Officer says Miranda failure during Rivera interrogation was honest mistake

(Poweshiek County, Mollie Tibbetts / Instagram)

MONTEZUMA, Iowa (AP) - A police officer who obtained a confession from the suspect in the disappearance and death of University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts says she made an honest mistake by initially failing to read him his legal rights.

Officer Pamela Romero testified Wednesday that she tried to read Cristhian Bahena Rivera his Miranda warnings from memory during the Aug. 20, 2018, interrogation.

She said she didn’t realize until much later that she had inadvertently failed to warn him that his statements could be used against him in court.

After several more hours of questioning, Rivera led police officers to a cornfield where they discovered Tibbetts’ body underneath a stack of leaves and stalks. Romero says Rivera provided substantial information about what happened to Tibbetts at that point.

Rivera’s lawyers have asked a judge to suppress Rivera’s alleged confession, in part due to the incomplete Miranda warning.

Police say Tibbetts' body would have eventually been discovered, even if Rivera hadn’t led police there.