Cristhian Bahena Rivera, 24, is being arrested for murder in the first case over Tibbetts, a 20-year-old college student from the University of Iowa, who was last seen jogging in Brooklyn, east of Des Moines, more than five weeks.
He faces life imprisonment in prison without parole if convicted.
Rivera told police that he followed Tibbetts in his car and tracked her as she ran, said Rick Rahn, Special Agent for Iowa Criminal Investigation. Rivera is an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, according to the United States Immigration Department. The agency sent a warrant for Rivera to local authorities on Tuesday, said Shawn Neubauer, an ICE spokesman.
The authorities said that Rivera is employed but can not immediately say what he did for a living. Rivera has been in the area for four to seven years, Rahn said.
"I can not really talk to you about the subject," Rahn said. "All I can tell you is that it seems that he followed her and seemed attracted to her on that special day and for some reason he decided to kidnap her."
A few hours after the arrest became known, the case began to crystallize as another rallying point for Republican legislators and others who advocated more restrictive immigration laws.