Agent: Mollie Tibbetts' body would have been found without confession

Published: Nov. 13, 2019 at 1:06 PM CST
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Police believe the body of the 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.