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Culture > News

Everything You Need To Know About The Case Of Missing College Student Mollie Tibbetts

An Iowa town has been shaken by the disappearance of 20-year-old, Mollie Tibbetts. Since then the case has also reached people nationwide as the search for the University of Iowa student goes into its third week. Mollie Tibbetts was last seen on the evening of July 18th when she left her boyfriend’s brother’s house, where she was dog-sitting, to go for a jog and it remains unclear whether she ever returned, as CBS News reports. Her final communication was around 10pm over Snapchat with her boyfriend of three years, Dalton Jack. Mollie’s family reported their daughter missing the next day when she failed to turn up to work.

According to the Des Moines Register, “thirty to 40 investigators have worked on the case each day”, authorities have combed through buildings as well as open spaces in Brooklyn and her family even set up the Finding Mollie Tibbetts Facebook Group. In the age of technology, it is no surprise that the FBI is also turning to “digital clues” such as Mollie’s online history and cell phone, tells The Washington Post, in an attempt to find out what could have happened to her. Yet the whereabouts of the University of Iowa student remain unknown.

While investigators did reportedly find a body on August 5, it was confirmed to be that of Sadie Alvarado, a 20-year-old from Muscatine, Iowa. 


In an interview with CBS correspondent, Adriana Diaz, Mollie’s father, Robert Tibbetts stated that he believes that “someone went to the house that Mollie knew or that Mollie trusted and then she left with them willingly. Now they’re over their head and they don’t know what to do.”

The reward fund for the missing student has grown to over $300,000. The fund includes 180 individual donors, according to the Crime Stoppers of Central Iowa, the group that runs the fund. 

The case also sheds light on the many other missing person cases that have not gained as much attention as that of Mollie Tibbetts, CBS News reports.

In fact, at the beginning of 2018 there were more than 88,000 active missing person cases in the US, 41,000 of which are under 21 years old. While many of these cases are overlooked, Mollie Tibbetts’ case has gained such attention due to the suddenness and randomness of her disappearance, an occurrence which is quite “rare” according to experts.  The special agent in charge with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation for the Major Crime Unit, Richard Rahn, tells HLN that “[w]e’ve done everything that we can investigatively [sic] thus far, in hopes of trying to locate Mollie, and we’ll continue to do so until we find her.” 

Elizabeth is a second year student at Durham University, studying Sociology and Anthropology. She is currently a News x Social Media Intern at HC headquarters in Boston and has been involved in the Durham University chapter of Her Campus since January 2018.