EVANSDALE, Iowa – Feelings of sadness will mix with a scene of celebration as community members gather to honor the birthday of one of the missing Black Hawk County girls.
Tuesday marks Lyric Cook's 11th birthday. Family and friends have organized a party at Countryside Vineyard Church from 6:00 until 8:00 Tuesday night.
"I know there's going to be a large turnout from the community, and we are just so grateful we have so many people praying and supporting us during this time," said Lyric's Mother Misty Morrissey.
Morrissey said the day reminded her of earlier days when she was pregnant with Lyric and when the little girl was born.
"She was beautiful, very beautiful," Morrissey said.
As she grew up, Morrissey said Lyric liked to be surrounded by family for her birthday.
"Lyric, she likes to play, she really likes to play a lot," Morrissey said. "So, she likes to have a party with family and friends where they can go outside, be together, play, have cake and ice cream."
The community isn't giving up hope the two girls will return home. Stuffed animals, pink ribbons and signs still fill the scene at Meyers Lake, just as they did in the days following the disappearance.
Cook and Elizabeth Collins, her cousin, disappeared on July 13. They were last seen riding their bike near downtown Evansdale. Authorities found their bikes later at Meyers Lake. Authorities started draining the lake and called in an FBI dive team to search in the water, but no clues came from that search. Authorities now consider the disappearance, an abduction case. Black Hawk County Chief Deputy Rick Abben said authorities are still asking people to call the tip line. Still, he said it's been a long, hard case with not a lot of answers.
"We're still getting calls in, but we would have expected more and for people to see something [about] what happened," Abben said. "It's frustrating for us that we haven't found them yet, but we're not giving up."
Lyric's birthday marks day 82 of the investigation.
"As long as we're able to keep putting the resources forward to do that, and the state is helping us with that, as is the FBI," Chief Deputy Abben said. "So, we just keep moving along with it and working as we can."
Morrissey said she's found strength in her faith and the Bible. She hopes many people come out Tuesday night to pray for Lyric and Elizabeth.
"We just wanted to invite everyone who wanted to come to join us," Morrissey said. "[It's] just a step of faith that we really do believe. God is going to bring our girls home."
Participants will write out cards and make friendship bracelets. Countryside Vineyard Church is located at 3467 Lafayette Road in Evansdale, Iowa.