Public Safety

Mollie Tibbetts timeline: What we know so far

Missing person signs are printed at Live Now Photography and Design in Brooklyn on Friday, Aug. 3, 2018. The shop in downtown Brooklyn has been busy printing missing person signs and t-shirts to spread the word about Mollie Tibbetts’ disappearance. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Missing person signs are printed at Live Now Photography and Design in Brooklyn on Friday, Aug. 3, 2018. The shop in downtown Brooklyn has been busy printing missing person signs and t-shirts to spread the word about Mollie Tibbetts’ disappearance. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

After missing more than a month, Mollie Tibbetts’ body was found Tuesday, and 24-year-old Cristhian Bahena Rivera has been charged with first-degree murder in connection to her death. Rivera, and undocumented immigrant, led investigators to Tibbetts’ body in a cornfield near rural Brooklyn, Iowa, Tibbetts’ hometown.

Below is a timeline of the case so far and what we know from the developments following a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

July 18 — Mollie Tibbetts was last seen on this day. She was house sitting at her boyfriend’s home in Brooklyn. There were reports that she had gone for a run at about 7:30 p.m., and was expected back at her mother’s home for dinner, but never arrived. Her boyfriend later stated that he received Snapchat messages from Tibbetts at 10 p.m. that night.

July 20 — Law enforcement personnel, first responders and hundreds of local volunteers spent Thursday and Friday searching the area the between Tibbetts’ family’s home and her boyfriend’s place, which are located about 1.5 miles apart in Brooklyn, but she was nowhere to be found. The DCI and FBI has joined the investigation at this point.

July 26 — Investigators announce that their warrants regarding Mollie’s digital devices were starting to return information. “It’s been described to me as a massive amount of data that’s coming in from our search warrants,” Mitch Mortvedt, assistant director of field operations for the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation said. “And we have no real time frame as to how long it will take to sort through all of it, but it is going to take some time.”

July 31 — The first news conference was held by officials in Poweshiek County. During the conference authorities stated they have been chasing down more than 200 leads that had come in regarding Tibbetts. Investigators stated they were continuing to leverage digital data to craft a “digital footprint” for the night of July 18. Her last known clothing was also reiterated as “dark colored running shorts, a pink sports top, and running shoes.”

Aug. 1 — A reward fund for Mollie’s safe return is established, and the initial dollar amount is $30,000.

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Aug. 2 — A second news conference is held in Poweshiek County. On this day, the reward fun jumps to $172,000.

Aug. 9 — A third news conference regarding Tibbetts was canceled, and at this time the number of leads that had been sent into investigators exceeded 500. Tibbetts’ father was quoted at this time saying, “I believe she still is alive,” he said. “I believe she was taken by someone she knew or trusted, and that person is now in over his head and wondering how to end this.”

Aug. 15 — Investigators hold a third conference, in which they detail five points of interest. They also announced a website findingmollie.iowa.gov that would be used for updates regarding the case, as well as a location where the public could submit tips. Of the 5 points of interest, two were in the town of Brooklyn, one was a truck stop near I-80, and two were rural locations outside of Brooklyn. The total number of tips provided had reached 1,500, and the reward fund for her safe return topped $360,000.

Aug. 18 — Mollie Tibbetts’ father, Rob Tibbetts, decides to fly back home to California. At this time, Rob Tibbetts said that as soon as a development in his daughter’s case occurred, he would be returning to Iowa.

Aug. 21 — DCI officials announce that a body has been found in rural Poweshiek County, believed to be Mollie Tibbetts. Cristhian Bahena Rivera, 24, is arrested and charged with first-degree murder. Rivera, who is an undocumented immigrant, led investigators to Tibbetts’ body in a cornfield in rural Poweshiek County, investigators said Tuesday during a news conference.

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We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.