Iowa investigators see no link between the recent disappearance of 11-year-old Xavior Harrelson and the death of Mollie Tibbetts in 2018, for which Cristhian Bahena Rivera was convicted of murder in May.
Harrelson disappeared from a park trailer in Montezuma on May 27, a day before Bahena Rivera was found guilty by a jury.
Bahena Rivera's defense team filed for a new trial earlier this month, claiming that Harrelson's mother's living ex-boyfriend, James Lowe, 50, is believed to have been linked to sex trafficking in Iowa and could have something to do with the death and disappearance of Tibbetts.
Lawyers argue that two new witnesses recently came forward and blamed another 21-year-old, Gavin Jones, for the Tibbetts murder, advancing a theory that Tibbetts was kidnapped in a trafficking ring sex led by Lowe, who then allegedly ordered Jones and another man to kill Tibbetts.
Mitch Mortvedt, deputy director of Criminal investigation , threw cold water on this theory this week, saying there is no connection between the cases.
"We are confident in the investigation, prosecution and conviction of Rivera for the disappearance and homicide of Mollie Tibbetts and that he acted alone," Mortvedt said on Fox News Wednesday.
In this September 2016 archive photo provided by Kim Calderwood, Mollie Tibbetts poses for a photo during reunion festivities at BGM High School in his hometown of Brooklyn, Iowa. (Kim Calderwood via AP, File)
MOLLIE TIBBETTS MURDER: DEFENSE SAYS 11 YEAR OLD BOY DISAPPEARED, CASE-LINKED SEX TRAFFICKING RING
Gavin Jones and the other man Bahena Rivera's defense team named in the alleged plot to kill Tibbetts have also denied any involvement.
"I wasn 't involved in anything " Jones told Associated ed Press . "I have alibis and everything. I'm just waiting for someone to talk to me.
Bahena Rivera, a 27-year-old Mexican national who arrived illegally in the United States in as a teenager, was convicted in May of the Tibbetts murder. He has fhave surprising testimony at his trial that two masked men actually stabbed Tibbetts to death and then forced him to dispose of his body.
Cristhian Bahena Rivera, 27, was convicted by a jury in May of the murder of Mollie Tibbetts. (Associated Press)
His defense lawyers claimed days before his conviction that new witnesses and evidence could corroborate their clients' claims.
Judge Joel Yates has dismissed the defense's request to compel the state to turn over the evidence of any investigations into Jones and Lowe, however, claiming that the 'examination of the diefense de thos The inquiries would be nothing more than a fishing expedition. "
" Defendant's attorney asserted that there is a link between James Lowe and Gavin Jones , but this point was not articulated by any witnesses or evidence, "Judge Yates wrote on Friday.
A hearing on the motion for a new trial will be held on July 27. Bahena Rivera 's sentencing has yet to be postponed.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.