BROOKLYN, Iowa – More than two weeks after the disappearance of Mollie Tibbetts, the investigation remains the region’s most high-profile case.
“We’ve been following up on leads. Those leads are in the hundreds,” said Kevin Winker, director of investigative operations at the Iowa Department of Public Safety.
Also Sunday, reports emerged that the body of a woman in her early-to-mid-20s turned up in Lee County, more than an hour’s drive southeast of Brooklyn. However, investigtors were quick to say they had no reason to believe it was Tibbetts.
A spokesperson from the state’s Division of Criminal Investigation said investigators have pulled resources from other cases, directing them to the search for the 20-year-old University of Iowa student, saying the case has become their main priority.
“Investigators from the Poweshiek County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, the Division of Criminal Investigation. There are an average 30 to 40 working this case a day,” said Winker.
Dive teams and ATVs have been used to track Tibbetts’ whereabouts. On Thursday, search teams scoured ditches near a pig farm that had been searched more than a week ago.
“We’ve been searching ponds, fields, even from the air,” said Winker.
The college sophomore was last seen on an evening jog on July 18. She had been staying at her boyfriend’s house, watching his dogs, while he worked a construction job in Dubuque about 100 miles away.
Still, authorities have remained tight-lipped about the investigation, saying revealing too much could compromise the investigation.
“Our position has not changed on the release of case facts, results and conclusions. I understand this is frustrating for many in the public and the media, but feel this is necessary for our investigation” said Winker.
The investigation has garnered worldwide interest, which Tibbetts’ family believes is the best way to crack the case.
“Someone knows something,” said Rob Tibbetts, her father.
During a press conference on Thursday, Tibbetts’ mother, Laura Calderwood, gave a desperate plea, offering a six-figure reward for information that could lead to her daughter’s return.
“We believe that Mollie is still alive, and if someone has abducted her, we are pleading with you to please release her,” said Calderwood.
That reward is now over $220,000.