Authorities in western Missouri said they responded to reports of a possible sighting of a 20-year-old Iowa college student who went missing two weeks ago. Sgt. Joe Kantola, with the Kearney, Missouri, Police Department told KMBC that officers responded at a truck stop at Interstate 35 and Missouri 92 Highway after someone reported seeing who they believe could have been Mollie Tibbetts, who went missing around July 18.
KCCI-TV reports a spokesperson with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation said authorities are aware of the possible sighting. They are investigating but couldn’t immediately confirm whether the tip was legitimate.
A report was sent to the investigation task force regarding the possible sighting, KCCI reported.
The reward for the safe return of the missing University of Iowa college student has jumped to $30,000.
KCCI reports that donations are fueling the reward as authorities search for Tibbetts. A fund for the reward was set up at First State Bank in Brooklyn, Iowa.
Tibbetts was last seen jogging on the evening of July 18 in Brooklyn, a small town Tibbetts had been living this summer. Her family reported her missing the next day after she didn’t show up to work.
At a news conference Tuesday, Kevin Winker, director of investigative operations for the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, said investigators haven’t drawn any conclusions about what happened to Tibbetts other than that disappearing on her own “is not consistent with her past.”
He said dozens of investigators from his agency, the FBI and local law enforcement are working on the case, and that they haven’t ruled out any possibilities and are checking out every lead they receive.
Tibbetts’ mother, Laura Calderwood, told CBS affiliate KCCI-TV that she is determined to find her daughter.
“The first night she went missing, I was distraught,” Calderwood said. “I knew her phone was dead, but I sent her a text saying, ‘I love you. We’re looking for you. We will find you no matter what.'”
Image courtesy of CBS