Mollie Tibbetts, University of Iowa student, missing: A timeline of events

The search for missing University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts is heading into its third week, as investigators comb through evidence and tips related to the 20-year-old Iowa resident’s disappearance.

Tibbetts was last seen jogging near her hometown of Brooklyn, Iowa, on July 18, about an hour’s drive away from Pella. She was staying at her boyfriend’s house at the time to watch his dogs while he was out of town.

The next day, when Tibbetts failed to show up for work, her boyfriend, Dalton Jack, and family became concerned and reported her missing.


For the past two weeks, investigators have interviewed dozens of people and searched a nearby hog farm, cornfields and other properties for any trace of Tibbetts — but so far, their efforts have all come up short.

Here’s what we know so far about the timeline of events leading up to Tibbetts’ disappearance, and the investigation that is ongoing.

Mollie Tibbetts split

Mollie Tibbetts was last seen jogging in Brooklyn, Iowas, around 7:30 p.m. on July 18, according to reports.  (Family handout)

Aug. 1

Tibbetts’ father, Robert, urges the public to come forward with any information regarding his missing daughter in an interview with Fox News Channel.

“The bottom line is somebody knows something," Robert says, adding Brooklyn is a small city and “you can’t do anything there without someone seeing it.”

Roberts also reveals Tibbetts’ phone has not yet been located, and she has not been responsive to messages.

July 31

Police in Pella say a man being sought for taking pictures of female joggers on July 27 has turned himself in.

Kevin Winker, director of investigative operations with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, says during an afternoon news conference that officials are continuing to follow every tip that comes in about Tibbetts.

Investigators are still unsure about what exactly happened to Tibbetts, Winker says, though they can confirm her disappearing on her own is "not consistent with her past."

July 28

Family members tell KCCI new evidence reveals Tibbetts’ was doing homework on her computer late into the evening on July 18, suggesting she returned to the home where her boyfriend, his brother and the brother’s fiancee live.

July 27

Pella Police receive a call about a suspicious man taking photos of female joggers from a parked car.

“As covertly as he possibly could, took photos of them unbeknownst to them, it seemed to be very creepy,” Pella Police Chief Robert Bokinsky tells WHOTV.

However, authorities didn’t say whether there was a link between the suspicious man and Tibbetts’ disappearance.

"[There’s] nothing illegal about taking a picture of somebody, if that’s what he did," Pella, Lt. Shane Cox explains to Fox News.

July 26

Mitch Mortvedt, a spokesman for the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) tells Local 5 more than a dozen agents from his group and the FBI have been conducting searches of several properties in Iowa, including a hog farm, but nothing has been found. He added the searches have not expanded outside the state and there are currently no suspects in the case.


July 25

Poweshiek County Sheriff Thomas Kriegel confirms to ABC News that Jack and his brothers have been cleared in the case.

July 24

FBI and state investigators take over the investigation, calling off various volunteer search efforts in the area.

July 20

The University of Iowa puts out a statement, saying it is "monitoring" the situation regarding Tibbetts’ disappearance.

"Our thoughts are with Mollie Tibbetts’ family and friends. The University of Iowa … will offer support as needed," the school tweets.

July 19

Jack texts Tibbetts "good morning," but doesn’t receive any response, according to The Washington Post. Tibbetts’ coworkers attempt to call her when she doesn’t show up at work the next day — eventually reaching out to Jack to inquire about her whereabouts, the Des Moine Register reports.

Afterward Jack calls Tibbetts’ family members, who eventually call the police to report her missing.

July 18

Tibbetts was staying at her boyfriend’s home, watching his dogs while he worked at a construction site in Dubuque — about 100 miles away. 

7:30 p.m.

Tibbetts was last seen jogging around Brooklyn at 7:30 p.m., The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports. Police hope to find more concrete information from Tibetts’ Fitbit, which family members say she wore frequently on her runs.


"Her last known article of clothing is believed to be dark colored running shorts, a pink sports top and running shoes (color unknown)," the Iowa Department of Public Safety said in a news release.

10 p.m.

Tibbetts’ boyfriend claims he received a Snapchat message from her after she would have returned from her run.

July 16

Jack tells ABC News he last saw Tibbetts, his girlfriend of two years, on July 16. 

Fox News’ Greg Norman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Jennifer Earl is an SEO editor for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter @jenearlyspeakin.

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