Prayers Needed: Search Continues for Young Woman Who Disappeared Without a Trace in Her Rural Hometown

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July 25, 2018Jul 25, 2018

Investigators in Iowa are searching for a 20-year-old woman who disappeared on Wednesday, July 18.

University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts disappeared in the small-town of Brooklyn, Iowa, which is about an hour east of Des Moines. She was seen by her boyfriend, Dalton Jack, last Monday, July 16.

On Monday, Jack, left Brooklyn, where both of them live, to go to Dubuque, Iowa, for work. Tibbetts stayed behind to dog sit for his brother.

On Wednesday evening, she went on a jog. She was seen by locals running around the town as was her habit. She messaged someone around 7 p.m., and she sent her boyfriend a selfie via Snapchat. She hasn't been seen or heard from since.

Investigators are taking her disappearance very serious. Police said they are looking at "everything and everybody."

Mitch Mortvedt, assistant director of field operations for the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigations, told ABC News that his agency and the FBI are 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.

Her wallet and ID were left behind at the house where she was dog-sitting. Police are still trying to discover if she disappeared while jogging or returned to the house before disappearing.

Jack, her boyfriend of nearly three years, said this isn't something she did on her own.

“This is not like her,” he said. “If this is her running off, nobody would’ve seen it coming. Nobody in the world. Not her family, not me — nobody would’ve ever guessed that she just take off and not tell anybody.”

Jack spoke glowingly of his girlfriend.

“She’s the sweetest, kindest most caring person that I’ve ever met in my life,” said Jack. I’ve never seen her do anything like an act to hurt anybody ever, and I’ve known her for three years and I spend pretty much ever day with her.”

Jack was the first to realize that Tibbetts was missing. On Thursday afternoon, a coworker called and told him that she had not showed up to work that day.

He look at the texts he'd sent her earlier that day and realized she hadn't opened or read any of his messages. At that point, Jack started to worry.

“And then I started getting in contact with her friends and family, saying, ‘Have you seen her or heard from her?’ And they all said the same thing: ‘No, we haven’t heard from her since yesterday.’"

Jack quickly returned to Brooklyn to help look for Mollie: “I came home as soon as her mom said that she called the hospital and she wasn’t there.”

According to Mollie's mother, Laura Calderwood, Tibbetts and her boyfriend had planned to fly out for the upcoming wedding of her boyfriend’s brother. It's scheduled for early August in the Dominican Republic.

“As that date gets closer, it’s like closing in on me, because I’m thinking about these two people that are getting married that were also really close to Mollie,” Calderwood said. “[It’s] supposed to be the happiest day of their life.”

She said she did not have words “to describe how you feel when you don’t know where or how your child is.”

Her brother, Scott, is optimistic that wherever Tibbetts is, she's fighting to get home to them.

"I think the best thing, personally, to hang onto hope is ... she's a better fighter than anyone I know. So whatever situation she's in, it's not like she's going to sit there and give up," Scott Tibbetts told ABC News Tuesday. "It's been a whirlwind. We've gone from sad to worried to just anxious and clueless. Up at 5 in the morning looking for her in every field, every ditch, every creek."

Tibbetts is described as 5-foot-3-inches tall, weighing about 120 lbs., with long brown hair and brown eyes. Those with any information about her whereabouts are urged to email investigators at tips@poweshiekcosheriff.com or call 641-623-5679.