The father of missing University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts told reporters Monday he believes his daughter is with someone she knows.
He said that person may have misunderstood Tibbetts’ intentions and is now in a situation blown out of control.
"It's totally speculation, but I do believe that Mollie is with someone who she knows, probably someone who cares about her,” Tibbetts’ father, Rob Tibbetts told ABC News. "But that relationship was misguided, misinterpreted and went wrong, and I think they're in a place with Mollie and don't know how to get themselves out of this horrible situation."
Rob Tibbetts said it would be important to give this hypothetical abductor "the freedom and the space to process this, and to get themselves out of this amount of trouble before they get into a deeper amount of trouble."
"I do really believe that what happened to Mollie wasn't that someone set out to harm her," Tibbetts’ father said. "I think because they haven't found Mollie, that Mollie is still some place, and we can get her home."
Tibbetts has been missing since July 18 after dog sitting at her boyfriend’s house.
Poweshiek County Sheriff Tom Kriegel says said a neighbor saw Tibbetts running at approximately 7:30 p.m. on July 18, and reported she was wearing gym shorts, a pink sports bra and running shoes.
Her last known communication with anyone was around 10 p.m. that night — a Snapchat message shared between Tibbetts and her boyfriend, Kriegel said. Her boyfriend has said the Snapchat message appeared to be indoors.
A fund was started to encourage tips that will bring Tibbetts home safe. Crime Stoppers of Central Iowa, the group who facilitates the fund and tips, said the fund has surpassed $300,000 while receiving around 500 tips since the investigation began.
There is a scheduled meeting between investigators and the media on Friday in Brooklyn, Iowa.
Anyone with information in the case is asked to call Crime Stoppers of Central Iowa at 1-800-452-1111. There is also a dedicated email that accepts tips: firstname.lastname@example.org.