Monday 5PM Update: Lake Being Drained in Missing Girls Case

KCRG/Gazette/Courier Staff Reports

Water draining from Meyers Lake into the Cedar River on Monday, July 16, 2012. Officials started to drain the lake as part of their search for two girls who disappeared from Evansdale on Friday, July 13, 2012. (KCRG-Gazette)

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By Aaron Hepker

EVANSDALE, Iowa - Officials have started draining Meyers Lake as the search for two missing girls continues Monday.

City officials said they are draining Meyers Lake as part of the search for Elizabeth Collins, 8, and Lyric Cook, 11, who were last seen shortly after noon on Friday in downtown Evansdale.

City officials confirmed that they started to drain the lake, which is where the girls' bikes and a purse were found Friday. Authorities said it would take several days to drain the lake. The spring-fed lake is a former borrow pit that was dug to get rock during the construction of Interstate 380.

The search for the missing girls started at about 3 p.m. Friday with dozens of Evansdale police and volunteer firefighters. By Sunday afternoon, the massive manhunt swelled to more than 1,100 as residents and emergency workers throughout the area descended on the town to help.

Law enforcement officers searched homes and business, wooded areas in town and stopped motorists at street corners to find Lyric and Elizabeth. There are still no clues to their whereabouts.

“The focus today (Monday) is to get these two girls back. That’s what we want ... just these girls back, Said Capt. Rick Abben of the Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Office, serving public information officer for the case.

Massive search parties during the weekend searched a 12-square-mile area in and around Evansdale, including lakes, rivers, homes, abandon buildings and remote wooded areas. Nothing was found.

“We just don’t have much to go on,” Abben said. ” There’s two bikes and a purse that was found. ... There’s nothing really more to tell you than the search is continuing.”

Late Monday morning, Heather and Drew Collins, Elizabeth’s parents, held a news conference at the Evansdale Community Response Center. The police and fire station is ground zero for the search effort.

The Collins thanked the public for all their support. Even though the massive search has been temporarily halted, which they approved, the couple again asked for prayers and the public to remain vigilant to help bring the girls home.

“All the group that have come together is overwhelming. ... Just don’t give up,” Heather said.

The couple also had a message for the person or persons who took their child and niece. Even though police aren’t calling it a kidnapping for lack of evidence, family members believe the girls were abducted.

“My husband and I have forgiven them. God has forgiven them,” Heather said. “We just want our child back.”
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