DCI Accepting Tips on Missing Cousins Through Email

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 Lisa Kunkel

EVANDALE, Iowa - Now, at nearly two months since Lyric Cook and Elizabeth Collins were last seen in Evansdale, the pink ribbons and bows remain. A handful of stuffed animals sit under the sunshine of a September evening on the walking trail of Meyers Lake.

Now state investigators are trying to keep the urgency up front to try and figure out where the girls are.

"Anything that a person might think is a very minute detail, something they think is unimportant, some unusual activity by a co-worker, friend or neighbor, anything they think could be of minimal importance in their eyes could be very critical to us," said Charis Paulson, assistant director with the Division of Criminal Investigation. Paulson spoke with TV9 on Thursday afternoon in an interview in Des Moines.

This week, Paulson released an e-mail to state workers and law enforcements agencies throughout Iowa to announce the establishment of new contact points for tips and information on the girls:

Email address for members of the public to submit tips and leads: OurMissingIowaGirls@dps.state.ia.us . You can also report tips to (515) 323-4360. This number is answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Since the last public sighting of Cook, 10, and Collins, 9, in Evansdale on July 13th, the investigative focus has shifted from the Evansdale Police and Black Hawk County Sheriff's Office to the FBI's late-July search of Meyers Lake to the DCI now adding this contact point for more information. The FBI concluded, on July 27, that the girls were not in Meyers Lake and the case was classified as an abduction.

In the weeks since July 13, Meyers Lake in Evansdale has been the setting for vigils and walks as family members and friends of the missing girls gather to pray and think about their return. While the initial days after the disappearance filled the area with national media, now the lake is quiet with the constant hum of the I-380 traffic filling the air.

As summer gives way to the autumn, the news of the missing girls is not always in the news anymore. Paulson hopes this new contact information will keep people here engaged.

"We have not forgotten," said Paulson. "We are working very hard on a daily basis and we follow up on any leads that come in. We are still piling through surveillance footage with area businesses and still talking with people that still live in the area and asking questions about people walking, people biking and people visiting."
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