The frantic search for a missing University of Iowa college student intensified as police investigate a possible sighting.
The family of Mollie Tibbetts also announced a big increase in the reward for information — to help bring her home.
Her family hasn’t given up hope.
“We believe that Mollie is still alive and if someone has abducted her we are pleading with you to please release her,” her mother, Laura Calderwood, said at a news conference Thursday.
More than two weeks since she went missing, they announced the reward for information leading to her whereabouts has risen to more than $170,000.
“If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear, so come forward, share that information with the authorities and let’s bring Mollie home,” her father, Rob Tibbetts, said.
The search for Tibbetts has involved numerous law enforcement agencies on the local, state and federal levels, crossing state lines as police in Missouri investigated a possible sighting — a tip that turned out to be a dead end.
“Somebody might know that she’s being held by somebody but would never say anything because if they said something they may think that reciprocity or their life might be in danger,” said Greg Willey of Crime Stoppers. “We can guarantee that whoever gives this information up, their identity will be protected.”
So far police have followed more than 200 leads, but are staying tightlipped on their progress. Investigative expert Daniel Linskey, a former Boston police officer, telling Fox News it’s probably for a reason…
“The fact that law enforcement is not giving out a ton of details could be that they’ve got some type of leads that they want to run down and keep a close circle around it so as not to alert individuals that they might be looking at them or getting on a trail,” Linskey said.
Police are also working to put together Tibbetts’ electronic footprint. She might have used her Fitbit and laptop the day she went missing.