Mollie Tibbetts: A Timeline Of Events In The Search For The Missing College Student

The discovery of Mollie Tibbetts' body ended an extensive search, with many twists and turns.

The body of Mollie Tibbetts, the 20-year-old who vanished while on a jog in the small community of Brooklyn, Iowa, was discovered earlier this week.

A suspect, Cristhian Bahena Rivera, 24, has been charged with first-degree murder in the case.

The news of the discovery comes after an extensive search that spanned more than a month to locate the missing college student and used the resources of the FBI, Iowa Division of Criminal Investigations and Tibbetts' own family, who pleaded with the public for information about the case.

Here's a timeline of events leading up to Tuesday's arrest:

July 18: Tibbetts was last seen jogging at around 7:30 p.m.  in Brooklyn, Iowa. She was wearing a pink sports top, dark-colored running shorts and running shoes, according to the Iowa Department of Public Safety. She had been dog-sitting for her boyfriend, Dalton Jack, who was out of town for work that night.

Jack said he opened a Snapchat message from Tibbetts at around 10 p.m. that night, but it was unclear when the message was sent.

July 19: Jack sends her a message telling her "good morning" that was never answered, according to The Washington Post. Tibbetts also fails to show up for work at her job at a day care center and doesn't answer calls from another employee who wanted to find out where she was.

The day care center eventually contacts Jack, who calls her family, Fox News reported. Her family reports the college student missing soon after.

July 20: Tibbetts friends and family start a Facebook page, Finding Mollie Tibbetts, to share information and organize efforts to find the missing woman.

Hundreds of volunteers spend the day searching rural areas of Poweshiek County in hopes of discovering clues to her whereabouts.

July 22: The public search for Tibbetts is called off as investigators decide to rely on the expertise of experienced investigators, according to ABC News.

July 24: Investigators announce that the FBI and Iowa Division of Criminal Investigations have joined the missing persons case.

"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 manner," Mitch Mortvedt, the assistant director of field operations for the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigations tells ABC News.

July 25: Investigators say they plan to use technology, including data from the Tibbetts' FitBit, to help track her whereabouts.

"Technology tracks so many things about you, about the user, and that's what we are hoping to glean from any type of information from any types of these social media apps," Mortvedt told WeAreIowa.com.

July 28: Tibbetts family members tell local media there's some evidence to suggest she may have returned home from her run and had had been doing homework on a computer late in the night on the day she disappeared, KCCI reported.

July 31: The first press conference about the case is held at the Poweshiek County Sheriff's Office.

Investigators say they have chased more than 200 leads in the case.

"Investigators are looking at all possible sources of information provided by people and obtained from technology," Kevin Winker, of the Iowa Department of Public Safety's Investigative Operations Division, said during the conference, according to The Gazette. "We have not identified the reason for Mollie's disappearance and have not ruled out any possibilities at this point."

August 1: A reward fund is started for information leading to Tibbett's safe return, The Gazette reports.

Mollie Tibbetts' father, Rob Tibbetts, also speaks with the media and urges anyone with information to come forward.

"Just come home, pie," he told Fox News when asked if he had a message for his missing daughter. "We're looking, we'll find you."

Wayne Cheney, a man who lived near hog farms searched by investigators, tells local news media he's been questioned in the case.

"I don't know who those two were but they took me down to the fire station Tuesday and questioned me for two hours," he told WHO-13.

Iowa court records showed Cheney had previously pleaded guilty to stalking in two previous incidents.

August 2: The reward for information about Tibbetts' disappearance jumps to $172,000, according to The Gazette

August 3: Investigators return to question Cheney again.

During a press conference, Winker said they continue to look at all possibilities and aren't able to comment on whether or not there are suspects in the case, Fox News reported.

August 5: The body of a woman in her mid-20s is found in rural Lee County, about an hour away from where Tibbetts was last seen.

Investigators announce the body is not Tibbetts and later identify the victim as 20-year-old Sadie Alvarado. Alvardo's boyfriend, Damian Hamann, 28, would later be arrested and charged in the case, according to The Des Moines Register.

August 6: Rob Tibbetts remains optimistic his daughter is still alive and tells Fox News he thinks she may have gone with someone she knew.

"I think Mollie is with someone that she knows, that is in over their head," Tibbetts told the news channel. That there was some kind of misunderstanding about the nature of their relationship and at this point they don't know how to get out from under this."

August 9: An Iowa man comes forward to say he may have been the last person to see Tibbetts alive.

Devin Riley tells Good Morning America he thinks he saw Tibbetts around 9 p.m. on the night she disappeared, during her usual run, ABC News reported.

"I remembered seeing her that night. I just felt very weird. Who knows when she was taken in that timeline, but I don't know what happened," he told the morning show.

August 10: Tibbetts' father, boyfriend and aunt visit the Iowa State Fair to pass out missing person T-shirts, buttons and flyers.

"It's going to be people in this state that saw something or know something that get back to the authorities with that information, that ultimately will bring Mollie back," Rob Tibbetts told KCCI of the efforts.

August 13: Authorities announce the launch of a website, Findingmollie.iowa.gov, to gain more tips from the public.

"It's just another avenue for people to use, another conduit to provide information to us and the investigative team, and so some people are more techy than others," Iowa DCI Special Agent Rick Rahn told KCCI.

August 14: Investigators identify five specific areas in and around Brooklyn and ask the public to come forward if they were in any of those areas the night she disappeared. The areas included a car wash, truck stop and several rural areas, according to The Des Moines Register.

Rahn told reporters there was no specific reasons they had identified the areas, but were "hoping people look at the map and be able to job their memory," he said, according to The Register.

August 18: Mollie Tibbetts' father returns to his home in California after law enforcement urges the family to return to their regular lives.

August 21: The body of 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts was found in a field in Iowa, according to Fox News.

Investigators later announced the arrest of Cristhian Bahena Rivera, 24, in connection with the killing. Investigators say Rivera saw Tibbetts on her run and approached her. During questioning, he admitted he exited the black Chevy Malibu he was driving and started to run along beside her, the BBC reported. Tibbetts reportedly threatened to call 911 and Rivera "got mad." He told investigators he didn't remember what happened after that.

Her family released a statement saying "our hearts are broken" and asked for privacy.

[Photo: Iowa Department of Public Safety and the Poweshiek County Sheriff's Office]

Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxgen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.

All Posts About:
Mollie Tibbetts Breaking News

You May Also Like...

Recommended by Zergnet