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Prayers and Reward Grow for Missing University of Iowa Student


The reward for the safe return of a missing University of Iowa student has grown to more than $300,000.  

According to The Associated Press, Crime Stoppers of Central Iowa said Sunday that relatives of 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts believe she's alive but has potentially been kidnapped. Spokesman Greg Willey says the family hopes the reward money will lead to her return.

Tibbetts went missing on July 18 from the small town of Brooklyn, Iowa.

Law enforcement officials remain tight-lipped about the case even with the basic facts.

Crime Stoppers will protect the anonymity of tipsters who call in or submit tips online.  

Wiley says the organization has shared more than 200 anonymous tips with law enforcement since Monday.

ABC7 reports members of the Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Piedmont, California, are praying for Mollie and her family, who were once part of the parish community. 

Tibbetts spent part of her childhood in Oakland's Glenview neighborhood before moving to Iowa. 

Mollie's aunt Billy Jo Calderwood posted a video to her Facebook page on Aug. 1 of Tibbetts in 2016 talking about praying before a high school track meet. 

In the short 2 and a half-minute video, Mollie explains she was nervous about running in the track meet and had never prayed before, but says she got down on knees to talk to God. 

"I got down on my knees and asked God to give me the strength to make it through it," she said. "Tell me what to do to make it through it and to help me out with whatever happens."

"I ended up running and got the best time of the season, so far," Tibbetts explained. 

One of her friends ran up to her after the meet and asked her if she was OK.  Tibbetts recalled her friend told her: "O my goodness. I was just praying for you the whole time. I was just hoping you were OK."

"In that moment," Tibbetts explained, "that was God's way of showing me the power of prayer was really something.  It's not a huge story, but it really means a lot to me... to see God working in my life."

Social media users have also joined in the search for Tibbetts.  There are several Facebook groups dedicated to finding her.

Many Twitter users have also shared her photo and have asked for prayers. 

Ashley Hobbs wrote:  "I spend a good part of my day refreshing my internet browser in hopes that new information will lead to Mollie Tibbetts return. My thoughts & prayers are with her. Please be on the lookout for this beautiful Iowa girl. Human trafficking is real & it's happening all around us.

Another user who identified herself as JANEIAC123 posted, "I hope they find Mollie Tibbetts, and I pray she is alive!  Let's all offer a prayer for Mollie, for her family and for law enforcement and volunteers who are working around the clock for her safe return.  Let us pray."

And a gentleman who identified himself only as Wild Bill SE wrote: "Please keep passing this around until Mollie is found. Prayer Warriors please keep praying and don`t give up until she is found. Someone is going to recognize her, do not ever give up! @prayer @prayerwarriors @jesuschrist  @church"

If you see Tibbetts or know anything about the case, please contact the established online tip line.

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