Investigators have stated there isn’t a connection between Mollie Tibbetts’ homicide and the disappearance of an 11-year-old boy, after the convicted killer’s protection claimed the kid’s mother’s ex-boyfriend may very well be tied to her 2018 stabbing.
Xavior Harrelson, 11, disappeared on Might 27 from his house at a trailer park in Montezuma, Poweshiek County – the identical rural Iowa county the place Tibbetts was kidnapped and killed whereas out for a run again on July 2018.
Harrelson’s disappearance got here simply hours earlier than Cristhian Bahena Rivera, 27, was discovered responsible by a jury of murdering the 20-year-old pupil.
Virtually two months on, Harrelson has not been seen or heard from since.
Protection attorneys for Bahena Rivera stated final week the 2 circumstances could also be linked primarily based on new data from two new witnesses and requested a brand new trial for his or her shopper.
In a courtroom submitting, the protection claimed Tibbetts could have been kidnapped as a part of an Iowa intercourse trafficking ring headed up by 50-year-old James Lowe – the previous live-in boyfriend of Harrelson’s mother.
Lowe then allegedly ordered two different males – 21-year-old Gavin Jones and 24-year-old Dalton Hansen – to kill Tibbetts after her abduction drew an excessive amount of publicity.
The bombshell allegations got here from two new witnesses who got here ahead after the trial to say Jones had confessed to being Tibbetts’ actual killer.
Investigators have stated there isn’t a connection between Mollie Tibbetts’ homicide and the disappearance of 11-year-old Xavior Harrelson in the identical space. Pictured Harrelson left and Tibbetts proper
Cristhian Bahena Rivera, 27, pictured throughout his trial. His protection claimed final week Harrelson’s mother’s ex-boyfriend may very well be tied to Tibbetts’ 2018 homicide
Assistant Director of the Iowa Division of Legal Investigation Mitch Mortvedt on Wednesday denied there may be any proof linking the 2 circumstances and stated investigators do not need any cause to consider Harrelson could have been intercourse trafficked.
Mortvedt stated the one similarity is that each victims lived in Poweshiek County.
‘That is the one factor that we now have provide you with at this level,’ Mortvedt informed KCRG.
‘You realize, we now have nothing to point, at the moment, that there was something to do with human trafficking in Xavior’s disappearance.’
Mortvedt stated investigators are preserving an open thoughts concerning their seek for the lacking boy and don’t need to leap to any conclusions on whether or not or not he’s alive.
He stated the investigation remains to be very a lot lively.
Nevertheless, Mortvedt informed Fox authorities are ‘assured’ within the conviction of Bahena Rivera for Tibbetts’ homicide and that he ‘acted alone.’
A prosecutor within the case stated there may be ‘zero’ proof to point Bahena Rivera shouldn’t be accountable.
Jones and Hansen have each denied any involvement in Tibbett’s kidnap and homicide and each denied realizing Lowe.
Jones stated he hadn’t spoken with investigators however was eager to take action with a view to clear his identify.
‘The cops have not talked to me. Nobody has talked to me. You’re the first individual that has referred to as me,’ Jones informed Related Press Friday.
‘I wasn’t concerned in something. I’ve alibis and all the things. I’m simply ready for somebody to return speak to me.’
Hansen referred to as the allegations ‘loopy’ and stated he has ‘no clue why my identify even bought introduced up with this.’
In a courtroom submitting, the protection stated Tibbetts was kidnapped as a part of an Iowa intercourse trafficking ring headed up by James Lowe (pictured)- the previous live-in boyfriend of Harrelson’s mother
In a courtroom listening to in Iowa final Thursday, Bahena Rivera’s protection offered two new witnesses who stated Jones had confessed to Tibbetts’ homicide.
Arne Maki, an inmate within the Iowa Division of Corrections, claimed Jones confided in him concerning the killing whereas the 2 had been serving time collectively on the Keokuk County Jail collectively.
Jones allegedly informed him Tibbetts was first held in a ‘entice home’ that was used for intercourse trafficking, the protection stated.
Lowe allegedly owned the entice home and ran a intercourse trafficking ring within the space.
When the publicity surrounding Tibbetts’ abduction grew, Lowe allegedly ordered Jones and Hansen to kill her, Maki claimed.
Lowe allegedly got here up with a plan for Jones and Hansen to stab Tibbetts and body a Hispanic man for her homicide, in keeping with courtroom filings.
Bahena Rivera’s protection staff additionally offered statements by a second witness, Jones’s ex-girlfriend Lyndsey Marie Voss, who claimed he had confessed to Tibbetts’ rape and homicide.
Harrelson, 11, disappeared on Might 27 from his house at a trailer park in Montezuma, Poweshiek County (pictured above) – the identical rural Iowa county the place Tibbetts was kidnapped and killed whereas out for a run again on July 2018
Harrelson’s disappearance got here simply hours earlier than Bahena Rivera was discovered responsible of Tibbetts’ homicide. Virtually two months on, Harrelson (above) has not been seen or heard from since
Voss informed investigators she had been in a automobile with Jones when he allegedly pointed a gun to her head and stated: ‘that Mexican should not be in jail for killing Mollie Tibbetts as a result of I raped her and killed her.’
Paperwork obtained by DailyMail.com present Voss was later granted a restraining order towards Jones on June 11.
Lowe was beforehand accused of operating a intercourse trafficking ring out of a house and kidnapping a lady he met in Tibbetts’s hometown in Might 2018, the protection stated.
The attorneys stated they realized solely final week a few prison investigation that centered on Lowe, who allegedly met one in every of his intercourse trafficking victims in Might 2018 at a gasoline station in Brooklyn, Tibbetts’ hometown of 1,700 folks that’s roughly 50 miles west of Iowa Metropolis.
The lady informed investigators that the person lured her to a home within the close by city of New Sharon, the place she was repeatedly drugged, raped, and held towards her will till August 2018, courtroom data present.
The lady stated she generally would hear different girls’s voices within the house.
Protection attorneys stated prisoner Arne Maki (left) and Jones’s ex-girlfriend Lyndsey Marie Voss (proper) have come ahead to say Gavin Jones confessed to killing Tibbetts
Jones allegedly informed Maki that Lowe ordered him and 24-year-old Dalton Hansen to kill Tibbetts after her abduction drew an excessive amount of publicity
Legislation enforcement officers used the data to acquire a warrant to look the house days after they interviewed her in March 2019 but it surely had already been vacated by the person.
Lowe was by no means charged over the allegations.
Courtroom data present Lowe was sentenced to 3 years behind bars for third-degree housebreaking and has earlier arrests on drug fees.
Jones was launched from jail a month in the past and is at the moment in a rehabilitation facility after serving time for working whereas intoxicated fees.
Neither Lowe, Jones nor Hansen have been charged with any crimes associated to Tibbetts’ loss of life.
Bahena Rivera was discovered responsible on Might 28 of Tibbetts’ homicide after a two-week trial throughout the place prosecutors argued that he stalked and approached Tibbetts whereas she was out for a night run in her hometown of Brooklyn.
They stated he killed her after she threatened to name police earlier than dumping her physique in a cornfield.
Prosecutors stated he partially confessed throughout a prolonged interrogation a month later and led investigators to her physique.
Bahena Rivera was discovered responsible on Might 28 of Tibbetts’ homicide after a two-week trial throughout the place prosecutors argued that he stalked and approached Tibbetts (pictured) whereas she was out for a night run in her hometown of Brooklyn
Tibbetts’ partially bare and decomposing physique was discovered dumped on this cornfield in 2018
Bahena Rivera, an undocumented Mexican immigrant, shocked the courtroom throughout his trial when he testified that two masked males broke into his trailer and compelled him to drive them round at gunpoint.
After they stumbled on Tibbetts, he claimed, one in every of them stabbed her to loss of life and loaded her physique in his automobile’s trunk earlier than instructing him to get rid of it.
Maki stated he got here ahead with Jones’ confession after listening to Bahena Rivera’s testimony.
The protection argued gthe witness testimony may have modified the responsible verdict.
Decide Joel Yates agreed to delay Bahena Rivera’s sentencing whereas he considers whether or not to order a brand new trial.
Nevertheless, the decide denied the protection’s request to order prosecutors to show over details about prior intercourse trafficking investigations within the space, saying that will be ‘nothing greater than a fishing expedition.’
A daylong listening to on the protection’s request for a brand new trial is scheduled to happen on July 27.
The proof towards Cristhian Bahena Rivera: He admitted to following Mollie Tibbetts on a jog, had her blood in his trunk and led cops to her physique
A jury discovered Cristhian Bahena Rivera, 26, responsible of Mollie Tibbetts’ homicide on Might 28 – practically three years after she disappeared on a jog in July 2018 and was discovered stabbed to loss of life in a area.
Over the course of Bahena Rivera’s week-and-a-half-long trial in Scott County, Iowa, the jury noticed surveillance video of his Chevy driving close to her as she ran via a neighborhood the day she vanished and heard that blood was discovered within the trunk of the automobile earlier than he agreed to steer cops to her physique.
Prosecutors stated Bahena Rivera – an undocumented Mexican immigrant – admitted to investigators that he’d gotten out of his automobile to speak to Tibbetts when she threatened to name police.
He claimed he bought offended at Tibbetts and ‘blacked out’ earlier than waking as much as discover her bleeding within the trunk of his automobile – after which he buried her within the area.
Throughout his testimony, Bahena Rivera surprised jurors by claiming two masked males had pressured him to abduct Tibbetts’ at knifepoint, after ordering him to observe the coed, earlier than they put her within the trunk.
He stated he by no means reported the ordeal to police as a result of he was afraid they’d study he was within the US illegally and deport him.
However prosecutors rubbished that excuse after the decision, saying it was handy that Bahena Rivera’s alleged aggressors had been masked, and that he had been unable to pick any figuring out options.
Bahena Rivera’s personal protection lawyer Chad Fresne himself admitted his shopper’s model of occasions had been troublesome to face up.
He stated: ‘It is like making an attempt to show there’s not a Santa Claus. We do not know who these individuals may very well be. Bear in mind our shopper was out in the midst of a really rural location. We tried to hyperlink it up as greatest we may with individuals who may have some type of motive, however that is very troublesome to ascertain.’
The jury was proven images of Tibbetts’ partially bare and decomposing physique after it was dumped within the area, in addition to photographs of her discarded black shorts and underwear.
The primary picture confirmed Tibbetts’ physique coated by cornstalks with solely her trainers protruding and visual.
Images additionally confirmed her physique after the stalks had been eliminated: Her legs had been unfold aside and she or he was carrying solely socks and a sports activities bra.
Crime scene images of a pair of black shorts, underwear and what gave the impression to be a headscarf, which had been discovered farther into the cornfield, had been additionally proven to the courtroom.
The photographs had been proven as Amy Johnson, a criminalist with the Iowa Division of Legal Investigation who examined the scene, testified as a prosecution witness.
An post-mortem discovered that Tibbetts had been stabbed seven to 10 occasions within the chest, ribs, neck and cranium.
Bahena Rivera’s protection asserted that investigators used these ugly images and different proof to attract a false confession out of him.
‘They began to confront him with the proof. They confronted him with this videotape. They confronted him with these photos,’ Fresne stated.
‘And so they stated, ‘you understand, we do not consider you. We do not consider that you simply weren’t there.’
‘And the confrontation continues till it was put in my shopper’s head — ‘maybe you blacked out.’ The state — on this case — they bought what they wished. And so they closed the case. They bought what they wanted.
‘There was an intense quantity of strain, that is what the proof has proven you, to shut this case, to arrest somebody for this vicious crime.
‘And as an alternative of continuous to work the case — as an alternative of continuous to work the proof — they only submitted it to you.’
Former Iowa Metropolis police officer Pamela Romero testified that she observed he had fallen asleep when she went to get him meals. Romero recalled Bahena Rivera saying that he was sleepy however she stated he remained alert and engaged in the course of the questioning