Mother Of Missing Iowa Student Believes She Was Abducted, Offers Reward Money

Iowa Department of Criminal InvestigationAP Images

The mother of missing college student Mollie Tibbetts spoke directly to the person she believes abducted her daughter during a press conference on Thursday, pleading with them to bring her home.

Laura Calderwood said during the press conference that she believes her 20-year-old daughter is alive and may have been kidnapped. She said it is the family’s hope that whoever has Tibbetts will let her go and claim the ever-growing reward money.

“We believe that Mollie is still alive and if someone has abducted her, we are pleading with you to please release her, we are partnering with Crime Stoppers of central Iowa to receive information anonymously that could contribute to her release. As of 10 o’clock this morning we have raised $172,000 that would be paid with you after Mollie is returned home.”

Reminding viewers that any tips received would be considered anonymous, the worried mother stumbled over her words while asking someone to return her daughter home safely.

The reward fund officially opened at 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning, and in a little over 24 hours, the fund accumulated $172,000 to “Bring Mollie Tibbetts Home Safe.”

Tibbetts, an incoming sophomore at the University of Iowa, was last seen July 18 in Brooklyn, Iowa. She was dog sitting for her boyfriend, who was out of town at the time of her disappearance. She went on a run, and police speculated that she never returned, according to the Iowa Department of Public Safety.

Authorities have yet to release an official timeline, but police are combing through information from Tibbetts’ Fitbit, which she always wore, as well as her cellphone and social media accounts.

Mitch Mortvedt, the assistant director of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, told the Des Moines Register that the process is revealing a lot of information and they are hopeful. The division is relying heavily on FBI forensic experts to further the investigation.

During Thursday’s press conference, authorities said they are not backing down on the search for Tibbetts.

Tibbetts’ boyfriend, Dalton Jack, who was working the night she went missing, is not a suspect in the investigation, according to authorities. Her long-time love said Thursday during an interview with KCRG that he knows she would not “just run off.”

Jack said he misses her more than anything in the world and is trying not to believe the worst. While family and friends hope for her return, Tibbetts’ mom is still pleading with her daughter’s abductor.

“It is our greatest hope that if someone has her, they would just release her and claim the money we have raised for her freedom.”