"It’s not the ending we all hoped for at all," Tibbetts' friend Alyssa King tells PEOPLE after the missing Iowa student's remains were found

By Chris Harris and Adam Carlson
August 21, 2018 10:39 AM

For weeks after she vanished from her small Iowa town, 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts‘ loved ones hoped that she was out there — somewhere — still alive.

On Tuesday, they learned the truth: A police source told PEOPLE that Tibbetts’ dead body was found more than a month after she was reported missing in Brooklyn. She was last seen alive while going for her usual jog the night of July 18.

“It’s not the ending we all hoped for at all,” Tibbetts’ friend Alyssa King tells PEOPLE.

Says King, who has known Tibbetts for years: “We are all devastated.”

While the police source said the body was found Tuesday morning in a field in Poweshiek County, where Tibbetts lived, additional details about the discovery were not immediately available. A news conference in the case is scheduled for later Tuesday.

Confirmation is pending on the remains but authorities are confident that they belong to Tibbetts, according to the source.

Mollie Tibbetts

Tibbetts’ parents have previously said that they believed she was still alive and her father has directly addressed her possible captor in news interviews.

Before she disappeared, Tibbetts was set to be a sophomore at the University of Iowa studying psychology. She has been described as sweet and sunny by those who knew her.

Credit: Courtesy Emily Heaston

“She really does not have a single enemy — everybody loves Mollie,” King previously told PEOPLE, saying Mollie was always there when she was needed and “always trying to make people laugh.”

King says now that the grieving process will not be quick.

“It’s definitely not going to be easy, not for a long, long time,” she says. “But we’ve got a pretty sweet angel with us all … and we will continue to spread her love and life to everyone.”