Cristhian Bahena Rivera, 24, is facing first degree murder charges for the death of Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts.
Mollie disappeared after going for a run on the evening of July 18, and was reported missing after she failed to show up for work the next day.
Authorities say a body was found in a farm field in the early morning hours of August 21, with Rivera acting as a guide for investigators. The body, believed to be Mollie, was covered by corn stalks.
What Mollie’s suspected killer claims happened
Authorities first became aware of Rivera after he was seen in surveillance video turned over to police by a neighbor. Investigators say the video shows Rivera following Mollie before she disappeared.
After his arrest, Rivera allegedly told investigators he approached Mollie, running behind and alongside her.
The suspect says he remembers her pulling out her phone, telling him she would call police if he did not leave her alone.
Then, Rivera claims to have “blacked out.” When he awoke, Rivera alleges he was in the field where the body was eventually found.
The suspect also told investigators he had seen Mollie previously, but it is still unclear whether there was any connection between Rivera and the victim.
Rivera identified as an undocumented immigrant
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security says Rivera is undocumented and has been living in the United States between 4 and 7 years.
Iowa officials say Rivera is being held on a federal immigration detainer.