Mollie Tibbetts

‘Reflect back on the days prior to her disappearance’: Authorities launch tips website for missing college student, Mollie Tibbetts

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation announced during a press brief on Monday that a new website has launched amid the search for missing 20-year-old University of Iowa student, Mollie Tibbetts.

The new site,”Finding Mollie,” not only lists areas of interest in Mollie’s disappearance, but also provides a tip sheet that people can use to reach authorities.

“It’s just another avenue for people to use, another conduit to provide information to us and the investigative team, and so some people are more techy than others,” Iowa DCI Special Agent Rick Ruhn said.

Ruhn also encouraged the public to think back to July 18, the day Mollie disappeared, and try to remember if they detected any changes in peers, including the following.

  • Interest in the status of the investigation, including close attention to media coverage
  • Unwillingness to discuss the investigation of Mollie’s disappearance
  • Change in normal routine, such as missing school and/or work
  • A vehicle unexpectedly sold or taken in for repair
  • Changing physical appearance (hair cut, growing a beard, etc.)
  • Unexplained lack of contact or inability to get in touch with someone during the evening of July 18 into the morning of July 19.
  • Displays of anxiety, nervousness, stress or irritability
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Displays of anxiety, nervousness, stress or irritability
  • Unexpected or intensive cleaning of a vehicle, possibly at an unusual time of day.

“While residents may have developed their own opinions as to what happened to Mollie, we are asking everyone to reflect back on the days prior to her disappearance,” Iowa DCI Agent Mitch Mortvedt added during the press brief. “Individuals who commit violent crimes often display behavior that is recognized by those with whom they live, work, attend school or are in otherwise close relationships with.”

Mollie Tibbetts [Family Handout]

Timeline of Mollie’s disappearance

July 16-17

  • Mollie’s boyfriend saw her for the last time on July 16, before leaving town to work at a Dubuque construction site with his brother, around 100 miles away from Brooklyn.
  • On July 17, Dalton and his brother, who lives with him, drove to work. Mollie agreed to dog-sit while he was gone.
  • At around 5:30 p.m. on July 17, Mollie’s brother, Jake Tibbetts, who shares a car with her, dropped her off at Dalton’s home. Mollie stayed alone while watching the dogs.

July 18

  • Investigators report another neighbor reported Mollie out for a jog at around 7:30 p.m. on July 18.
  • Mollie had plans to go to her mother’s house for dinner on the evening on July 18. She never showed up.
  • At 10 p.m. on July 18, Dalton opened the SnapChat message from Mollie. He said it looked like she took the photo while indoors. It’s unclear when Mollie took the picture but detectives think she took it at some point on Wednesday.

July 19

  • Jake Tibbetts, who has been cleared as a suspect, sends Mollie a text message at 7:30 a.m., asking if she needed the car for work. The text message was not read.
  • Dalton sends Mollie a text message, wishing her a good morning. Mollie does not read the text message.
  • Mollie’s mother, Laura Calderwood, sends Mollie several text messages throughout the afternoon. All text messages remain unanswered.
  • Jake Tibbetts calls Laura Calderwood and says Mollie never made it to work at a daycare center. Laura calls the police.

July 20

  • The Facebook group, “Finding Mollie Tibbetts,” was created. It currently has over 40,000 members.
  • Hundreds of people show up in the Brooklyn area to search for Mollie.
  • The Poweshiek County Sheriff’s Office announces that tips should directed to its office.
  • The University of Iowa released a statement on Twitter that the school is also monitoring the incident and looking for any helpful information.

July 22

  • Authorities announce Mollie is still missing and that nothing was found during the searches.

July 23

  • Dalton tells ABC he’s optimistic about Mollie’s return.
  • Laura Calderwood says her daughter is an “outgoing, fun, loving life, loving person.”
  • Poweshiek County Sheriff Thomas Kriegel announces that no one from the “tight-knit” community in Brooklyn has been missing this long.

July 25

  • Investigators continue to follow up with tips and leads.
  • The family spreads the search even further by distributing flyers across the state.
  •  Kriegel indicates Mollie could have possibly been abducted.

July 26

  • Investigators search two hog farms after following up on tips, but the searches yield no results.
  • Wayne Cheney is questioned by the FBI.
  • Authorities search Cheney’s home and cellphone.

July 27

  • Iowa Department of Public Safety released a statement announcing that there are still no suspects but authorities will continue to pursue leads and investigate.
  • A neighbor tells a local media outlet that he spotted Mollie “walking nonchalantly” down the street.

August 2

  • As authorities searched an area close to the Lincoln Wildfire Reserve in Brooklyn, Iowa, someone mowing their lawn nearby discovered a red a shirt.
  • The shirt was turned over to the FBI for evidence processing.
  • FBI reportedly asked Cheney to take a lie detector test. He refused.

August 3

  • An FBI agent goes to Cheney’s house for a second round of questioning.

August 5

  • Authorities revealed there have been “hundreds” of leads and tips into Mollie’s disappearance.
  • An Iowa woman’s body was found in Lee County, but despite speculation, police confirmed it was not Mollie, but instead a young woman named  Sadie Alvarado, who allegedly jumped out of a moving car while arguing with her boyfriend.

August 6

  • Rob Tibbetts explained why his daughter, according to his own speculations, may still be alive.
  • Tibbetts encouraged anyone responsible for Mollie’s disappearance to come forward now, before things get worse.

August 9

  • Brooklyn resident Devin Riley describes how he saw Mollie jog past him home on the evening of July 18, explaining that she was wearing a pink sports bra and running short.
  • Riley explained that he contacted police after he realized Mollie had disappeared.

August 12

  • Former FBI profiler says she thinks Mollie left with someone she knew, explaining that the “most likely scenario is that Mollie was at least somewhat familiar with the person that she went with.”

Mollie has long brown hair and brown eyes, weighs around 120 pounds and stands 5-feet-2 inches tall. She was last seen wearing running shoes, a pink sports bra, and dark running shorts.

Anyone with any information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers at 800-452-1111.

[Feature Photo: Mollie Tibbetts/Handout]