Wayne Cheney, a 56-year-old pig farmer who lives in a trailer in Guernsey, Iowa, has refused to take a polygraph test after being questioned multiple times about the disappearance of 20-year-old college student Mollie Tibbetts.
Cheney has been questioned by authorities after a red shirt that is similar to Tibbett’s daycare center uniform was found in a field near his home. It is not clear if this exact shirt belonged to Mollie and Cheney has not been charged with any crimes. He lives approximately 10 miles from Brooklyn, Iowa. Tibbetts, 20, disappeared in Brooklyn on July 18 after going for a nighttime run.
When speaking to reporters on Monday, August 6, Cheney said “I have nothing to hide,” and explained that he’d previously spoken to agents for “well over an hour” and allowed them to search his residence and 70-acre farm. However, he refused to take a polygraph test, saying “I don’t need to” because “it’s stupid”.
Cheney has previously pleaded guilty in connection with two stalking cases ― one in Poweshiek County in 2009 and another in Marion County in 2014. In the 2014 incident, Cheney was charged with felony stalking after his ex-girlfriend showed police that he had called her four times in about 18 hours in violation of a no-contact order.
WHO-TV reports that one of those cases reportedly resulted in a protective order being filed against him.
Tibbetts disappeared while dog-sitting for her boyfriend and his brother on July 18 in her hometown of Brooklyn, Iowa. Authorities have shared few details about their investigation, now in its third week, but social media chatter has given prominence to the FBI’s search of Cheney’s property and his repeated interactions with authorities.
Cheney said Monday evening that the FBI agent who stopped by earlier in the day said he probably would return to ask again about the polygraph. Cheney does not have an attorney, he said.
Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Richard Rahn said he could not speak about investigative details, including how many people the dozens of agents and deputies involved have questioned. But he said agents have checked hundreds of leads. Cheney’s property was searched July 25; photos of law enforcement at work spread quickly on social media.
Asked if he was surprised when authorities came to his door to question him about the case, Cheney, 54, responded: “Oh yeah.” He said investigators had searched his property and cellphone.
At the time of this writing, Cheney as not been officially named as a suspect. The Tibbetts family is offering a $260,000 reward for information on Mollie’s whereabouts.
Anyone with information about Tibbetts is asked to contact the Poweshiek County Sheriff’s Office at 641 623 5679 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .