from “multiple sharp force injuries.”
Law enforcement officials and Bahena Rivera’s employer told the Times that the suspect seemed like a hardworking and law-abiding presence in the community, who was often seen in the local park and grocery store.
Authorities said Bahena Rivera and Tibbetts have no known connection beyond that he allegedly told investigators that he had seen her running previously.
The case has rocked the small town and dominated political discussion after President Donald Trump jumped on the news that Rivera was allegedly in the country illegally and called for stricter immigration laws, calling current laws a “disgrace.” Tibbetts’ family has hit back at the illegal immigration discussion surrounding the case.
The heavy coverage of Tibbetts’ case has sparked online discussion over a recorded minimum 48 Iowa juveniles who went missing in July. Though the nervewracking statistic circulated online, officials told USA Today it was within expected rates.