BROOKLYN, Iowa – A community watch organizer in Brooklyn, Iowa, said Wednesday that in a town where “not a lot of big things happen,” the disappearance of college sophomore Mollie Tibbetts has “shaken the community to its core.”
Scott Hawkins described the town where he grew up as a normally safe neighborhood where everyone knows everyone.
“This is a close knit community. We don’t have a lot of big things happen here crime wise. … I mean, this is something that’s shaken the community basically to its core,” he told Fox News in an interview.
Hawkins said that members of the community “are on edge,” and that the disappearance of Tibbetts, 20, is something that affects them personally.
“Any child in this community is basically a child of the entire community. We all stick together, we’re all part of, you know, one big group of people that knows everybody. So for somebody to go missing like this, and disappear off the face of the Earth with no trace, basically, this is a shock. This is something that, it’s made a lot of people really uncomfortable.”
Hawkins said that he and a few friends decided to form this community watch group a few weeks ago because they didn’t have a constant police presence other than the sheriff’s department.
“They can’t be everywhere at once.”
He said that while the town always has been safe for the most part, since his group has been around, they have picked up a few “questionable people” over the last few weeks.
Hawkins told Fox News that there is a noticeable change in the community since Mollie’s disappearance on July 18.
“You don’t see a lot of kids around the parks like they used to. … You don’t see a lot of people jogging around town like they used to,” he said. “It’s really shaken a lot of people around here.”
As a father himself, Hawkins feels for the Tibbetts family, who he says are “great people.”
“Every day that goes by is just another day that is unimaginable. The family that I know, they are great people. Her boyfriend’s family, they’re great people. Everybody that surrounded them, they’re all good people around here. … I can’t fathom the strain that’s been put on this family. It’s heartbreaking.”
Hawkins said that the community is “scared,” but they are “trying to keep positive.”
“We’re all keeping hope every day. It’s alive in all of us.”