Missing Iowa college student believed to be found dead

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

Mollie Tibbetts, a University of Iowa student who was last seen during an evening jog a month ago, was believed to have been found dead, according to a report.

Greg Willey of Crime Stoppers of Central Iowa told The Associated Press that a close family friend told him about the grim news. Willey told the AP that he did not have other information about the discovery. NBC News has not verified Willey’s account.

The Iowa Department of Public Safety announced Tuesday that a body had been found in Poweshiek County. However, authorities declined to specify whether the body was Tibbetts’. Officials said more information would be shared during a news conference on Tuesday afternoon.

A massive search had been underway for Tibbetts, 20, who vanished on July 18 and whose disappearance sparked national attention.

Dozens of volunteers in the town of Brooklyn, Iowa, which has a population of about 1,500, had been searching fields around her house and the house where she was staying. Searches were also conducted by ground and air, and the use of K-9s.

Crime Stoppers of Central Iowa offered a reward of nearly $400,000 for any tip that led to her safe return.

The surrounding area had been covered with missing person posters, T-shirts and billboards pleading for help in finding the missing woman.

Police were also scanning Tibbetts’ digital footprint in an attempt to find her, Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation spokesman Mitch Mortvedt said last month. Tibbetts, an avid runner, often wore a Fitbit, according to her family.


Tibbetts’ boyfriend, Dalton Jack, said he received a Snapchat message from her the night she disappeared after she would have returned from her run. She was reported missing the following day after she failed to show up for work.

Jack is not a suspect in the investigation. He was working a construction job about 100 miles northeast in Dubuque when Tibbetts went missing.

“She’s not going to run off,” Jack said in an interview earlier this month. “I try not to speculate on it too much because the only thing that comes into your head whenever you’re not investigating all the facts is that something bad happened and you don’t, I personally don’t want to believe that.”

Tibbetts was staying at Jack’s home, where she was watching his dogs, at the time she went missing.