Evansdale Looks for Closure As Lyric Cook is Laid to Rest

By Jeff Reinitz, The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier

Bows are secured on the pillars marking the entrance of Heartland Vineyard Church before the Celebration of Lyric's Life in Cedar Falls, Iowa on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. Lyric Cook-Morrissey, 10, and her cousin Elizabeth Collins, 8, were abducted while riding bicycles in Evansdale, Iowa on July 13. The girls bodies were found Dec. 5 in Bremer County, ending a five month search. (DAWN J. SAGERT / Courier Staff Photographer)

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By Aaron Hepker

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — The community said its good byes to Lyric Ray Lynn Cook-Morrissey on Saturday afternoon, laying to rest the second of two cousins found dead after disappearing in July.

Friends and family gathered for the services — billed as a celebration of the 10-year-old girl’s life — at Heartland Vineyard Church in Cedar Falls.

“It was very beautiful. There was a lot of support there,” said Nikki Schlarmann, who, with her mother, runs a Facebook group dedicated to the cousins. “As a family, we are just kind of in a daze still as to what’s going on.”

Pillars flanking the church’s entrance were decorated with pink bows similar to those that adorned trees across Evansdale, Waterloo and Cedar Falls after Lyric, of Waterloo, and her cousin, 8-year-old Elizabeth Collins of Evansdale, went missing while riding their bikes over the summer.

Reporters weren’t allowed inside for Saturday’s services, but social media postings showed colorful garlands made of hundreds of paper figures decorating the church staircase. They were created by students and hung by teachers at Kingsley Elementary, where Lyric had attended school.

A collage displayed photos taken during Lyric’s short life, social media postings showed.

Services for Elizabeth were Dec. 13 at the same church.

Authorities said the girls disappeared July 13 while riding their bikes in Evansdale. After exhaustive searches that drew hundreds of volunteers, hunters discovered the girls’ remains by chance in the Seven Bridges Wildlife Area near Readlyn on Dec. 5.

No arrests have been made, and a $150,000 reward fund has been established for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the girls’ deaths. Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers raised a separate reward of $20,500 during a fundraiser earlier this month.

Anyone with information is asked to call the special 24-hour tip line for the case at (319) 232-6682 or email to OURMISSINGIOWAGIRLS@dps.state.ia.us.

They also can call the Crime Stoppers Hotline at (855) 300-8477, the FBI tip line at (402) 493-8688, or the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation tip line at (515) 725-6010.
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