Man charged with murder in Iowa in connection with Mollie Tibbetts case

DES MOINES, Iowa – The body that officials think is that of Mollie Tibbetts, an Iowa college student who went missing July 18, was found Tuesday, DCI Special Agent in Charge Rick Rahn said.

Tibbetts, 20, was last seen jogging in the small community of Brooklyn, Iowa, about an hour east of Des Moines.

According to the Des Moines Register, officials identified the man arrested and charged with first degree murder as 24-year-old Cristhian Bahena Rivera.  The Associated Press reports that the suspect was in the country illegally.

Authorities investigating the disappearance of Tibbetts announced Tuesday a body had been found in rural Poweshiek County.

Before she went missing, Tibbetts’ brother dropped her off at her boyfriend’s house so she could dog-sit, HLN reported. Her family reported her missing after she did not show up for work the next day.

Investigators launched an extensive search for Tibbetts across the area, including in ponds, fields and from the air. In addition, investigators looked through her digital footprint, including her Fitbit, to try to trace her final steps.

Rick Rahn, special agent in charge at the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, said last week that authorities have received more than 1,500 tips and conducted more than 500 interviews in the case.

“We haven’t lost hope. We continue to strive to bring her back home safely. We are not frustrated,” Rahn said at the time. “We just are diligent, and we’ll continue to do so.”

Tibbetts was studying psychology and wanted to get a doctorate and write books, her father said.

CNN contributed to this report.