Public Safety

Investigators hopeful data will lead to answers in disappearance of Mollie Tibbetts

DCI continuing to follow possible leads and search potential areas of interest

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Investigators continue to sift through the data recovered from the social media accounts and mobile devices belonging to Mollie Tibbetts, the 20-year-old University of Iowa student who disappeared from Brooklyn, Iowa on July 18.

Mitch Mortvedt, assistant director of field operations for the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, said investigators started receiving data Wednesday in response to several search warrants that were filed earlier in the investigation.

“It’s been described to me as a massive amount of data that’s coming in from our search warrants,” he said. “And we have no real time frame as to how long it will take to sort through all of it, but it is going to take some time.”

Meanwhile, Mortvedt said dozens of investigators continue to run down leads and search areas of possible interest.

A potential lead that developed Wednesday night led investigators to a rural property in area of Guernsey and north Deep River that housed a hog containment.

Mortvedt said a number of officers and FBI agents responded to the property and thoroughly searched the area using manpower and dogs, “but the search was fruitless.”

Mortvedt declined to say whether the lead was developed from the obtained data, but emphasized “We’re following up on everything. We’re sending people all over the place as tips come in and leads are developed.”

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Rumors surfaced on Twitter that a suspect had been taken into custody for questioning, which Mortvedt strongly disputed.

“No one has been taken into custody,” he said. “Numerous individuals have been interviewed and investigators have conducted several interviews while in the field, but no one has been detained.”

Mortvedt said investigators are “hopeful the data will be useful” in figuring out what happened to Tibbetts and where she might be, “but it’s too early to tell.”

Anyone who has information regarding Tibbetts’ disappearance or her whereabouts is asked to contact the Poweshiek County Sheriff’s Office at (641) 623-5679.

l Comments: (319) 398-8238; kat.russell@thegazette.com

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