biographical data

Cristhian Bahena Rivera biography: 13 things about El Guayabillo, Mexico man who worked as farmhand in Iowa

Cristhian Bahena Rivera (©Poweshiek County Sheriff's Office)
Cristhian Bahena Rivera (©Poweshiek County Sheriff’s Office)

Cristhian Bahena Rivera is a Mexican man who worked in the United States. In particular, he lived in Iowa.

Rivera speaks Spanish and is not fluent in English. Here are 13 more things about him:

  1. He grew up in El Guayabillo, Guerrero, Mexico. (a)
  2. In 2012, he moved from Mexico to the U.S. He was accused of entering the U.S. illegally and using false documents to obtain employment. (a)
  3. In 2013, he met and dated Iris Monarrez, who was then a high school student in Brooklyn, Poweshiek County, Iowa. Her second cousin Aby Felix said he was really romantic and would bring Monarrez flowers. (a)
  4. In August 2014, he was hired as a farmhand at Yarrabee Farms outside Brooklyn. He always did his work on time but he was not much for conversation, according to Craig Lang, a co-owner of the farm and a former Republican candidate for Iowa agriculture secretary. (a)
  5. In 2015, Monarrez gave birth to their daughter. In 2016, they separated. (a) (b)
  6. According to Brooke Bestell, who is 4 years younger than him, he would not make conversation when she encountered him in person but would send repeated social media messages over a period of months most recently at 3:00 a.m. on June 13, 2018. She said he asked her out on a date but she turned him down. (a)
  7. He drove a Chevy Malibu, which investigators identified as the same car circling in the area where University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts, then 20, was last seen. On July 18, 2018, she went out for a run near her Brooklyn home and disappeared. (a) (c)
  8. During the investigation of Tibbetts’ disappearance, former Iowa City Police Department officer Pamela Romero, a native Spanish speaker, was brought in to interview him. According to Romero, he confessed that on July 18, 2018, Tibbetts tried to call the police when he approached Tibbetts so he got angry, blacked out then remembered Tibbetts’ body was in his trunk, left the victim’s body in the cornfield then drove away. (d)
  9. He was 24 years old when he was accused of fatally stabbing Tibbetts on July 18, 2018. On August 21, 2018, he was charged with first-degree murder after leading police to her body in a corn field in Brooklyn near the area where she was last seen jogging. She was found dead with at least nine stab wounds. Blood stains found in his car matched her deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). (d)
  10. In December 2019, Iowa District Court Judge Joel Yates decided to suppress only parts of his initial interview with police and to allow the rest to be used as evidence at trial. (c) (e)
  11. On May 26, 2021, his defense attorneys Chad Frese and Jennifer Frese called him to the stand. He testified that on July 18, 2018, two masked men forced him to drive his Chevy Malibu into the area where they found Tibbetts running, drive by Tibbetts several times and later turn off the road into a corn field. He claimed that he saw Tibbetts’ body in his trunk and explained that he did not call the police because the men told him not to say anything and that they knew of Monarrez and their daughter. (c) (d)
  12. On May 28, 2021, he was found guilty of first-degree murder for the killing of Tibbetts. The verdict was announced at the Scott County Courthouse in Davenport, Scott County, Iowa. Yates ordered him into custody without bail. (c) (f)
  13. His sentencing hearing will be at 9:30 a.m. on July 15, 2021 at the Poweshiek County Courthouse in Montezuma, Iowa. (c) (f)

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