Police Officers Search Hog Farm for Missing Iowa Student Mollie Tibbetts

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
July 27, 2018US News
Police Officers Search Hog Farm for Missing Iowa Student Mollie Tibbetts
A file photo of Mollie Tibbetts; her father, Rob Tibbetts, said that family members are trying to return to their day-to-day lives a month after she vanished, while law enforcement continues searching for the missing college student. (University of Iowa/Twitter)

Police officers in Iowa searched a pig farm this week, looking for clues to the location of missing student Mollie Tibbetts.

Iowa Division of Criminal Investigations Agent Mitch Mortvedt told KCCI that investigators searched the farm near Guernsey, about 16 minutes driving distance from Brooklyn, on Thursday.

Tibbetts went missing in Brooklyn on July 18 after going on a run.

Mortvedt said that the pig farm search uncovered no new evidence, but investigators are working on piecing together a timeline of what Tibbetts was doing before she was seen jogging.

Investigators are sifting through data from Tibbets’s digital footprint to try to pinpoint her location before her disappearance and help form the timeline.

“We have different analysts that are specialized in looking through that type of thing,” he said. “They know what they’re looking for.”

Search warrants have been submitted for all of her social media accounts as well as her Fitbit, which she was wearing when she went jogging.

“By getting all of (these) social media things, they might be able to track down some of this activity up until it happened,” said Doug Jacobson, an electrical computer engineering professor at Iowa State University.

Mortvedt told ABC that the FBI is now involved in the investigation.

“For a 20-year-old to go missing and completely kind of fall off the grid as far as social media, cellphone, banking activity, that kind of thing, it’s obviously a very suspicious and very serious matter,” Mortvedt said.

Poweshiek County Sheriff Thomas Kriegel noted that the search is difficult in the rural area.

“We’re surrounded by farm ground—corn and soybeans. Right now the corn is probably eight, nine feet tall. The only way you can search it is basically walk down every other row,” he said. “It’s difficult. Even the planes flying over have a difficulty looking down in the corn rows.”

Tibbetts’s brothers and boyfriend, Dalton Jack, have been ruled out as suspects, officials said.

Tibbetts and Jack were set to go to the Dominican Republic on Aug. 2 to attend Jack’s brother’s wedding.

For now, search teams are focused on the Brooklyn area, but officials are checking adjacent areas to try to figure out if Tibbetts was taken or traveled outside of the area.

“We’re checking gas stations and convenience stores and any location with easy access to a highway or the interstate,” Mordtvedt told The Gazette. “We’re asking questions and collecting surveillance footage and check it to see if Mollie was caught on camera or if there was someone in the area acting suspicious.”

Anyone with information is urged to call the Poweshiek County Sheriff’s Office at 641-623-5679.

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