Investigators give update on Mollie Tibbetts, missing University of Iowa student

Investigators give update on Mollie Tibbetts, missing University of Iowa student
Posted at 3:35 PM, Jul 31, 2018

More than 200 interviews have been conducted in the investigation into the disappearance of University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts, according to the special agent in charge.

Tibbetts, 20, disappeared nearly two weeks ago in Brooklyn, a small community an hour east of Des Moines, according to the Poweshiek County Sheriff's Office.

The hundreds of interviews are related to tips investigators have received, said Richard Rahn, the special agent in charge with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation for the Major Crime Unit. The sheriff's office is scheduled Tuesday to give an update on the investigation.

"People are concerned and wanting to help," Rahn said. "We welcome the phone calls and are doing everything."

Investigators are continuing to evaluate data, going over the leads list, and having agents in the field to locate Tibbetts. Data includes social media and information from a Fitbit that Tibbetts is known to have.

"We live in a digital world," Rahn told CNN sister network HLN. "We'll look at cell phones, computers, social media sites, and everyone knows there's a Fitbit involved as well. We look at that, try to establish a timeline as best we can. We feel we have done that thus far."

Investigators executed search warrants for Tibbetts' Fitbit, which she was known to wear, and her Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook accounts, Mitch Mortvedt, spokesman for the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, said last week.

Investigators have a timeline

Kevin Winker, director of investigative operations for the Iowa Department of Public Safety, said investigators are getting leads nearly two weeks later.

"We are not giving up on any possible leads and hope that we can find Mollie Tibbetts very soon," Winker said, reading a statement on Tuesday.

Winker said investigators have also constructed a timeline they feel confident about.

"The timeline is very important, obviously, to us, but it's also been very important to us to get to know Mollie and understand what's normal for Mollie, what's not normal for Mollie," Winker said.

When asked if authorities suspect that Tibbetts was abducted, Winker said: "We don't know where Mollie is at right now. And I am not going to draw any conclusions about the circumstances of her disappearance. Other than it is not consistent with her past."

On July 18, the day she disappeared, Tibbetts' brother dropped her off at her boyfriend's house so she could dog-sit, reported HLN. She was last spotted jogging around 7:30 that evening, wearing gym shorts, a black sports bra and running shoes, the sheriff's office said.

"Mollie is a very, very responsible individual and she's super nice and compassionate and just someone that people look up to," Hope Beck, her best friend, told HLN. "You strive to be like her. And it's just not likely in any type of way that she would run off. She had career plans. She had a vacation planned. It's just not like her to not talk to her friends or family for awhile."

Tibbetts' boyfriend, Dalton Jack, told CNN affiliate KCRG last week that he was one of the first people to notice she was missing. Jack said he was in Dubuque for work and his brothers were in Ames while Tibbetts was dog-sitting at his house, the station reported.

He grew worried and knew something was wrong when she didn't show up to her job.

"She hadn't called in," he told the station. "I looked at my phone and noticed I texted her good morning that morning and she hadn't looked at it. So, I got a hold of her friends and family."

Tibbetts' family reported her missing on July 19, the sheriff's office said.

Crews began searching that day, focusing on the fields between Tibbetts' house and where she was staying when she disappeared, KCRG reported.

Tibbetts' family started a Facebook group dedicated to finding her, according to a post by a family member, Sandi Tibbetts Murphy. The group has now grown to about 43,000 members.

"We've done everything that we can investigatively thus far, in hopes of trying to locate Mollie, and we'll continue to do so until we find her," Rahn told HLN.