Police believe the body of University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts would have eventually been discovered, even if the suspect in her killing hadn’t led police there.
Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation agent Trent Vileta testified Wednesday at a hearing to determine if incriminating statements made by Cristhian Bahena Rivera can be used at his murder trial.
Rivera’s defense argues that evidence from a police interview that began on Aug. 20, 2018, should be suppressed because he had not been read his legal rights.
Prosecutors concede that’s true but argue that Tibbetts’ body would have been discovered anyway and therefore the comments should be admissible.
Vileta says farmers would have spotted Tibbetts’ fluorescent running shoes when harvesting the field where she was dumped.
Judge Joel Yates is considering the issue.
Updated 2:40pm 11/13/19
Lawyers for the man charged with killing University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts are asking a judge to throw out evidence discovered during a faulty interrogation, including admitting the victim’s body as evidence.
Tibbetts disappeared in July 2018 while out for a run in Brooklyn, Iowa.
Farm worker Cristhian Bahena Rivera allegedly implicated himself in her death during a lengthy interrogation one month later.
The 25-year-old eventually led detectives to her body in a cornfield.
A prosecutor has acknowledged that officers mistakenly failed to read Rivera all of his legal rights during that interrogation.
Rivera’s lawyers argue that means his statements and evidence related to the body must be suppressed.
Prosecutors say the body would have inevitably been discovered.
A court hearing is taking place today in Poweshiek County to consider the matter.
Rivera is scheduled to stand trial for first-degree murder in February here in Sioux City.