SCOTT COUNTY, IOWA, Iowa — On day two of the Christhian Bahena Rivera murder trial, jurors were shown surveillance video of a runner and a black Chevy Malibu driving by seconds later.
Iowa DCI Agent Derek Riessen, who was tasked with finding surveillance video in the death investigation of Mollie Tibbetts, testified Thursday that the Malibu appeared on surveillance multiple times.
Agent Riessen said he had a team of investigators reviewing tape. He took their notes and plugged them into a spreadsheet, which led him to identify a pattern.
"The big thing for me was when those four individuals who were reviewing tape gave me their logs," explained Agent Riessen, "I created a spreadsheet... and after the runner went passed at 7:45.33 the next four entries in that log, once I compiled it, were a black Chevy Malibu."
The prosecution asked if there was anything distinct about this particular Chevy Malibu. Agent Riessen testified that the car had chrome side mirrors, chrome door handles, and chrome rims.
Given that the car appeared so many times on camera, Agent Riessen said they felt the need to identify the driver.
This Malibu came up again during subsequent testimony. Investigators who were sent to canvas his place of employment asked Bahena Rivera about a black Chevy Malibu that was associated with him. He confirmed it was registered to his cousin and said it was parked at his home nearby.
A special agent on the stand testified that Bahena Rivera gave consent for the Malibu to be searched.
During opening arguments on Wednesday, the prosecution said this car was going to be a key part of their case. Poweshiek County Attorney Bart Klaver said their case would show the surveillance video, Mollie's blood in the car, and admissions from Bahena Rivera that he remembered taking Mollie's body out of the trunk.