How Police Caught Mollie Tibbetts’ Suspected Murderer Cristhian Bahena Rivera

Charlie NeibergallAP Images

Mollie Tibbetts’ disappearance from rural Brooklyn, Iowa, rocked the entire nation as the search for the 20-year-old student lasted for over a month. And while tips poured in at such a rapid pace that her website required a second server, one person had the key to helping the police make a big break in the case.

The neighbor, who is unnamed, handed their home surveillance footage to police. After reviewing hours of footage, police finally caught Mollie on tape on her evening jog at an area east of Brooklyn. Her boyfriend and family all believed she was jogging when she disappeared, so that piece of information lined up. The police then saw a black Chevy Malibu driving back and forth “numerous” times, and then it started following the girl, according to CNN.

From there, police were able to discover that Cristhian Bahia Rivera was the driver, and “from that we were able to track his pattern in the routes in which he took,” said Rick Rahn, special agent of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.

The surveillance footage played an incredibly important role in discovering Mollie’s fate, as police reportedly did not have any knowledge of Rivera, and was not pursuing him as a potential suspect.

When police arrested Rivera, he made a full confession of what he remembered and did not remember. Rivera claims that he “blacked out” during his interaction with Mollie, but later came to realize what he had done. He recalled feeling threatened when Mollie said she would call the police if he didn’t leave her alone.

While Mollie had an iPhone during her jog, she was unfortunately unable to call for help in time. NBC26 detailed all the ways other than using the dialpad to call for help as soon as possible.

For people with iPhone 8 or higher, press and hold the side button (more commonly known as the power button) and one of the volume buttons. The “Emergency SOS” slider will pop up, just slide the button to initiate a 911 call. However, you can also just press and hold the side button and one of the volume buttons to start a countdown. In this case, after the countdown ends, an emergency call is automatically made.

If you have an iPhone 7 or older, you have to “rapidly press” the side button five times. This will get the “Emergency SOS” slider to pop up, which you can then use to make the call.

Siri users can say “Hey Siri, dial 9-1-1.” If you have an Android, you can use Google Assistant by saying “Ok, Google, call 9-1-1-.”

All iPhones send your location information and your emergency contacts if you use the Emergency SOS feature.