116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
It’s been nearly three years since Mollie Tibbetts went missing, her body found over a month after she went missing while on a run in her hometown of Brooklyn, Iowa. The trial for her murder is set to begin this week.
Here’s a timeline of the case, beginning with the day the 20-year-old University of Iowa student went missing. Jury selection began Monday in the trial for Cristhian Bahena Rivera, the 26-year-old Mexican national charged with first-degree murder in Tibbetts’ death.
July 18: Mollie Tibbetts goes for an evening run in Brooklyn and disappears.
July 19: She does not show up for work. Her mother, Laura Calderwood, reports her missing.
July 20: Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation joins the search for Tibbetts.
July 23: FBI agents join the investigation.
Aug. 21: Authorities find Tibbetts’ body in a cornfield and charge Cristhian Bahena Rivera with murder.
Aug. 22: Bahena Rivera makes his initial appearance in Poweshiek County District Court. Vigils in honor of Tibbetts are held in Brooklyn and Iowa City.
Aug. 23: Iowa State Medical Examiner releases cause of death as “sharp force trauma.”
Aug. 26: Crowd estimated at 2,000 attends funeral for Tibbetts.
Sept. 30: Hundreds of runners turn out for inaugural run in Brooklyn to honor her.
March 27: Judge moves Bahena Rivera’s trial to Woodbury County.
May 31: Court documents reveal DNA test confirms Tibbetts blood found in Bahena Rivera’s vehicle.
June 22: Bahena Rivera trial set to start Nov. 12 in Woodbury County.
Oct. 13: Trial reset to Feb. 4. Defense needs more time to hire two experts on sleep deprivation and DNA analysis.
Nov. 13-14: Hearing over key evidence of DNA, Bahena Rivera’s confession and Tibbetts’ body that defense wants to keep out of trial.
Dec. 23: Judge rules that most of the key evidence is admissible at trial, including testimony that Bahena Rivera led authorities to find Tibbett’s body in a cornfield near Guernsey.
Jan. 22: Judge puts trial on hold because defense asks Iowa Supreme Court to review district judge’s ruling on key evidence. A pretrial appeal is rarely accepted for review, if at all, in Iowa.
Feb. 4: Iowa Supreme Court denies request for review.
April 14: Trial is reset to Sept. 29, after a second pretrial appeal is filed by the defense, asking for a three-member panel of the Iowa Supreme Court to review the key evidence ruling.
June 16: Both defense and prosecution want the trial reset to 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic. All trials in Iowa were on hold until after Sept. 13, 2020.
July 10: Judge resets trial to Jan. 26, 2021, and also grants request from attorneys to move trial to Scott County District Court to accommodate schedules.
Dec. 10: Judge resets trial to May 17, 2021, because of the pandemic. All trials were again put on hold until Feb. 1 because of pandemic.
May 11: Judge prohibits media from being in courtroom because of space limitations with social distancing but he does allow the trial to be livestreamed for the public to watch. One still photographer and camera for video allowed. The livestream will be shown on TheGazette.com. The judge will make the proceedings available for journalists covering the trial remotely on Zoom.
May 17: Jury selection begins at River Center in Davenport to allow for social distancing. Once a jury is selected, testimony will begin at the Scott County Courthouse. Attorneys estimated that may begin Wednesday or Thursday. Trial is expected to last 10 days.
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