CRISTHIAN Bahena Rivera, 26, told cops that Mollie Tibbetts “tried to slap him and was screaming at him,” a cop has testified.

While questioned in a cornfield, Rivera allegedly told Iowa officer Pamela Romero that he followed Tibbetts in his car, got out and started running behind her.

Rivera said that Tibbetts noticed him and tried to use her cell phone to call police.

“He said that Mollie tried to slap him and was screaming at him,” Romero testified. “Mr Rivera said this is when he became angry.”

Blood found in the suspect’s Chevy Malibu trunk “was a first match” for the slain student a forensics expert testified last week.

Tara Scott, a criminalist in the DNA section of Iowa’s crime lab, said she analyzed a swab taken from a blood stain found on the trunk seal after investigators recovered Tibbetts’ body.

“The profile I had from Mollie Tibbetts and the profile from that blood matched,” Scott testified. “They were exactly the same.”

Rivera, 26, has been charged with first-degree murder in Tibbetts’ stabbing death. He has pleaded not guilty.

Tibbetts, 20, vanished while out running on July 18, 2018, in Brooklyn, Iowa.

The interrogation tape was shown on the third day of the trial

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The interrogation tape was shown on the third day of the trialCredit: Court TV
Pictures showed bloodstains inside Rivera's trunk

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Pictures showed bloodstains inside Rivera’s trunkCredit: Court TV

Investigators recovered her partially naked, decomposing body from a cornfield a month later.

During the interrogation, Rivera led police to the cornfield where her body was found, telling them, “I brought you here, didn’t I? So that means that I did it.”

The defense, who presented the interrogation video as evidence, argued that Rivera appeared to be asleep during part of the questioning.

Pamela Romero, who interrogated Rivera, said on the witness stand that she was not aware Rivera was asleep, but a look at the interrogation transcript showed she had told the accused man, “You fell asleep.”

The trial continues.

  • MOLLIE TIBBETTS’ BOYFRIEND WAS ‘THE LOVE OF HER LIFE’

    Dalton Jack, who dated Tibbetts for three years with no breakups before she disappeared, described their love to the court during the Cristhian Bahena Rivera trial last week.

    Jack confirmed that his girlfriend would usually run one to six miles in the evening, describing her as a “happy, bubbly, goofy” person who “just liked to have fun.”

    Jack was described as the “the love of [Tibbetts’] life” in her obituary.

  • WHERE IS THE CRISTHIAN BAHENA RIVERA TRIAL?

    Cristhian Bahena Rivera’s trial was moved about 100 miles from Poweshiek County to Scott County after defense lawyers said residents around the small town of Brooklyn had strong opinions about his guilt.

    Rivera is accused of attacking and killing Mollie Tibbetts three years ago in July 2018 while she was going for a routine jog in Brooklyn, Iowa.

  • WHEN WAS MOLLIE TIBBETTS FOUND?

    Investigators say that Cristhian Bahena Rivera, who faces life in prison if convicted during his ongoing trial, led them to the cornfield where Mollie Tibbetts’ body was found in the early morning of August 21, 2018.

    Tibbetts, 20, disappeared while out jogging on July 18, 2018, in Brooklyn, Iowa.

  • WHAT WAS MOLLIE TIBBETTS’ CAUSE OF DEATH?

    Poweshiek County Attorney Bart Klaver revealed an autopsy found Mollie Tibbetts had been stabbed seven to 12 times in the chest, ribs, neck, and skull.

    He said police later searched the field where they found a body later identified as Tibbetts “decomposed beyond recognition.”

  • CHILLING FOOTAGE SHOWS TIBBETTS BEING FOLLOWED BY BLACK CAR

    On the second day of the trial of Cristhian Bahena Rivera, footage given to law enforcement was examined and showed a black car could be seen following around 20 seconds behind Mollie Tibbetts the day she went missing.

    Poweshiek County Attorney Bart Klaver told the court Rivera admitted he had seen Mollie the night she disappeared and that he found her attractive.

    The attorney claimed that Rivera admitted to running to catch up with Mollie before they fought when she threatened to call the cops.

  • SUSPECT LED COPS TO WHERE MOLLIE TIBBETTS BODY WAS FOUND

    Investigators say Cristhian Bahena Rivera, who faces life in prison if convicted during his ongoing trial, led them to the cornfield where Mollie Tibbetts’ body was found on August 21, 2018.

    He said he didn’t remember how he killed Tibbetts but that he hid her bloody body in the field underneath cornstalks, former officer Pamela Romero testified in court.

    However, attorneys for the suspect say the confession was false and coerced as a result of sleep deprivation as well as harsh interrogation techniques.

  • MOLLIE’S AUNT DOESN’T WANT ‘RACISM AND HATE’ BROUGHT INTO THE CONVERSATION AROUND HER DEATH

    Mollie Tibbetts’ aunt asked the public not to turn her murder and “movement” into “something ugly”.

    Billie Jo Calderwood wrote on Facebook: “Please remember, Evil comes in EVERY color.

    “Our family has been blessed to be surrounded by love, friendship and support throughout this entire ordeal by friends from all different nations and races.”

    She also reposted another sentiment that read, “Please do not compound the atrocity of what happened to her by adding racism and hate to the equation. …”

    “Do not turn #molliesmovement into something ugly.”

  • MOLLIE TIBBETTS BOYFRIEND DESCRIBES HER AS ‘BUBBLY’

    Mollie’s boyfriend, Dalton Jack, 23, now an Army sergeant stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, testified that he met Tibbetts at high school and had been dating her for three years.

    He described her as “happy, bubbly, goofy,” saying she liked to have fun and that she went jogging most days before her untimely death.

    Tibbetts was staying at the Brooklyn home where Jack and his older brother Blake Jack lived the day she went missing.

    She had been watching Blake Jack’s dogs while the brothers were out of town that week for work.

  • RIVERA FOUND TIBBETTS ATTRACTIVE, OFFICER SAYS AT TRIAL

    Cristhian Bahena Rivera initially denied he had ever seen Mollie Tibbetts when he was interrogated a month after her disappearance from her hometown of Brooklyn, Iowa, officer Pamela Romero testified.

    Bahena Rivera eventually admitted that he had driven past Tibbetts three times while she was jogging on July 18, 2018, describing her as “attractive” and “hot,” Romero said.

    In just hours, Bahena Rivera led investigators to the cornfield where they discovered Tibbetts’ remains.

  • OFFICER SAID MOLLIE TIBBETTS TRIED TO SLAP RIVERA BEFORE HE BLACKED OUT

    Cristhian Bahena Rivera told officer Romero that he followed Mollie Tibbetts in his car, got out and started running behind her when he was initially questioned in the cornfield after Tibbetts went missing.

    Bahena Rivera said that Tibbetts noticed him and attempted to use her cell phone to call police.

    “He said that Mollie tried to slap him and was screaming at him,” Romero testified at Bahena Rivera’s trial.

    “Mr. Rivera said this is when he became angry.”

    Bahena Rivera told Romero that he remembered that the two started fighting but then he blacked out.

  • JUDGE RECOGNIZES PUBLIC INTEREST IN TRIAL IS ‘INTENSE’

    Judge Joel Yates said in an order dated last Monday that members of the public and news media would not be allowed inside the courtroom when the trial of Cristhian Bahena Rivera started.

    He acknowledged “intense public” interest in the case and said news outlets could operate remote-controlled video cameras to broadcast the proceedings live on the internet or TV.

    The trial continues Monday.

  • WHO ARE MOLLIE TIBBETT’S PARENTS?

    Mollie Tibbetts’ parents are Rob Tibbetts and Laura Calderwood.

    Her parents have two sons, Scott and Jake Tibbetts, along with their late daughter.

    Rob Tibbetts and Laura Calderwood
    Rob Tibbetts and Laura CalderwoodCredit: Facebook

  • WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR?

    In the first day of witness testimonies last Wednesday, Tibbett’s boyfriend Jack Dalton spoke about his last interactions with her.

    He had been out of town for work at the time of her disappearance.

  • TESTIMONIES RESUME MONDAY

    Cristhian Bahena Rivera’s trial resumes on Monday in Scott County .

    The trial began last Wednesday after two days if witness testimony.

    Iowa State Crime Lab criminalist Tara Scott confirmed that blood matching Tibbetts’ was found in the trunk of Rivera’s car.

  • TRIAL MOVED

    Cristhian Bahena Rivera’s trial was moved about 100 miles from Poweshiek County to Scott County after defense lawyers said residents around the small town of Brooklyn had strong opinions about their client’s guilt.

    Legal experts say ensuring a fair trialfor Rivera will be difficult.

    He has been behind bars since his arrest in August of 2018.

  • JURY SELECTION

    Defense lawyer Chad Frese said during jury selection that Rivera enjoys the same rights as US citizens and that his lack of English language skills could not be held against him.

    The defendant will participate in the trial through a Spanish-speaking interpreter. 

  • IMMIGRATION ANGER

    Rivera’s arrest inflamed anger over illegal immigration.

    The Mexican national entered the US illegally as a teenager, according to authorities.

    Rivera, a father of one, was blasted by Donald Trump as a criminal who exploited lax immigration laws and was used as an example by the former president as he pushed for harsher immigration policies ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.

  • AFFAIRS REVEALED

    Dalton Jack said the woman he had cheated with notified Tibbetts of the sexual relationship, and Tibbetts went through his phone while he was sleeping and then confronted him. 

    “I was 19 years old, it was the beginning of our relationship, I screwed up one time. Mollie knew about it and we got past it,” Jack said.

    Frese asked several times whether Jack considered himself to have anger issues, and Jack agreed that he had a temper when he was younger.

    Frese also suggested that the defense has evidence that would show he drove home or had someone drive his car home on the night of July 18, which Jack denied. 

  • MOLLIE TIBBETT’S BOYFRIEND JOINED MILITARY

    In cross-examination by defense attorney Chad Frese, Jack said he went into the military because he “wanted to pretty much leave for a while” and was heartbroken after Tibbetts was killed.

    Frese brought up differing statements that Jack allegedly made to investigators, including that Jack told investigators he was watching a movie the night of the disappearance but testified Wednesday that he was out with his crew members playing games.

  • MOLLIE TIBBETT’S BOYFRIEND BELIEVED SHE WOULD RETURN

    According to Jack, almost every day Tibbetts would go on an evening run in town.

    At the time of her disappearance, Jack maintained hope that she would one day return safely.

    “You just have to meet her. She is the sweetest, kindest person I ever met in my life,” he said.

  • WHO IS MOLLIE TIBBETT’S BOYFRIEND?

    At the time of her death, Dalton Jack and Tibbetts were in a relationship for three years.

    The couple met in high school in Brooklyn, Iowa, in October 2015.

    “I played football. I was a senior, she was a junior. After a game, my buddy and I were sitting in the pickup, and one of Mollie’s friends came over to talk to my buddy. So she joined us and came over to my window, Jack told Des Moines Register.

    “I got her number right away. She made me laugh. And I’ll admit I thought she was cute.”

  • BLOODSTAIN IN CAR

    Tara Scott, a criminalist in the DNA section of Iowa’s crime lab, said she analyzed a swab taken from a bloodstain found on the seal of Rivera’s trunk after investigators recovered Tibbetts’ body.

    “The profile I had from Mollie Tibbetts and the profile from that blood matched,” Scott testified. “They were exactly the same.”

    Rivera, 26, has been charged with first-degree murder in Tibbetts’ stabbing death. He has pleaded not guilty.

  • ‘HE BECAME ANGRY’

    Rivera said he became angry when Tibbetts noticed him watching her and tried to use her cell phone to call police.

    “He said that Mollie tried to slap him and was screaming at him,” Iowa officer Pamela Romero testified last week.

    “Mr Rivera said this is when he became angry.”

  • WHO IS CHRISTIAN BAHENA RIVERA?

    Cristhian Bahena Rivera, 24, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder.

    According to his Facebook page, Rivera is from Guayabillo, a community of fewer than 500 people in the Mexican state of Guerrero – around three hours’ drive from the resort city of Acapulco.

    Investigators zeroed in on Rivera after obtaining footage from surveillance cameras in Brooklyn.

    The footage showed a Chevy Malibu connected to Rivera driving back and forth as Tibbetts was running in the area.

  • WHEN DID MOLLIE TIBBETTS DISAPPEAR?

    Tibbetts vanished on Thursday, July 19, 2018.

    She was last seen near America’s Highway of Death moments after sending her boyfriend a Snapchat selfie.

    FBI and Iowa investigators concentrated their search on areas around the town that she was known to have gone to in the past.

    The town of Brooklyn, Iowa, is home to less than 2,000 people and is located just off Interstate 80 which cuts through the US from New York to San Francisco.