The case of the missing 20-year old college student, is in and of itself, horrifying, but alarm bells should be going off for every American, now that we know 48 young people have vanished in the same state this month. Parents in the state of Iowa should be paying attention and might want to consider keeping closer tabs on their kids for a while.
The seemingly alarming number of missing persons cases has sparked widespread panic on social media and a flood of conspiracy theories as the search intensifies for Mollie Tibbetts, who was last seen July 19.
“40 people have gone missing in Iowa in 10 days. 40. People. How is this possible ?!!!!!!!!!!!?!” posted one person on Facebook, adding: “keep tabs on your friends and family, be aware of everything and everyone around you.”
Added Heather Loshaw in a local Facebook group: “WTH is going on here?? Be careful out there please.”
Here’s a close up look at the list of missing people in Iowa posted by Heather Loshaw:
“Don’t think it can’t happen to you,” warned Shannon Kelly on Twitter, in a post that was shared thousands of times. “It’s happening across rural and urban Iowa.”
19 boys and 17 girls between the ages of 13-20 went missing within a 10-day period in Iowa.
Don't think it can’t happen to you. It's happening across rural and urban Iowa, especially in towns close to I-80.
Be alert. Stay safe. And if you see something, say something. pic.twitter.com/QHmxFl4kji
— Shannon Kelly (@shankelly3) July 26, 2018
The Iowa Department of Public Safety has received many calls about the missing persons statistics since Tibbetts’ disappearance, the Argus Leader reported.
But the department tried to quell the panic by clarifying that the number isn’t unusual — and that not all the cases are kidnappings or sex trafficking-related.
Last year alone, 4,311 young people were reported missing to The Missing Person Information Clearinghouse — about 12 a day, according to WQAD.
“The vast majority of which are found or returned home within 24 hours,” they said in a statement, adding that the majority of the people included in the data are runaways.
Meanwhile, the missing University of Iowa student’s dad spoke out on Monday, imploring the community to help find her.
“It doesn’t matter what we’re going through; we just need people to think — because somebody knows something and they don’t even know it’s important,” Rob Tibbetts told ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “We can get Mollie back; we just have to have somebody call.”
Mollie Tibbetts went on an evening run two weeks ago and hasn’t been seen since. Dozens of volunteers have scoured rural Brooklyn, Iowa, searching for the psychology major — including a spontaneous, 400-person search formed the day after she disappeared.
“What we need is for people to tell their friends and neighbors that if they saw anything that seemed even remotely out of the ordinary, to call the authorities, and they will run that down,” Tibbetts said. “The authorities have told us again and again and again that all the similar cases like this are always solved by some tip.”
Last week, investigators said they were going through data from a Fitbit that Mollie Tibbetts was wearing when she vanished, as well as her cellphone and social media.
Her last communication was a Snapchat photo she sent to her boyfriend the night she disappeared.