On the two-month anniversary of the disappearance of Iowa cousins Lyric Cook and Elizabeth Collins, residents of their hometown are gathering for a prayer vigil and authorities are pleading with the public to come forward with any new information that could help crack the case.
On July 13 Cook and Collins vanished on a bike ride only blocks from Collins’ house in Evansdale. Their bicycles and a purse were quickly found by Meyers Lake, but there was no sign of the girls.
“Today marks two months since the disappearance of 11-year-old Lyric Cook and 9-year-old Elizabeth Collins,” Rick Abben, chief deputy at the Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Office, said in a statement Thursday. “Both girls were last seen on July 13 at 12:15 p.m. riding their bicycles away from the Collins residence in Evansdale. We have information that the girls were seen approximately 12:23 p.m. on Brovan Blvd. and between 12:30 and 1:00 p.m. on Gilbert DR. in the area of Meyers Lake in Evansdale.”
A $50,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the girls’ disappearance has been offered.
“Law enforcement is asking for anyone that was in the Arbutus Ave. or Gilbert Dr. and Elmer Ave. areas or anywhere in Evansdale on that day that may have seen the girls to notify us,” he said.
Last month the girls’ families received some encouragement from Elizabeth Smart, one of the most famous kidnapping survivors in the country.
“For as many bad things that we hear about that happen, for as many kidnappings and terrible stories about finding the remains of children, why can’t these girls be the exception?” Smart, who was found by police after a nine-month search in Utah a decade ago, told the Des Moines Register.
“There’s always hope,” she said.
Elizabeth Collins’ mother Heather told ABC News’ Alex Perez in July that the wait for the girls’ to resurface had been an agonizing one.
“A day doesn’t seem like a normal day,” Collins said. “It’s just like it doesn’t stop. It keeps dragging and dragging. You’re just waiting for a time to go up to your room. You’re just waiting, waiting, waiting.”
“Whoever’s out there, we’re just begging you to bring our girls back home,” she said.
In the week after the girls’ disappearance, authorities canvassed the neighborhood and drained the lake in Evansdale, a small town near Waterloo in northeast Iowa. At one point Cook’s estranged parents, Misty and Dan Morrissey, became the subject of intense police scrutiny due to their criminal pasts and their lack of cooperation. But despite an extensive search and national media attention, the girls have yet to be found.
On Thursday night a prayer vigil is set to take place at the lake.