Mollie Tibbetts' family announces reward fund in hopes to bring her home
Investigators were back out searching a rural area of Poweshiek County for Mollie Tibbetts Thursday. It's now been 15 days since anyone has seen the 20-year-old University of Iowa grad.
TV-9 was on the scene earlier where a large police presence included several Brooklyn fire trucks. People were also searching by ATV and by foot in fields near a farm. This was before 1:30 this afternoon.
The homeowner told TV-9 it is related to the Mollie Tibbetts case but investigators will not confirm what they were looking for or if they found anything here. Tibbett's family made it clear that they believe she is still alive and they are willing to pay to get her home.
"Maybe we can bring Mollie home and all have a happy ending to this," said her dad, Rob Tibbetts.
Tibbetts' brothers and parents stood side-by-side with her boyfriend, Dalton Jack, at a press conference, Thursday. Together, they pleaded for the public's hand.
"Everybody has a Mollie in their life," said Jack. "Someone who has affected them in a way that she affected everybody standing up here. Imagine if this was you and someone had taken your Mollie."
They announced a fund of 172 thousand dollars to inspire tips or pay a possible ransom.
"We're providing this fund to provide some financial incentive for someone reluctant to come forward," said Rob Tibbetts.
Rob Tibbetts, echoed what the DCI has said since the beginning, that any tip big or small could prove useful to the investigation.
"People are reluctant to come forward because they think it's irrelevant or it's trivial," said Rob Tibbetts. "Nothing is irrelevant and nothing is trivial. The authorities have told us as much."
"The Bring Mollie Tibbetts Home Safe Reward Fund" is still taking donations at the First State Bank in Brooklyn. Throughout all of this, the family said they're staying strong but it hasn't been easy.
"Everyday, I feel Mollie's presence with me. Sometimes I feel her sitting on my shoulder," said her mom, Laura Calderwood. "Mollie was an incredibly strong young woman."
Crimestoppers also mentioned this effort is parallel to investigators but not in conjunction with them. Investigators will update their work at a news conference tomorrow morning at 9:30 and ATV-9 will be live on Facebook for it.
Thursday's search comes after authorities investigated a possible sighting of Tibbetts at a truck stop near Kansas City, last Thursday. DCI agents confirmed that tip wasn't substantiated and has been ruled out by investigators.