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Agent says lack of Spanish skills delayed Iowa investigation

Student Killed-Iowa
Posted at 6:02 PM, May 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-24 19:02:43-04

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — An agent who oversaw the 2018 investigation into the disappearance of a University of Iowa student says a shortage of Spanish-speaking officers delayed and hindered his ability to question the man on trial in her stabbing death.

Division of Criminal Investigation agent Trent Vileta testified Monday that he wanted to speak with Cristhian Bahena Rivera after investigators linked him to a car seen on video driving near where Mollie Tibbetts disappeared while running in Brooklyn, Iowa. But he says that took four days because investigators needed to question Bahena Rivera in Spanish and "we didn't have any Spanish speakers."

Bahena Rivera is charged with first-degree murder in Tibbetts' death.