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Tracking Mollie Tibbetts' path through Fitbit data

Authorities combing through Fitbit data and other devices to find missing University of Iowa student

Posted: Jul 27, 2018 7:56 PM

MASON CITY, Iowa - Investigators are turning to Mollie Tibbetts' personal devices to find the missing University of Iowa student.

They recently obtained data from her Fitbit device they believe she was wearing the day of her disappearance. And when details are crucial in cases like this, investigators will turn to anything to track movements, which is a relife to other fitness tracker users.

Morgan Dvorak is training for a half marathon and uses an Apple Watch, which has many functions similar to a Fitbit.

"I learned more about that as I got to using it, and looking at all the features they had on it."

And she says the ability to track your route and information is the best part.

"I actually think it's a great thing, knowing where my parents can track me where I'm at so they know where I am, when I'm there, who I'm with type of thing. It's nice."

Cerro Gordo County Sheriff Kevin Pals says that like social media accounts, authorities can ask a judge for a search warrant to obtain data from a fitness tracker, though there are some limitations.

"We have to jump through all the procedures they require us. There's no short cuts to...just because it's an emergency that you can short cut the system, you still have to follow their procedures for security reasons."

For Dvorak's sake, she believes that in situations like these, it's better to give up part of your privacy.

"I think it's the best thing to do, honestly. I would rather have someone search my Apple Watch than not search for me at all."

Authorities are also looking through Tibbetts' social media activities and cell phone tower pings to build a timeline.

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