Farmhand pleads not guilty in stabbing death of Iowa runner

MONTEZUMA, Iowa (AP) — The farmhand charged in the abduction and stabbing death of 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts in Iowa has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.

Cristhian Bahena Rivera entered his plea Wednesday at the Poweshiek County Courthouse in Montezuma, Iowa.

Rivera is charged in the killing of Tibbetts, a University of Iowa student who disappeared while out for a run July 18 in Brooklyn, Iowa.

Investigators recovered her body a month later in a cornfield. A medical examiner has said Tibbetts was stabbed to death.

Rivera is a Mexican national who has been accused of being in the country illegally. The 24-year-old worked at a dairy farm a few miles from where Tibbetts disappeared.

He waived his right to be tried within 90 days. Trial is set for April 16.

Copyright © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up