|Dogs Picked Up Missing Girls' Scents|
|By ALEX PEREZ (@perezreports) and MATT JAFFE||Jul 17, 2012, 5:30 PM|
On the morning of Friday, July 13, 8-year old Elizabeth Collins woke up around 6 a.m. when her father Drew left for work and she quickly hopped into her mother Heather's bed.
"She was like, 'It's mommy and Elizabeth time,'" Heather Collins said today in an interview with ABC News.
The two soon fell back asleep holding one another.
Early that afternoon she was gone, vanished with hardly a trace after she and her cousin, 10-year old Lyric Cook, went for a bike ride. Although their bikes and a purse were soon found at Meyers Lake, officials in this small Iowa town have spent five days searching for the girls but come up empty-handed.
When asked this morning whether the investigation was stalled, Black Hawk County Sheriff's Office spokesman Chief Deputy Rick Abben said, "We are. We have nothing more."
Abben confirms bloodhounds brought in by the FBI picked up the girls' scent near the trail where their bicycles were found, but he would not elaborate.
The wait for answers is taking its toll on the girls' families.
"When is this nightmare going to end?" Heather Collins sighed. "I want to wake up to a dream with my daughter there so she can crawl back in her bed."
Lyric's parents are finding the ongoing search just as agonizing.
"It's frustrating not to know. It's frustrating not to be able to put some pieces and some clues together," Misty Morrissey, Lyric's mom, said.
"We talk to a lot of people," she said. "We walk around. We search. I mean, we've been in the woods getting dirty, sweaty, scratched up, so we've done a lot of that and that helps to fill the time."
"There's strength in us being together instead of just one person being alone," said her husband, Daniel Morrissey.
Both sets of parents are convinced the girls have been abducted.
"They were taken, they're not here," Heather Collins said.
Now the families are relying on their faith to see them through this trying time.
"I try not to think the worst. I just pray. If something comes in my mind that I know God would not want in my mind, I just pray and God eases me, puts a peace over me. That's what I do," Heather Collins said. "When I'm starting to get upset, I just pray. I just pray."
Authorities dragged the lake earlier this week, but are now draining it entirely to be completely sure that the girls are not in it.
Abben said Monday the process could take up to three days, but may be done more quickly due to the recent drought. Officials today blocked off public access around the lake, an increased security measure after they initially only cordoned off the area on the southeast side of the lake where the girls' bikes were found.
Robert Carpenter, an Evansdale resident who lives only blocks from the lake, said he saw the girls riding their bikes on Friday afternoon between 12 and 1 p.m. when he was outside watering his yard.
"Just like a normal day. They just come riding by on their bikes and said hi and that's the last thing I heard from them," Carpenter said.
The girls were last seen by their grandmother around 12:15 p.m. When Heather Collins returned home at 2 p.m., they had still not returned. She drove to the police station 45 minutes laterto alert authorities that the girls were missing.
For a town of only 5,000 people, a place frequently described by residents as safe, the girls' disappearance has been hard to understand. Barbara White's 6-year old daughter Tierra usually plays with Lyric and Elizabeth, but was not with them last Friday.
"Scared that she might have ventured off with them at the same time," White said. "I just want them to come home. I don't know what to think, it's a mystery. We have nothing to go on. They're just gone."
Now, she said, her arms around Tierra, "[you] just want to hold your kids a little bit closer."
As the search continues, Elizabeth and Lyric's parents are hopeful that more people will come forward with information about the girls' disappearance.
"We know somebody out there knows something that they could share, so if [there are] any leads or if somebody saw something strange they just need to come forward even if it's something that they might think is nothing," Drew Collins said.