Mollie Tibbetts died as a result of “sharp force injuries,” the state medical examiner’s office revealed Thursday, confirming that the body found in a cornfield earlier this week was the missing college student.
A preliminary autopsy was conducted on Wednesday. The medical examiner’s office said further examination of her body “may result in additional findings.”
Tibbetts’ body was found by investigators on Tuesday in the Deep River area of Poweshiek County, covered in cornstalks.
Cristhian Bahena Rivera, 24, was charged with first-degree murder on Tuesday in Tibbetts’ death. He’s being held on a $5 million cash-only bond. During his first court appearance Wednesday afternoon, Rivera looked stoic and refused to speak when given the chance. Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation special agent Rick Rahn said authorities believe this was a “premeditated” attack.
Police confirmed on Tuesday that Rivera was seen on surveillance footage driving back and forth in a Chevy Malibu in the area where Tibbetts was running.
While a source told Fox News on Wednesday that the vehicle was not registered to Rivera — sparking concerns others may have been involved — the Malibu was how investigators tracked down the man, who Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said has been in the U.S. illegally.
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