Iowa Department of Public Safety
215 East 7th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319

For immediate release:  


August 23, 2018


Preliminary Autopsy Results Available in Poweshiek County Case

DES MOINES, Iowa -- The Iowa State Medical Examiner conducted an autopsy yesterday, August 22, 2018, on the body confirmed to be Mollie Tibbetts, and drew some preliminary conclusions.

The State Medical Examiner determined that the manner of death was homicide resulting from multiple sharp force injuries.  Further examination may result in additional findings.  Autopsy reports are confidential under Iowa law, except for the cause and manner of death.  (Iowa Code § 22.7(4)(c)).

Cristhian Bahena Rivera has been charged in the Iowa District Court for Poweshiek County with Murder in the First Degree.  Iowa courts have established rules limiting the release of information regarding an individual who has been criminally charged in a state court.  The rules are designed to protect a defendant’s interests in a fair trial that could be affected by media attention to the facts in the case.  Court proceedings are open to the public, in almost all circumstances, and those formal proceedings are the primary method for communicating information about the case. 

Given that criminal charges have been filed in state court, the Division of Criminal Investigation does not intend to grant individual interviews with members of the media, and will conduct a limited number of press conferences while the case is pending in the Iowa District Court.

Note: A criminal charge is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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