Mollie Tibbetts family: 'We believe Mollie is still alive and someone has abducted her'

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BROOKLYN, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- The mother of a missing University of Iowa college student is pleading for anyone who may have abducted her daughter to let her go and claim a fast-growing pot of reward money.

Laura Calderwood said Thursday that she believes her daughter, 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts, is alive and may have been kidnapped. She said that it's the family's greatest hope that whoever may have Tibbetts lets her go and claims the "money we have raised for her freedom."

Tibbetts hasn't been seen since July 18, when she went for a run in her small hometown of Brooklyn, Iowa. Investigators have reached no conclusions about why she has disappeared.

Calderwood announced at a news conference that $172,000 and counting had been raised for a new "Bring Mollie Tibbetts Home Safe" reward fund. She said the money would be paid to anyone who provides information to Crime Stoppers of Central Iowa that leads to Tibbetts' safety.

DCI told TV9 they can't confirm or deny that the Facebook page circulating on social media is indeed Mollie Tibbetts.

Crime Stoppers is promising to protect the anonymity of tipsters.

Anyone with information in the case is asked to call Crime Stoppers of Central Iowa at 800-452-1111.

You can watch the full news conference below.

A separate press conference is set for Friday morning from the Iowa Department of Public Safety.

During the 9:30 a.m. press conference Friday the Poweshiek County Sheriff Tom Kriegel, DPS Investigative Operations Director Kevin Winker, and Iowa Missing Person Information Clearinghouse Manager Medina Rahmanovic are expected to speak.