Cristhian Bahena Rivera
Cristhian Bahena Rivera, age 24, lived and worked in the rural Poweshiek County area where Tibbetts vanished. Originally from El Guayabillo, Guerrero, Mexico, he arrived in the United States at age 17 and had lived in the area for several years. He had worked at another farm before coming to Yarrabee Farms near Brooklyn, Iowa, in August 2014. Rivera self-identified and received his paychecks under the name John Budd.
Rivera became a target of investigators after they obtained footage from a nearby surveillance camera, showing a Chevrolet Malibu driving back and forth in the area where Tibbetts was jogging. After linking the car to him, police approached him without incident. They said that he confessed to kidnapping and killing her, and then dumping her body. According to an affidavit filed by the Poweshiek County Sheriff's Office, he led them to the body in a secluded location within a cornfield.
Mollie Cecilia Tibbetts was born on May 8, 1998, in San Francisco, California, to Rob Tibbetts and Laura Calderwood. When she was in the second grade, her parents divorced, and she moved to Iowa with her mother and two siblings. Her father kept a close relationship with the children and he last saw Mollie at his wedding in June of 2018. At the time of her disappearance, she was a resident of Brooklyn, Iowa, a small town about 70 miles (110 km) east of Des Moines, and a psychology major at the University of Iowa. She was preparing for her sophomore year in college when she disappeared, and worked at a children's day camp at Grinnell Regional Medical Center.