Iowa investigators searching for Mollie Tibbetts focus on 5 areas the night she vanished

Mollie Tibbetts

Mollie Tibbetts (Courtesy Poweshiek County Sheriff’s Office)

Twenty-year-old University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts was dog-sitting in Brooklyn, Iowa, on Wednesday night, July 18, when she headed out for a jog. She has not been seen since, and her family says she would never run away or fall out of touch with her family. 

Missing Poster for Mollie Tibbetts

Missing Poster for Mollie Tibbetts

Tibbetts worked at the Grinnell Regional Medical Center Day Camp, helping to care for the children of employees. She was last seen on Pershing Drive in town while out for her evening run.

“There is no such thing as a silly tip or lead,” Tibbetts’ cousin Emily Heaston wrote on a Facebook group set up in support of the search effort.

Tibbetts was last seen in gym shorts, a black sports bra and running shoes while jogging near Brooklyn, according to a news release from the Poweshiek County Sheriff’s Office, which is leading the investigation.

“Currently law enforcement is working in cooperation with multiple jurisdictions in an effort to locate Mollie,” the sheriff’s office said in its release. “Active searches are currently taking place at this time.”

Hundreds of volunteers have canvassed surrounding miles of farmland, fields and roads.

During a news conference Monday, Aug. 13, authorities announced a new website,, that calls on anyone who was in the highlighted areas of a map of Brooklyn, Iowa, from 5 to 10 p.m. July 18 to leave a tip.

According to a Des Moines Register article published Aug. 14, those locations include:

  • D&M Car Wash at Clay and East Second streets in downtown Brooklyn
  • TA Truck Stop at 4124 V18 Road, about 2.5 miles south of downtown
  • 385th Avenue by Historic U.S. 6, about one mile west of downtown
  • 385th Avenue and 200th Street, more than three miles northeast of downtown
  • 430th Avenue and 200th Street, more than six miles southeast of downtown

Rick Rahn, a special agent in charge at the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, called the new website “another conduit” for people to provide information.

Eastern Iowa native Carol Kean, an administrator with Iowa Cold Cases, talks with WHOTV Channel 13 about Mollie Tibbetts’ disappearance and explains why similar cases are usually so close to home. By Jodi Long, | Airdate: Aug. 14, 2018

The Register said investigators have received more than 1,500 tips and conducted at least 500 interviews. As they track the 20-year-old’s digital footprint, detectives have also searched acreages, homes, barns and elsewhere.

Tibbetts’ brothers and her boyfriend have been cleared in the investigation.

Tibbetts is described as 5-foot-3, weighing about 120 lbs., with long brown hair and brown eyes.

Anyone with information about her or her whereabouts is urged to contact the Poweshiek County Sheriff’s Office at 641-623-5679, send tips to, or leave a tip through

We Remember: Upcoming Cold Case Anniversaries

Listed below are upcoming cold case anniversaries and, where noted, birthdays the victims would have celebrated.

Christopher Stewart
Christopher Stewart
Age at Report: 36
Missing From:
Des Moines, IA
Case # 03-32325
August 17, 2003
Dorothy Miller
Dorothy H. Miller
48 YOA
118 Grand Street
Burlington, IA
Case # 69-00950
August 18, 1969
Charles Netherland
Charles Netherland
25 YOA
801 Mulberry Ave.
Muscatine, IA
Case # 2012-00096764
August 18, 2012
Roger Warren
Roger Warren
12 YOA
Mississippi River
Davenport, IA
Scott County
August 19, 1979
Jackie Douthart
Jackie Douthart, 24
Mount Pleasant, IA
Henry County
Died May 22, 2011
Would have celebrated 32nd birthday Aug. 19
Alta Marie Braun
Alta Marie Braun
12 YOA
Alley off Cedar St.
Le Mars, IA
Plymouth County
August 20, 1917
Naomi Wilson
Naomi Wilson, 32
1618 13th Ave. SE
Cedar Rapids, IA
Missing Since 4/12/81
Would be celebrating 70th birthday Aug. 20
Eric Redinbo
Eric S. Redinbo
18 YOA
Keokuk, IA
Killed Feb. 12, 1999
Would have celebrated 38th birthday Aug. 21
Larry Murillo
Larry Murillo, 25
Went Missing From
Council Bluffs, IA
November 28, 2009
Would be celebrating 34th birthday Aug. 22
Tammy J. Zywicki
21 YOA
Grinnell, IA, college student
Poweshiek County
August 23, 1992
Brenda Dailey
Brenda Ann Dailey
53 YOA
702 Monona St.
Mapleton, IA
Monona County
August 24, 2015
Barbara Elms
Barbara L. Elms
Age at Report: 50
Missing From:
Cedar Rapids, IA
Case # 93019256
August 25, 1993

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