[UPDATE: Aug. 22, 2018, 5:08 p.m. ET] Court documents filed Wednesday, Aug. 22, show the man accused of killing Mollie Tibbetts was working legally in Iowa. His lawyer, Allen Richards has issued a statement after President Trump weighed in.
Authorities have apprehended a suspect in the murder of 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts, a University of Iowa student missing since July 18.
According to USA Today, Iowa police arrested 24-year-old Christhian Behena Rivera on Tuesday. Rivera, a legal resident of Iowa, was charged in the disappearance of Tibbetts. His attorney, Allen Richards requested a gag order via court documents on Wednesday after reports surfaced with the president weighing in, that Rivera was an "illegal undocument immigrant."
"Sad and sorry Trump has weighed in on this matter in national media which will poison the entire possible pool of jury members," Richards wrote after the president cited promoted the idea of how the student's death served as an example to why the U.S. "immigration laws are such a disgrace."
Rivera, a resident of the state for four to seven years, was working at Yarrabee Farms, a Brooklyn-area farm owned by Eric Lang, the brother of Craig Lang, a prominent Republican. Lang verified Rivera was legally living in Iowa.
"Craig Lang supports Cristhian's right to be in this jurisdiction and for the government to support any other idea of status publicly flies in the face of such statement," Richards wrote.
After talking with police on Monday, Rivera led them to Tibbetts' body, admitting that he had chased her down back in July. Tibbetts has been missing for more than a month, and her story has made national headlines.
Rick Rahn of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation confirmed that police had discovered Tibbetts' remains in a cornfield in Guernsey, Iowa. It's about a 15-minute drive from where Tibbetts was last seen alive in Brooklyn, Iowa. She had been covered with corn stalks and hidden, but police said Rivera led them to the spot.
During this time, police say that Rivera admitted he had approached Tibbetts while she was jogging on the day she disappeared. He said that in thec course of their interaction, the college student threatened to call the police. Rivera said that he began chasing her after that.
After that, Rivera said that he blacked out during his altercation with Tibbetts. While Rivera is in the U.S. illegally, Rahn said that he had been working in the area for at least four years — perhaps as long as seven. Rahn said that Rivera usually "kept to himself" and worked a lot. As for a motive, all he could offer was that Rivera "seemed to be drawn to her on that particular day and chose to abduct her."
The hunt for Tibbetts has been exhaustive this summer. Since she disappeared July 18, police have searched high and low — looking for her from above, diving into ponds and exploring local wilderness areas. She had last been seen leaving for her evening jog, and Rahn said that they finally had a break in the case when they found a glimpse of her on security footage.1comments
"Through that we were able to identify a vehicle that we believed belonged to Mr. Rivera," Rahn said. "From that we were able to track his patterns and the routes that he took. We were also able to find Mollie running on this video and we were able to determine that he was one of the last ones to have seen Mollie running."
Tibbetts was a sophomore at the University of Iowa. She was living with her boyfriend, Dalton Jack, who was out of town at the time.