Authorities searching for two missing (later considered abducted) Iowa cousins now have strong reason to believe that the girls are alive, according to an FBI spokesperson.
Investigators have been searching Meyers Lake for 8-year-old Elizabeth Collins and 10-year-old Lyric Cook-Morrissey, young cousins who disappeared last week, Friday, July 20, 2012, in Evansdale, Iowa. The same day, authorities ended their search of the lake near where the girls’ bicycles turned up. Though they played coy with details, FBI spokeswoman Sandy Breault said Saturday that officials “feel strongly” that the two cousins are alive, despite the fact that the case is now being treated as an abduction. She also asked anyone with any information about the disappearances to contact law enforcement, reports Newser.
“We believe these girls are alive, and we are not discouraged by the passage of time since their disappearance,” Breault said. “We are urging anyone with information to come forward. Any information, as insignificant as it may seem, could be vital to this investigation.”
Despite now saying that the girls have been abducted, Breault insisted that combing the lake was just part of a necessary process. “We have to cover everything,” Breault told The Associated Press. “If there’s even a chance (the girls were in the lake), we have to make sure.”
She also noted that there are multiple “persons of interest” in the case, though no one suspect has been identified to the public, aside from Lyric’s father, Daniel Morrisey, who is being watched closely. Morrisey has a long criminal history at the age of 36, and has ceased cooperation with authorities.
“Unfortunately, in this case, law enforcement has not received total cooperation from all families and close friends,” Breault said. “It’s important to note that a majority of the family has cooperated 100 percent. We feel there’s someone out there that has pertinent information about the girls’ whereabouts, and we’d like to take this opportunity to ask them to come forward.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families, and we are hoping that the missing Iowa cousins are brought home soon.