Saturday 10PM Update: Hundreds Search for Missing Girls

By Addison Speck, Reporter

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By Aaron Hepker

EVANSDALE, Iowa - Nearly 400 people searched Evansdale on Saturday in hopes of finding two missing girls. 8-year-old Elizabeth Collins and her cousin, 10-year-old Lyric Cook, were last seen Friday around the noon hour riding their bikes in Evansdale. They never returned home and family members told TV9 on Saturday they usually never go too far. The family started searching for the two and also contacted police.

Just a few hours after the girls left, investigators found the girls bikes, and a bag they had with them, near the southeast side of Meyers Lake.

Officials drug the river Friday before it turned dark. "We will keep searching until we are confident that they are not in that lake, " said Captain Rick Abben, a Chief Deputy with the Black Hawk County Sheriff's Office. A helicopter also patrolled overhead, looking for the pair. Abben said people searched the area until 3 in the morning.

By Saturday afternoon, several different local and state law enforcement agencies and search groups were involved along with the FBI and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Officials searched nearby homes and yards, extending their search to the entire City of Evansdale, towards Deer Wood Park and other parts of Black Hawk County.

Crews used boats to search Meyers Lake, and areas of the Cedar River. Officials drug Meyers lake for the second time on Saturday.
Volunteers combed the woods looking for clues, but didn't find any by the end of the day.

Wylma Cook sat by Meyers Lake for most of the day on Saturday. She is the grandmother of both Lyric and Elizabeth. "I want them back, I want them back now," said Cook.

Several volunteers asked officials and TV9 on Saturday whyan Amber Alert has not been issued. Authorities said the case doesn't meet the requirements established to release one. Abben said , "We have no person that we've seen, we have no vehicle that was described, so we can't issue an Amber Alert by their guidelines."

Cook thought by Saturday morning the girls would've been found. "I thought with the helicopters and my other son and a friend going on four wheelers until four o'clock in the morning they would see all these lights and stuff or something," said Cook. The grandmother of the two told TV9 she is afraid someone stopped and grabbed them. "When I woke up this morning, I just bawled my eyes out," said Cook.

While volunteers put their eyes and ears to work on Saturday, they also handed out pictures of the girls and tied pink bows around neighborhood trees. "You call and ask for volunteers, the black hawk county area has been excellent at coming out to assist law enforcement and people so we can get the job accomplished," said Abben.

It will be a 24 - 7 search operation. But Law enforcement, family members and the people in Evansdale said they won't give up until those two little girls are found. "I keep praying but I have to have them back but I want them alive," said Cook.

Officials sent the volunteers home at six o'clock after a day of searching, although many stuck around to watch crews drag the river until dark. Volunteers can come back to the Evansdale Community Response Center starting at 8 a.m. On Sunday. That's located at 911 S. Evans Road.

Officials said Saturday that an anonymous person has offered a $5,000 reward for information that leads to finding the two girls.

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