Man Photographing Teen Girls Jogging Adds New Clue To Mollie Tibbetts Case

PHOTO: COURTESY OF MOLLIE TIBBETTS' FACEBOOK.
There's a new detail in the case of Mollie Tibbetts, the 20-year-old University of Iowa student who disappeared on July 18 while dog-sitting at her boyfriend's house in Brooklyn, IA. She was last seen jogging that evening, and police are gathering more information from her Fitbit and social media accounts.
After being caught on camera taking photos of teenage girls jogging, a man turned himself in to police in Pella, IA, contacting them "due to pressure on social media," according to local WHOTV. His name is not being released, but police said he's in his 30s and a resident of Des Moines.
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He was spotted on surveillance video from the West End Auto Body shop parked in his car and taking photos with a digital camera. Charges have not been filed, but police are interviewing him and trying to verify the story.
"As covertly as he possibly could, [he] took photos of them unbeknownst to them; it seemed to be very creepy," Pella Police Chief Robert Bokinsky told WHOTV.
Police say they don't currently believe the man is related to the Tibbetts case, but are continuing to follow every tip and lead.
"The Mollie Tibbetts situation has heightened people's awareness," Pella Police Lt. Shane Cox told the Des Moines Register. "We don't believe at this point that there is any connection. We are fairly confident in saying the community isn't in any danger."
Investigators have conducted over 200 interviews in Tibbetts' case. While they say they are confident they have established a timeline for the day she disappeared, they have not said whether they believe she went missing during her run or sometime after, when she returned to the house. By all accounts, she was in the house alone.
Tibbetts' longtime boyfriend Dalton Jack, who said he was away for work in Dubuque, IA, at the time, told police he opened a Snapchat from her at around 10 p.m. that night, although it's not clear when she actually sent the picture. Family members told KCCI that they have evidence the incoming sophomore was doing her homework late that night, suggesting that she disappeared from the house after returning from her run.
"It's just not likely in any type of way that she would run off," Hope Beck, Tibbetts' best friend, told CNN's HLN. "She had career plans. She had a vacation planned. It's just not like her to not talk to her friends or family for a while."
There is now a dedicated tip line for the investigation. You can call 800-452-1111 or 515-223-1400. You can also email tips@poweshiekcosheriff.com.
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