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Search for missing U of I student taking toll on small town

Scott Tibbetts, brother of the missing college student, holds informational posters he planned...
Scott Tibbetts, brother of the missing college student, holds informational posters he planned to take to Des Moines on Wednesday.(KCRG)
Published: Jul. 25, 2018 at 5:29 PM CDT
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It's now a week since University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts went missing from her home in Brooklyn in Poweshiek County. And despite the intense attention of friends, family and law enforcement the disappearance remains a mystery.

Investigators reported no new information for the public on Wednesday. But the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) reported some of the electronic information sought by a search warrant has been returned.

That includes cellphone records, social media posts and even information from a Fitbit device. But the DCI won't say if they've analyzed any of those records yet and if it reveals anything about what happened to Mollie Tibbetts.

Still, friends and family in the community of 1,400 hold out hope. But they also acknowledge the questions with no answers yet and national media attention about the case have taken a toll.

The small rural community responded quickly last week to calls for searchers.

Posters with the missing U of I student's face and information are still coming off a local print shop press.

Supporters have also made nearly 500 t-shirts with the same information and a police to contact police.

Morgan Collum, a cousin of the missing college student, says it is support the family needed in a dark time.

"Just seeing the community come together as a whole is very heart warming for my family. Obviously, we are a small town and when something happens to one of us it effects all of us," Collum said.

But many in the community say the stress with the disappearance a week ago have taken a toll.

People say they hear from neighbors that more are locking doors at night.

One woman Angie Thompson, says everyone's watching kids more closely until they know what they are dealing with.

"A lot of the parents are scared. they don't want their kids to go out. They've been protective of them before but now they say you're not going anywhere or you're going in groups," Thompson said.

Residents say they've watch other highly publicized disappearances like the missing 16-year-old in LaPorte City this summer and the still unsolved murder of two cousins in Evansdale.

They don't want the disappearance of Mollie Tibbetts to go in that same category.

So they pray for answers and a safe return and will keep finding ways to show support.