Sunday 10PM Update: FBI Asking for Public's Help in Case of Missing Girls

KCRG/Gazette/Courier Staff Reports

A poster with photos of Lyric Cook-Morrissey, 10, and Elizabeth Collins, 8, who disappeared in Evansdale last Friday, adorn a utility pole across from the entrance to Meyers Lake in Evansdale, Iowa, Monday, July 16, 2012. Their bikes were found Friday afternoon near a bike trail at the edge of Meyers Lake in Evansdale. (AP Photo/Waterloo Courier, Brandon Pollock)

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By Aaron Hepker

EVANSDALE, Iowa - Authorities are still searching for anyone who may have been at Meyers Lake before 3 p.m. on July 13, the day two cousins vanished from the community.

“Even if you think you don’t have any information that is important to this case, investigators want to talk to you,” said Sandra Breault, a FBI spokeswoman. “Don’t assume we know what you know.”

Breault said they are looking for anyone who might have been at the park, on the trails or on the water. Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook-Morrissey disappeared July 13.

“There was a gentleman who regularly runs around the lake. He didn’t see either one of the girls ... but he did see their bikes and he was able to pinpoint the time of the day that he saw the bikes. Small details like this are really important to the investigation,” she said.

Breault was asked several questions about possible raids, evidence collected, possible suspects and text messages, but she refused to divulge any details.

“Any specifics of the case, the premature release could impede the investigation,” Breault said.

The girls/ grandmother, Wylma Cook, said the girls left the Collins home late morning for a bike ride.

She saw them just a short time later behind Lederman’s clothing store. Closed circuit cameras recorded them in that area about 12:15 p.m.

At about 4 p.m. their bikes and Collins’ purse were found by a firefighter on the south side of Meyers Lake.

Officials and volunteers searched the wooded area and community throughout the weekend. Professionals searched the lake. Neither effort turned up any substantial clues to the girls whereabouts.

Crews began draining Meyers Lake early last week, but halted the operation so that a FBI dive crew could search the lake with sonar equipment.

That search ended midday Friday and by the end of the night authorities had reclassified the girls disappearance as an abduction. Saturday, officials said they believed the cousins were still alive.

On Sunday, Breault said she couldn’t say what led them to that conclusion, but said they were still confident in that assertion.

Cook, who was watching the girls when they were abducted, said rumors that started late Saturday night on Facebook that the girls had been found alive were “unimaginable” for the family.

“For an hour and a half, it was just, you can’t imagine,” she said. “I called the sheriff’s office. I called the police. I called the FBI and tried to get some verification of something and they said they don’t know nothing, they hadn’t heard nothing. I don’t know who started these stories. ... That is so dirty whoever started this.”

Cook also confirmed Misty Morrissey, her daughter and Cook-Morrissey’s mother, will have to take another polygraph test after some results on the first one proved inconclusive. The polygraph has yet to be scheduled, Cook said.

“But it is going to be, nobody is going to scream at her before or after like they have before,” Cook said. “She has cooperated fully all along, except for this other polygraph, with what they did to her with the screamin’ for three hours.”

Cook added that the family remains hopeful that the girls will be returned.

“We just want to bring them home safe. And soon,” Cook said. “We are tired of waiting.”

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