Body of Missing Iowa Student Mollie Tibbetts Believed to Be Found: AP

The 20-year-old was last seen July 18, jogging in Brooklyn in central Iowa

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What to Know

  • Tibbetts vanished on July 18 from her hometown of Brooklyn, Iowa.
  • Investigators said she was last seen on a routine jog through the streets of the city.
  • Nearly $400,000 was raised for any tip that led to Tibbetts' safe return. The fund will now likely be used for any information on suspects.

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Investigators have recovered a body believed to be that of 20-year-old college student Mollie Tibbetts, who disappeared from her small hometown in central Iowa one month ago, police said Tuesday.

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation says the body was found Tuesday morning in rural Poweshiek County, which includes Tibbetts' hometown of Brooklyn, Iowa.

The agency called a 4 p.m. news conference to provide an update on the search for Tibbetts, saying investigators were working to confirm the identity of the body.

An Iowa official says a suspect is in custody in the death and is being held on federal immigration detainer, the Associated Press reported. 

DCI spokesman Mitch Mortvedt said Tuesday that he couldn't yet comment on any potential suspect in the case, saying only "there is nobody charged at this time." Hundreds of people have been interviewed by investigators, who have been inundated with tips from the public. 

Investigators have said that foul play, including the possibility that Tibbetts was abducted, could be involved, saying that disappearing on her own would be inconsistent with past behavior. 

Investigators were working Tuesday at a scene about 12 miles (19 kilometers) southeast of Brooklyn, where a government vehicle blocked the public's access to a gravel road. An SUV from the state medical examiner's office was seen leaving the area.

Tibbetts vanished on July 18 from her hometown of Brooklyn, Iowa, a town of about 1,400 in central Iowa. Investigators said she was last seen on a routine jog through the streets of the city. It's unclear whether she returned to the home where she was dog-sitting for her boyfriend and her boyfriend's brother, who have said they were both out of town. 

Greg Willey of Crime Stoppers of Central Iowa said he learned of the body's discovery from a close family friend of Mollie Tibbetts on Tuesday morning. Willey says he has no other details about the discovery, but called it a "tough" ending to the search for the University of Iowa student.

Willey's group has been administering a reward fund that raised nearly $400,000 for any tip that led to Tibbetts' safe return. He says the fund will now likely be used for any information that helps police catch any person responsible for her death. 

"Once they catch their breath, this will turn into a weapon going the other direction to catch the person who did it," he said.

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