Family members of missing Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts said that a reward for information leading to her whereabouts has increased to $172,000.
Tibbetts, 20, has been missing since July 18 after she was seen jogging in Brooklyn, Iowa, where she was staying at her boyfriend’s house to watch his dogs. Dalton Jack, her boyfriend, and family reported Tibbetts missing on July 19 when she didn’t show for work.
Laura Calderwood, her mother, told Fox News on Aug. 2 that “as of 10 this morning we have raised $172,000 that would be paid to you as soon as Mollie is safely home.”
The reward is being offered via a fund set up at a local bank in Iowa. Officials believe that the amount will rise as donations increase, Fox News reported.
“The first night she went missing, I was distraught,” Calderwood told CBS News. “I knew her phone was dead, but I sent her a text saying, ‘I love you. We’re looking for you. We will find you no matter what.'”
“Initially, it was shock and then, you know, it gets harder day by day because she’s still not here and you miss her, you miss her more than anything in the world,” her boyfriend said in an interview on Aug. 2 with NBC News. Jack, who isn’t a suspect in the case, added, “She’s not going to run off.”
He said, “I try not to speculate on it too much because the only thing that comes into your head whenever you’re not investigating all the facts is that something bad happened and you don’t, I personally don’t want to believe that.”
Meanwhile, investigators said that they have concluded that a woman who was seen in northwest Missouri was not Tibbetts, Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation special agent Mike Krapfl told CBS News. He said Aug. 2 that the sighting wasn’t substantiated and was ruled out by officials.
An employee at a truck stop said on July 29 that she was someone who looked like Tibbetts eating at a Taco Bell about 25 miles from Kansas City.
On Aug. 1, a pig farmer in Iowa told Fox News that seven FBI investigators came to his home last week and asked to search it without a warrant. They searched his land for two hours, asked to take his cellphone for a night, and interviewed him.
The man said he has “nothing to hide” as officials search for the student.
“I don’t know who those two [officials] were but they took me down to the fire station Tuesday and questioned me for two hours,” the farmer told Fox. “I don’t remember what they asked me.”
He added: “I just thought it was a waste of time, but, oh well.”
Officials pointed to Iowa court documents that the farmer pleaded guilty on two instances of stalking, one in 2009 and another in 2014.
No suspects have been named in the case.