A top state official says investigators will not be publicly confirming facts about the case or discussing leads as the search for a missing University of Iowa student continues.
“We are not giving up on any possible leads and hope that we can find Mollie Tibbetts soon,” Kevin Winker. the Iowa Department of Public Safety’s director of investigative operations, said today.
The Poweshiek County Sheriff, an FBI agent and Winker spoke at a news conference in Montezuma this afternoon.
“We understand that people want to know details about the investigation,” Winker said. “However, we do not plan to provide findings or conclusions of investigative leads to the public at this time. Likewise, if we evaluate a piece of information and feel its release could lead us to Mollie, we would do so.”
Twenty-year-old Mollie Tibbetts vanished 13 days ago. She was last seen jogging in Brooklyn on the evening of July 18th. Winker declined to label Tibbetts as the victim of a kidnapping.
“We don’t know where Mollie’s at right now and I’m not going to draw any conclusions about the circumstances of her disappearance,” Winker said, “other than it is not consistent with her past.”
There have been air and ground searches and search dogs have been deployed in some locations.
“The investigation involves many aspects. The timeline is very important, obviously, to us,” Winker said, “but it’s also been very important to us to get to know Mollie, what’s normal for Mollie, what’s not normal for Mollie.”
As many as 40 county, state and federal agents are working on the case. Winker would not say whether investigators have identified “persons of interest.”
“We are pursuing every lead that is available to us,” Winker said.
When asked if the public was at risk, Winker hesitated before answering.
“We can’t tell you why Mollie’s missing, so that’s a difficult question to answer. I would encourage everybody to just take some standard precautions and I would encourage everybody to do that in their normal life, not just after something like this occurs,” Winker said. “I mean everybody needs to be cautious of their surroundings.”
Poweshiek County Sheriff Thomas Kriegel told reporters investigators are working “aggressively” on the case.
“On any given day, upwards of 30 or 40 investigators are working on this case,” Kriegel said. “Thus far, in excess of 200 leads have been followed up on.”
He’s urging people to contact authorities if they have any information related to Mollie Tibbetts’ disappearance. Tip line information from the Department of Public Safety is below.
Mollie Tibbetts Investigation Update
Tip Line: The quickest way to get information to law enforcement is to use the following tip lines:
There is a dedicated tip line for the investigation:
800-452-1111 or 515-223-1400
There is also a dedicated email to accept tips:
The Crime Stoppers of Central Iowa has offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case or the discovery of Mollie Tibbetts. The TIP Rural Electric Cooperative in Brooklyn has agreed to match that reward, for a total of $2,000.
(Reporting in Montezuma by Joe Lancello of KBOE in Oskaloosa)