Majority of donations to Mollie Tibbetts reward fund to be returned

A missing person sign is displayed in the lobby at Live Now Photography and Design in Brooklyn on Friday, Aug. 3, 2018.
A missing person sign is displayed in the lobby at Live Now Photography and Design in Brooklyn on Friday, Aug. 3, 2018. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

A majority of the money donated to a reward fund to bring Mollie Tibbetts home safely will be returned to contributors, according to the Des Moines Register.

According to a statement, Crime Stoppers of Central Iowa said no reward will be paid to any person who provided information in the Tibbetts’ case because she was not brought home safely. Instead, her body was found on Aug. 21 in a cornfield in rural Poweshiek County.

Other donations will be distributed to the Crime Stoppers general fund or the Tibbetts’ family, according to the Register.

“Crime Stoppers wishes to thank all of the many individuals and businesses who responded so quickly to give to the fund,” Greg Willey, vice president of Crime Stoppers of Central Iowa, said in a statement. “Your kindness and compassion is greatly appreciated.”

Tibbetts disappeared on July 18 while running in Brooklyn, Iowa. Her case quickly garnered national attention as investigators with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation scrambled to find her.

Over the course of nearly five weeks, investigators chased down more than 4,000 tips and leads and searched numerous areas in and around Brooklyn. In the end, a surveillance video from a residence on the northwest side of Brooklyn broke the case wide open.

The video helped lead authorities to Cristhian Bahena Rivera, 24, who is charged with first-degree murder in Tibbetts’ death. A preliminary autopsy report shows that Tibbetts died from “sharp force” wounds, authorities said last week.


Tibbetts’ funeral was held Sunday at Brooklyn, Guernsey and Malcom High School in Brooklyn.

During the service, her father Rob Tibbetts said, “Mollie is nobody’s victim,” and encouraged people to take a page from his daughter’s book by living a life of compassion, humor and helpfulness.

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