A college student has become the 40th person to disappear within a time period of just 10 days in Iowa. A total of 48 people have gone missing in the US state over the past month.
20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts vanished in the small farming community of Brooklyn, which is located an hour away from the city of Des Moines.
The psychology major was last seen on July 18 after heading out for an evening run at around 7.30pm, and was reported missing after failing to show up to her job at a daycare centre.
Mollie was last seen wearing wearing gym shorts, a black sports bra and running shoes, according to the Poweshiek County Sheriff’s Office, with her wallet and identification left at her boyfriend’s apartment where she had reportedly been dog sitting.
I feel like we’re all so invested in Mollie Tibbetts’ disappearance bc we see ourselves, our sisters, or our friends in her. If a small-town Iowa girl can go missing, we all can. Pray or do whatever you do, but let’s not forget her name or face until we have answers.
— Delaney Schwarte (@delaneyschwarte) July 27, 2018
Speaking on Good Morning America, Mollie’s father Rob Tibbetts said:
What we need is for people to tell their friends and neighbors that if they saw anything that seemed even remotely out of the ordinary to call the authorities and they will run that down.
The authorities have told us again and again and again that all the similar cases like this are always solved by some tip.
The day after Mollie turned up missing, 400 people showed up, spontaneously, to form a spontaneous search effort.
I think it’s just because this community knows Mollie, they love Mollie and I think the rest of the country is starting understand who she is too.
Find out more about the ongoing investigation below:
Speaking to CNN, Richard Rahn from the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation for the Major Crime Unit said:
People are concerned and wanting to help.
We welcome the phone calls and are doing everything.
According to Rahn, investigators are now evaluating data, with particular interest reported in analysing her Fitbit, and her social media activity.
We live in a digital world.
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.
Director of investigative operations for the Iowa Department of Public Safety, Kevin Winker, has made the following comments at a press conference:
We are not giving up on any possible leads and hope that we can find Mollie Tibbetts very soon.
[…] 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.
When asked if the authorities were treating Mollie’s disappearance as an abduction, Winker replied:
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.
I spend the majority of my day refreshing my internet to read about the Mollie Tibbetts case. It’s the first thing I read about every morning in hopes she’s been found. I can’t imagine what her family is going through. It breaks my heart and I don’t even know her.
— Stacey Ellen (@Stacey033) July 29, 2018
PLEASE KEEP SHARING: Imagine if this were your daughter, your sister, your cousin, your best friend. For many people, it is. Mollie Tibbetts has been missing for 10 days now, and she vanished without a trace. #FindingMollieTibbetts pic.twitter.com/aYWpNqUrCz
— Alex Kirkpatrick (@alexKCCI) July 29, 2018
It’s worth noting that the number of juveniles who go missing includes people under age 18 who are not considered lost, kidnapped or endangered in some way – in other words, many children or teens who go missing are believed to have run away, according to Public Safety spokesperson Medina Rahmanovic, the Argus Leader writes.
We have juvenile runaways who run multiple times. One juvenile can run three or four times, and that contributes to that big number.
UPDATE: Another complication is the statistics of missing persons are not updated frequently, and many are believed to return home within 24 hours of the original report.
Attorney General spokesperson Sara Rabern said in an email:
While this number can vary every day, I would say that the number of active missing on any given day has risen from over the last few years.
My current estimate would be … 40 to 65 children missing at any given time.
Mollie’s family have now set up a Facebook group called Finding Mollie Tibbetts in order to help find the young woman.
Our thoughts are with the family of Mollie Tibbetts at this difficult time.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.