See how the search for Mollie Tibbetts unfolded through family interviews, police briefings and more.
Des Moines Register
GUERNSEY, Ia. — Investigators are working to identify a body found in rural Poweshiek County Tuesday morning, said Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation Assistant Director Mitch Mortvedt.
Fox News and CBS have reported that it’s the body of Mollie Tibbetts, a missing University of Iowa student from Brooklyn, Iowa, who disappeared more than a month ago.
Mortvedt said Iowa DCI is holding a press conference regarding the Tibbetts investigation with “a very significant update” at the Poweshiek County Sheriff’s Office at 4 p.m. central Tuesday.
A rural portion of 460th Avenue was closed off to the public on Tuesday just east of Highway 21. The area is south of Guernsey, a town of less than 100 people.
Media trucks and reporters lined parts of the road where an orange Iowa Department of Transportation truck blocked 460th Avenue. A medical examiner vehicle and several large SUVs passed through the blockade throughout the morning to a nearby property.
The Federal Aviation Administration issued a no-fly restriction over a portion of the street near North English River just southeast of Guernsey until 9:30 a.m. Wednesday. Only Iowa State Patrol aircrafts are allowed to fly in the area.
Law enforcement officials were seen congregating outside of a cornfield near rural Guernsey.
More specific information on the location of the body has not been released.
The site is about a 15-minute drive from Brooklyn.
No one has been charged in the case, Mortvedt said.
Greg Willey, the vice president of Crime Stoppers of Central Iowa, told the Associated Press the body found Tuesday is believed to be Tibbetts. Her father, Rob Tibbetts, declined to confirm the information to the Des Moines Register.
The 20-year-old college student was last heard from on July 18 while in her hometown of Brooklyn.
In Brooklyn, the road leading to the home Mollie shared with her mother and two brothers this summer was blocked off Tuesday by the fire department by order of the sheriff’s office.
“We just don’t want a lot of traffic down here,” one fire department employee said.
A vehicle with a “missing” poster on its side was allowed to pass. At the end of the dead-end street, several cars could be seen in the home’s driveway.
No one was being held overnight or had been brought in to the Poweshiek County Jail as of Tuesday morning, a jail employee there said.
The nearly $400,000 reward for Mollie Tibbetts’ discovery will now become a reward for information leading to the capture of any suspects involved in her death, Willey said.
On July 18, Tibbetts was caring for dogs at her boyfriend’s brother’s house on the western edge of Brooklyn when she went for an evening jog.
Authorities say her last confirmed sighting was at 7:30 p.m. while she was running in Brooklyn. Her boyfriend, Dalton Jack, was out of town, and Tibbetts had agreed to dog-sit at the home he shared with his brother and his brother’s fiancee.
The Register’s Shelby Fleig and Bryon Houlgrave report near the scene at 460th street on the latest news on the Mollie Tibbetts search.
Bryon Houlgrave and Shelby Fleig, Des Moines Register
Around 10 p.m. that evening, Jack said he viewed a Snapchat from Tibbetts. Jack said the photo message made it appear she was inside a house. The next morning, co-workers called Jack when Tibbetts did not show up for work at a Grinnell daycare.
Since then, investigators local and federal law enforcement have been searching for Tibbetts’ whereabouts, while family and friends have shared her story nationwide.
She was supposed to start classes this week at the University of Iowa.
“It’s shocking and heartbreaking,” said Ellen Driscoll, a 20-year-old junior. “It’s definitely something close to my heart.”
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This is a developing story. Check back for more updates.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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