A possible Mollie Tibbetts “sighting” in Marion, Illinois proved to be false, according to police in that community.
Tom Daubs from the Marion Police Department told ABC 9 that local authorities in Marion investigated the claim after it circulated on social media but determined that the woman was not Mollie Tibbets, the college student who has been missing from Brooklyn, Iowa since July 18, 2018.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Claim That Mollie Might Have Been Seen in Marion Circulated on Facebook
The social media claim about the possible sighting of Tibbetts in Marion, Illinois is still visible on Mollie’s Facebook page, where someone posted it in the comment thread.
The post alleges that Mollie was seen in Marion at an establishment called Casey’s “wearing same black mesh shorts the day she went missing.” The woman who wrote the post claimed she tried to stop the car with the woman inside it but the vehicle “took off.”
However, as noted, police in Marion now say that the woman was not Mollie Tibbetts. It’s the second possible sighting of Mollie to be ruled out by law enforcement. Previously, a claim circulated on social media that Mollie was spotted at a truck stop in Kearney, Missouri. Authorities looked into that claim too and determined that the woman in Kearney was not Mollie Tibbetts.
Law enforcement searches have seemed to focus on the areas surrounding Brooklyn, Iowa, where Mollie lived and was last seen, most notably on a local pig farm. Wayne Cheney, a local pig farmer, says he was interviewed by authorities but denies any involvement in Mollie’s disappearance.
Tibbetts vanished after being seen going for a run; she didn’t show up for work the next day and her family contacted authorities. Since that time, authorities have been extremely tight-lipped about any evidence they might have in the case, although they have been trying to access data relating to Mollie’s fitbit and phone, which are reportedly missing with her. Reddit threads are devoted to exhaustive discussions about theories in the case, and a reward fund for information leading to Mollie Tibbetts’ whereabouts now tops $300,000.
A few clues have emerged but none confirmed by authorities. For example, a neighbor told Fox News she saw a mystery black SUV circling the neighborhood the night Mollie was last seen, and the network also reported that a person mowing a lawn may have found a red shirt. Beyond those unconfirmed reports, almost no evidence in the case has been released. The FBI has joined in the search for Mollie along with local law enforcement, and Mollie’s father has indicated he believes his daughter is still alive.
Mollie’s parents, her boyfriend, and law enforcement authorities have stressed that public tips could be essential to cracking the case.
The reward fund is being administered by Crime Stoppers of Iowa. You can see the reward fund website here. Tips can also be submitted via that site. The family is also running a Facebook page devoted to finding Mollie Tibbetts. You can see it here.