A judge ordered that the Mexican national charged with murdering 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts be held on a $5 million cash-only bond Wednesday.
Cristhian Bahena Rivera, who entered the U.S. illegally, made his first court appearance in Montezuma, Iowa, Wednesday afternoon and had been jailed on a $1 million cash-only bond since Tuesday, reported The Associated Press.
Rivera’s lawyer Allan M. Richards asked that reporters be barred from the court room to give the defendant a fair trial, but Magistrate Judge Diane Crookham-Johnson rejected the request, reported the AP.
Rivera, 24, had resided in the area for four to seven years, officials said. He led investigators to the location of Tibbetts’ body on Tuesday after confirming that he interacted with her while she was running and she felt threatened and tried to call the police. Rivera said he “blacked out” at some point during their interaction on July 18, officials said.
Her body was found covered with corn stalks in a farm field near the small rural town of Brooklyn, Iowa, Tuesday.
Officials said surveillance footage of a black SUV cruising around the area where she was last seen led them to the suspect.
In the 34 days between Tibbetts’ disappearance and the discovery of her body, investigators interviewed nearly 1,500 people and tried to get clues from Tibbetts’ social media accounts and Fitbit device, The Washington Post reported Tuesday. (RELATED: Illegal Immigrant Charged With Murder Of Iowa College Student Mollie Tibbetts)
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