On July 18th, a young woman named Mollie Tibbetts disappeared from the small town of Brooklyn, Iowa. For the last five weeks, hundreds of volunteers and law enforcement officers have been searching the area for her, with no luck whatsoever.
But this morning, police confirmed that they had found the 20-year-old’s body, over a month after she went missing.
Where was Mollie Tibbetts body found? Her body was located in a field not far from where she went jogging, in Poweshiek County. According to eyewitnesses in the area, a dirt road near 460th Avenue and Highway 21 was “closed off and barricaded” after the discovery. Authorities also looked for trucks, as the area is heavily muddy.
In a press conference at 5PM EST, police revealed they have a suspect in Mollie's murder: a 24-year-old undocumented immigrant named Christian Rivera.
Rivera abducted Mollie while she was out jogging, and disposed of her body in a field 15 minutes from Brooklyn, in Gurney, Iowa. He is charged with first degree murder.
Though police will not release any further details about her cause of death, it’s clear that this tragedy has rattled the area.
Tibbetts was last seen after going for an evening jog around 8 PM. At the time of her disappearance, she was staying alone at the home of her boyfriend, Dalton Jack, who was out of town at the time. Jack’s brother, Blake Jack, was also out of town, and both were cleared.
Her father, Rob Tibbetts, recently went to California for a “break” on the advice of law enforcement, though he is not considered a suspect. He was also out of the state when she disappeared.
Police say she was likely abducted by someone she knew and that the murderer is “hiding in plain sight” and likely attended vigils held in her honor. Considering that her family and boyfriend were away during her disappearance, could the murderer have known that she would be alone?
So far, no arrests have been made but there has been one suspect interviewed by the police. A pig farmer named Wayne Cheney was questioned a few times, and had his property searched. Police found a red t-shirt that resembled one Tibbetts owned, but it was never confirmed whether or not it actually belonged to her.
The property is located more than 100 miles from Brooklyn, Iowa, and though the t-shirt may have implicated him, Cheney has maintained his innocence and took a polygraph test. He hasn’t been charged.
According to her father, "The bottom line is somebody knows something ... you can’t do anything [in Brooklyn, Iowa] without someone seeing it.” And her boyfriend attested, “It’s Brooklyn. You don’t lock your doors. We lock our doors now. Every night. It’s more than likely because you know, nobody ever thought there was a reason to. Again, it’s Brooklyn. Nothing ever happens in Brooklyn. That’s why it’s such a blindsided situation.”
Since her disappearance, the town has raised $400,000, initially used as a reward for any information regarding her whereabouts. According to Greg Wiley of Crime Stoppers, the money will now be used to find the person responsible for her death once “they catch their breath.”
Mollie Tibbetts’ disappearance caught the attention of the media, particularly Vice President Mike Pence. The Tibbetts family and her boyfriend had a private meeting with Pence, reaching out for support and (probably) prayers.
This is a developing story and will be updated.
Samantha Maffucci is an associate editor for YourTango. In her free time, you can find her obsessing about cats, wine, and all things Vanderpump Rules.