MONTEZUMA, Iowa (KMSP) - The man accused of kidnapping and killing 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts before dumping her body in a cornfield in rural Iowa made his first court appearance Wednesday.
Cristhian Bahena Rivera, 24, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Tibbetts, who went missing from her hometown of Brooklyn, Iowa on July 18. On Wednesday, a Poweshiek County judge set his bail at $5 million.
Authorities located Tibbetts' body on Tuesday in a cornfield approximately 12 miles southeast of Brooklyn, where she was last seen running.
According to the criminal complaint, Rivera admitted he had seen Tibbetts running and pursued her in his vehicle. He parked, got out and ran alongside and behind her.
Rivera said Tibbetts grabbed her phone and said, "I'm gonna call the police." He claims he does not remember anything after that until arrived at an intersection and noticed a piece from a set of headphones in his lap. He said he realized he had put her in the trunk and when he went to get her out of the trunk, he noticed she was bleeding from the head.
Without detailing how Tibbets died, Rivera went on to say he eventually drove to the cornfield and left her body there, covered with some corn leaves.
On Tuesday, Rivera led authorities to the cornfield, where they located Tibbetts' remains.
"Our hearts are broken," her family said in a statement.
Rivera will make his next court appearance on Aug. 31.