Mural along Florida running trail remembers Mollie Tibbetts

Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 4:35 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -A mural along a Florida running trail remembers Mollie Tibbetts. A photo of the painting was recently shared to Facebook by an Iowa native who saw it while out biking.

“I was shocked and excited to see Mollie’s mural in Florida. Being from Iowa, I followed the case. I couldn’t wait to share the picture on the Remembering Mollie Tibbetts Facebook page. I hoped it would bring a few smiles after such a tragedy,” Allen told TV-9.

The post went up just before the four year anniversary of Tibbetts disappearance. It’s now been shared more than 450 times and has garnered more than 3,600 impressions.

The painting was installed along a stretch of a trail in Longwood, Florida back in 2018. That’s the year Tibbetts was murdered while simply out for a run in Poweshiek County.

”It shook me to my core to think that this could happen,” said Robin Cadden, the Florida resident who painted the mural.

”It just resonated with me so strongly because of having daughters close to that age and the fact that I’ve always been a runner. I’ve always run alone from the time that I was Mollie’s age until today,” Cadden added.

It’s what prompted her to reach out to Jeff Sonksen, a Florida artist and Iowa native known for painting the trail in Longwood.

”I drew her up, and then went to Robin’s house, I mixed up all the paints, I gave her the brushes and everything and then showed her how to paint it,” Sonksen said.

With the help of her daughter, Cadden painted Tibbetts infectious smile to be installed along the trail.

”There’s so many women like myself and like Mollie and my daughter who we don’t want that taken away from us. Yes we’ll be vigilant but we’re not going to let fear shake us and take away what we love to do,” Cadden explained.

As time passes, those behind the art are happy to be sharing Tibbetts memory with everyone who uses the trail, near and far.

”I don’t know if anybody in Mollie’s family saw it but hopefully it made them feel good you know that all the way over here in Florida there’s a trail with a memorial painting of her,” said Sonksen.

The painting includes the words ‘make it a great day’ as a reminder for everyone who passes by.

”My heart goes out to her family, and to all who loved her, and all of Iowa, we will not forget,” said Cadden.

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