At Corpus Christi Church in Piedmont, former classmates, teachers and staff members of a missing University of Iowa student gathered for a prayer service Sunday night.
Mollie Tibbetts, who has been missing since July 18, grew up in Oakland and went to Corpus Christi School from kindergarten through third grade.
The 20-year-old was last seen jogging in Brooklyn, Iowa, where she was staying for the summer before starting her sophomore year. Dozens of FBI agents continue their search for Tibbetts amid more than 2,000 tips and leads.
During the prayer service, her former classmates wore tags showing her picture.
Although they haven’t spoken to her in years. news of her disappearance has many in the school and church communities thinking of her and hoping for her safe return.
“I remember her being very friendly and nice,” said Hannah Murray of Piedmont. “She's friends with everyone, very open. I’m just very scared and saddened by it all."
Shane Boyle of Oakland called Tibbetts "one of the sweetest people I ever met."
“She’s just a really good friend, great person. Everyone loved her,'' Boyle said. "Just hearing the news, it was just terrible.”
All of them are trying to find solace and comfort, and are relying on their faith and each other for strength.
“We want the parents and family to know we are super hopeful,” said Kathleen Boyle of Oakland. “We don't want them to lose hope because we haven't lost hope.”
School principal Katie Murphy said she is also praying for the investigators working the case.
“They don't get discouraged, they just keep looking,'' Murphy said.
The school is accepting donations that will be put toward a reward in the case and so far has collected more than $300,000.