A missing Iowa college student who vanished two weeks ago may have been seen last week in the Kansas City area, police said Wednesday.
Kearney, Mo., police said 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts, who’s been missing since July 18, was possibly spotted eight days later, July 26, at a local truck stop near the intersection of Interstate 35 and Highway 92, FOX4 Kansas City reported.
“Officers conducted a thorough search of the area, spoke with all possible witnesses, and reviewed all available video footage,” a police statement said. “A report was sent to the investigating task force regarding this possible sighting.”
Although Kearney police said they passed on the information that someone caught sight of a woman resembling Tibbetts, Sgt. Joe Kantola told Kansas City's KMBC-TV that if the missing University of Iowa student had been seen in surveillance video from the truck stop, it would have been mentioned in the statement.
Kantola told the station that only one person at the truck stop claimed to catch a glimpse of the individual.
KCCI-TV in Des Moines, Iowa, reported that several of its viewers sent in screenshots of a Facebook post of a possible sighting that said Tibbetts “might have been drugged, looked disoriented and was with a truck driver.” Authorities couldn’t immediately confirm to the station whether the tip was legitimate.
Tibbetts was last seen jogging July 18 in Brooklyn, Iowa, a small town about an hour’s drive east of Des Moines, where she was staying at her boyfriend’s house to watch his dogs while he was out of town for work.
Her boyfriend, Dalton Jack, and family reported Tibbetts missing the following day when she never showed up for work. Despite attempts to contact her cell phone, calls have gone straight to voice mail.
Investigators have interviewed dozens of people and searched a nearby hog farm, cornfields and other properties for any trace of Tibbetts over the last two weeks — but so far, their efforts have all come up short.
A reward was increased to $30,000 Wednesday for any information leading to Tibbett’s whereabouts, KCCI reported. A news conference was expected to be held Thursday regarding the reward, KMBC reported.
Anyone with information is urged to contact police tip lines at (800) 452-1111 or (515) 223-1400. The sheriff's office in Poweshiek County, Iowa, said the public can also send tips via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.