Aug 9, 2018, 2:48 AM ET

Iowa man says 'maybe I was the last person to see' Mollie Tibbetts

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An Iowa man said police officers searched his home in connection to the case of Mollie Tibbetts, the University of Iowa student who vanished last month after going for an evening jog.

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In an exclusive interview with "Good Morning America" on Thursday, Devin Riley said he contacted the Powoshiek County Sheriff's Office in Central Iowa after Tibbetts was reported missing, telling officers that he may have been "the last person to see her."

Tibbetts was reported missing after she failed to show up for work in Brooklyn, Iowa, a farming community of about 1,500 people where the 20-year-old was living over the summer with her longtime boyfriend.

PHOTO: Mollie Tibbetts, a University of Iowa student, went missing after going out for a jog on July 18, 2018.Poweshiek County Sheriffs Office
Mollie Tibbetts, a University of Iowa student, went missing after going out for a jog on July 18, 2018.

"I wish I did know more, but I dread that maybe I was the last person to see her," Riley said. "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."

Riley said he reached out to authorities after he recognized Tibbetts' picture on Facebook. He said he saw her jogging past his home around 9 p.m. on July 18, the night before her family reported her missing.

PHOTO: Mollie Tibbetts is pictured in a photo posted to Facebook, July 20, 2018.Facebook
Mollie Tibbetts is pictured in a photo posted to Facebook, July 20, 2018.

"I've seen her probably three to four times per week. She'd kind of jog down the street and towards the hill," he said. "I thought nothing of it until I heard somebody was missing, and it really hit me that I hadn't seen that runner since then."

"I remember her," he added. "She was wearing like a neon pink sports bra with black capri yoga pants and an armband with her music device, or phone ... hair in a ponytail, just jogging like normal, any other day."

Riley said he was hesitant to come forward at first but decided to when he saw her family's pleas for help. It wasn't long before investigators showed up to his home, asking for "a walk through, or search,” he said.

"It was pretty terrifying at the beginning because I didn't know what was going on," he said. "I panicked and I put my girls in the bathroom, but they were really polite ... just did the walk through and were out in like 10 to 15 minutes."

PHOTO: Missing Person billboard for University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts. KCRG
Missing Person billboard for University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts.

Officers with the Iowa Department of Public Safety said they've received nearly 800 tips or leads, but they haven’t disclosed many details about the case.

Authorities are offering $313,000, the highest reward on record in the area, for information on Tibbetts' disappearance, according to Crimestoppers of Central Iowa.

The missing woman's father, Rob Tibbetts, said he believes his daughter may have been kidnapped.

"I do really believe that what happened to Mollie wasn't that someone set out to harm her," Rob Tibbetts said Monday. "I think because they haven't found Mollie, that Mollie is still some place, and we can get her home."

The woman's story, according to her father, has "struck a chord" with so many because "everyone has a daughter or a sister or a girlfriend like Mollie."

Riley agreed.

"It's gut-wrenching to know that I could have my daughter out here, and I could go inside for a minute and she could be gone," he said. "You assume when you move to a small town that pretty much everyone is close close-knit, everyone knows everyone ... you just do not expect it to happen in a town like this."

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  • Grace

    Yes there are other missing persons in this country that do not get this coverage and it is unfair and wrong, but that is NOT Mollie's fault! Are we supposed to start to now ignore this story so we wont upset people? NO! This town is small and in the middle of nowhere so that is most likely why it is getting so much coverage. Usually these kind of abductions do not happen like this. It is a special case. It is unusual!

  • Hey Beavis

    Well, IF this guy has anything to do with her disappearance she's dead.
    He likely killed her somewhere else so of course his house is clean. Did they check his vehicle?

  • Quantez Williams

    Now that they've bumped up the award to over $300K, I think I'm ready to tell them where she is.

  • Sasha Payne

    NEVER seen this much attention for a missing black girl .
    : (

  • annalewis

    The last one to see someone is most likely the one who got her .

  • Personal

    I sincerely hope that family gets their sweet girl back. This hell they are going through is something no one should ever have to experience.
    That witness’s testimony is surprisingly detailed. I am pretty sure if I asked my husband what I or my friends or even the sexy lady down the street was wearing, he would be highly unlikely to provide that sort of detail. “Um, like a pink short thing, and um, a tight black pants.” would likely be the best we’d get out of him. If that.

  • Disqus 30

    Uhhhhhh....
    He noticed a lot about her.

  • Jeff

    NEW RULES: every young pretty white girl missing story must include photos of 5 other recently missing people.

  • russ

    “You covet what you see”

    - Clarice Starling

  • John Casor

    The speculation from armchair detectives is ridiculous. The case most similar to this that I can think of is Holly Bobo and that took years to solve with absolutely random strangers as perpetrators. I'm not even going to pretend I have a clue as to what happened because the possibilities are endless.

  • Bryant

    These never seem to end well - I remember the case of Karina Vetrano (runner in NYC a couple years ago) around this same time of year. I hope this one does have a good outcome.

  • End of Life Ritual

    This story has incredible staying power. I'm interested in it but there are so many others.

  • truthanalyst19

    I have a feint impression that Mollie is no longer alive. It may mean nothing.
    Iowa is corn. Was she running past a field of corn? That would be expected.
    Corn is 6 ft. tall. The suspect could have dragged her into there. But the feeling
    I get is long tan grass. I don't feel she is buried in dirt. Not great as a psychic.

  • RE Almanace

    But it DOES happen -- ANYWHERE -- no matter how safe the area appears to be.

  • Turned around

    Wait. This woman isn't a pretty blonde. How is this news?

  • Mike D

    Listening to music while running dulls your situation awareness. The girl in NY was doing that and got ambushed. Get a pit bull, they miss nothing and are very defensive of their owners besides the obvious.

  • colloguy

    One way that people that run alone (and most people do) to be safer is to consider using an app like bSafe. It tracks and movement and location and records any sounds, plus lets you select people you trust to be able to to listen in real time as well.