One Year After Evansdale Abduction, Investigation "Very Active"

By Erin Jordan, Reporter

EVANSDALE, Iowa - A year ago Saturday, two cousins enjoying a summer bike ride vanished from a lake near Evansdale.

The girls' bodies were found in December, leading to a murder investigation that is still "very active," according to news release Thursday.

"As we approach the one-year anniversary of the abduction and murder of Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook, we grieve with the families and our community over the tragic loss of these two girls," said Evansdale Police Chief Kent Smock, in a prepared statement.

No arrests have been made and there is no new information in the case.

"We want to reassure the community that we are continuing to aggressively investigate this incident, reviewing thousands of leads and reports that have come in over the past year and follow up on information as it is discovered," Smock said.

Investigators have revealed few details about the investigation, which Smock said is necessary to preserve the integrity of the case.

Officers have probed whether Michael Klunder, a registered sex offender who kidnapped two central Iowa girls in May before hanging himself, was involved in the deaths of Collins, 8, and Cook, 10.

Klunder, 42, of Stratford, abducted two Dayton girls May 20 as they got off the school bus. One girl escaped, but 15-year-old Kathlynn Shepard was found dead June 7 in the Des Moines river near Boone. Her death was ruled a homicide.

Klunder hanged himself the evening of May 20.

Investigators started in May looking through old evidence, reports and information about Klunder, including his cellphone records, to see whether he could be linked to the Evansdale murders. Officials have declined to say whether DNA evidence was found with Elizabeth and Lyric's bodies.

A reward of over $150,000 is in place for information about the Evansdale case. People with tips can call 319-232-6682 or 1-855-300-TIPS or email ourmissingiowagirls@dps.state.ia.us.
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