Mollie Tibbetts’ father Robert Tibbetts has emotionally declared that he believes his daughter is “still alive” and is with someone she knows.
“It’s totally speculation,” Rob Tibbetts told ABC News on August 6, 2018. “but I do believe that Mollie is with someone who she knows, probably someone who cares about her. But that relationship was misguided, misinterpreted and went wrong, and I think they’re in a place with Mollie and don’t know how to get themselves out of this horrible situation.”
Mollie’s father has been front-and-center in public pleas for information to find the missing Brooklyn, Iowa college student. A reward fund for information leading to Mollie Tibbetts’ whereabouts now exceeds $260,000. The college student has been missing since July 18, 2018.
Here’s what you need to know:
Mollie Tibbetts’ Father Says the Unknown Suspect May Not Have Intended to Harm His Daughter
In the public statement, Mollie’s dad also says he thinks a person who may have taken Mollie didn’t intend for the college student to come to harm.
He said, according to ABC, that he thinks the person needs “the freedom and the space to process this, and to get themselves out of this amount of trouble because they get into a deeper amount of trouble.”
“I do really believe that what happened to Mollie wasn’t that someone set out to harm her,” Rob Tibbetts said to ABC News. “I think because they haven’t found Mollie, that Mollie is still some place, and we can get her home.”
Rob Tibbetts told Fox News he believes the person is in “over their head.”
The father also told Fox: “The longer we go without finding Mollie’s body, the more hopeful we are that she’s alive somewhere and going through something that she can survive.”
It’s not the first time that Mollie’s parents have spoken out about their daughter. The family has consistently expressed a belief that Mollie, who vanished after a run near the home where she was staying, is still alive. “We believe that Mollie is still alive and, if someone has abducted her, we are pleading with you to please release her,” said her mother, Laura Calderwood, according to CNN.
Rob Tibbetts previously directed comments to an unidentified abductor to CNN sister network HLN, saying, “You obviously care for Mollie and, if you’re holding her, you’ve made a huge mistake. Don’t compound it by dragging this out another minute. Let her go and turn yourself in. Face the consequences for the small act that you’ve done but don’t compound it.”
A Few Clues Have Emerged in the Student’s Disappearance
Mollie was last seen jogging near the home where she was staying alone and dog sitting in Brooklyn, Iowa. If she was abducted, it’s not clear whether that occurred on the jog or after she returned home. There is some evidence she might have returned home, though, as her boyfriend says he received a Snapchat from her at 10 p.m. that night, and she may have been working on homework on her computer.
Mollie’s phone and Fitbit, which authorities are trying to access, were missing from her home, according to The San Jose Mercury News.
According to The San Jose Mercury News, Mollie’s “phone and the Fitbit were not in the home, but her wallet, identification, laptop, glasses and contact lenses were. The dogs were in the basement, where they were kept when nobody was home.”
Authorities obviously know more about the timeline of Mollie’s disappearance than they have released.
Cynthia Brodie-Jack, the mother of Mollie’s boyfriend, Dalton Jack, wrote on Facebook that Mollie can not see without the glasses or contacts. “This is Mollie Tibbetts, she is my son’s long time girlfriend. She disappeared from Brooklyn, Iowa on Weds night 7/18 or early Thurs morning 7/19. She only has her phone (which is off or dead) and her fitbit with her. All of her identification and wallet is at my sons house. Along with both her glasses and contacts, she cannot see without them,” she wrote.
Brodie-Jack also wrote: “She was staying at his place that he shares with my other son & my other son’s fiance to take care of their dogs while everyone was out of town for work. She is home for summer break from college. The last contact anyone has had with her was a Snapchat photo she sent to my son at around 10pm on Weds night. Her brother had her car (as they share it) and she did not respond to the text message he sent to her on Thurs morning asking if she needed it for work. She did not show up for work on Thurs. She is the most beautiful, kind, sweet woman and we all miss her and want her back home.”
A Neighbor Reports Seeking a Mysterious Black SUV in the Neighborhood
Another possible clue has emerged in the disappearance of college student Mollie Tibbetts: A neighbor says she saw a mysterious black SUV in Mollie’s neighborhood the night that Tibbetts was last seen.
The neighbor, who was not named, revealed the detail to Fox News on August 5, 2018 as efforts to find Tibbetts continued in full force in Brooklyn, Iowa, and the surrounding area. The report of the SUV comes after authorities said a female body they found in Lee County, Iowa, was not Mollie Tibbetts.
Fox News reported that the neighbor says a “black SUV was seen circling the Iowa neighborhood where Mollie Tibbetts was staying.” The neighbor lives only a block away from the home where Tibbetts was dog sitting alone, according to Fox, which alleged the SUV “went very slowly around the neighborhood.” The neighbor reported the account to authorities, Fox reported, and said she spotted the SUV between 11 p.m. and 1:30 a.m. on the night in question.
A red shirt was previously found by a person mowing a lawn in rural Iowa, and it’s being investigated for a possible connection to missing Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts, Fox News also reported.
Authorities have not confirmed the account, however, and it’s not clear whether the shirt was Mollie’s. That possible clue in the case was revealed on August 3, 2018.
According to The Washington Post, “Authorities said Tibbetts may have been wearing denim shorts and a red T-shirt when she disappeared.”
A person mowing the lawn near the Lincoln Wildfire Reserve found a red shirt, Fox News reported. Although it’s not clear whether the shirt belonged to Mollie Tibbetts, according to Fox News, employees at the daycare center where she worked wear red shirts.
Previous reports indicated Mollie’s red work shirt might have been missing, leading some to theorize she was taken in the morning not at night. However, Kevin Winkler of the Iowa Department of Public Safety, said at a press conference that he was unable to confirm any items of Mollie’s had been found and her mother told UK Daily Mail that she found two of Mollie’s red work shirts in her house but is not sure if there ever was a third.
“Her last known article of clothing is believed to be dark colored running shorts, a pink sports top and running shoes (color unknown),” the Iowa Department of Public Safety said in a news release.
According to Who Radio, authorities have taken a general stance of declining to release any evidence they might have, with Winkler saying, “We recognize that it’s frustrating for everyone involved, but we believe it gives us the best opportunity to resolve this investigation.” The radio station said Winkler simply wouldn’t confirm or deny the report about the red shirt.
The shirt was found near a pig farm authorities had already searched, and they reignited the search in the area around the farm after the shirt’s discovery, Fox reported.