Hundreds are expected to gather to mourn the loss of 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts Sunday – less than a week after her body was found in a cornfield outside her small hometown in Iowa.
The funeral for the University of Iowa student will be held Sunday afternoon in the gymnasium of BGM High School, where Mollie graduated from in 2017.
Family, friends and residents of her hometown Brooklyn – a city of just 1,500 – will come to pay their respects after a month-long search ended in tragedy.
Cristhian Bahena Rivera, 24, has been charged with first-degree murder after leading police to her lifeless body that had been left stabbed to death since her July 18 disappearance.
Hundreds are expected to mourn the loss of Mollie at her funeral Sunday in Brooklyn, Iowa
Tibbetts was reported missing from her hometown in July 2018 and her body discovered just last week
Tibbetts had been staying in Brooklyn during a summer break from her studies at the University of Iowa.
An autopsy conducted Wednesday revealed Tibbetts was killed by ‘multiple sharp force injuries.’
Rivera was arrested Monday when police traced him through surveillance footage that showed his car following Mollie.
He then made a full confession to killing her but his motive is still unknown.
When Rivera, a father-of-one, was approached by police on Friday, he went willingly to participate in an interview.
He then confessed to attacking Mollie, putting her body in the trunk of his car and driving her to a field 10 miles away.
Rivera then led the officers to her body which was dumped in a cornfield.
It was a stunning end to a five week long investigation which focused on others living in the town, including a pig farmer who was questioned three times and had his home searched.
Mollie was allegedly followed by a truck driven by Cristhian Bahena Rivera before he killed her when she threatened to call police
It was later revealed that Rivera was an illegal migrant farm worker from Mexico who used a fake ID to pass background checks, his employers say.
He was working at Yarrabee Farms when he allegedly followed Tibbetts in his car before killing her when she threatened to call police.
Dane Lang, co-owner of the farm, previously said that Rivera had worked there for four years and passed all background checks, despite police saying he had been in the US illegally the entire time.
Lang later revealed that Rivera used a fake ID and social security number to cheat the Social Security Administration verification system, which the farm used.
Cristhian Bahena Rivera, 24, was arrested on Monday and made a full confession to killing Mollie
Police also revealed that the dark-colored Chevy Malibu Rivera was seen driving in CCTV footage on the night Tibbetts vanished was also not registered in his name.
Authorities say that Rivera has been in the US illegally for between four and seven years, though his lawyers say otherwise.
During his first court appearance on Wednesday, lawyer Allan Richards insisted Rivera was in the country legally and ‘has the legal documents’ to prove it, though he did not produce any of those documents.
Richards also revealed that Rivera first came to America as a minor, has held a job since then and has no prior criminal record.
His client remained largely silent throughout the bail hearing, answering ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to questions which were read to him through an interpreter.
A judge ordered Rivera to be held in lieu of a $5million bond.
A poster for missing University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts hangs in the window of a local business