Psychics and PI's: What Happens When a Missing Persons Case Starts to Go Cold
By Jillian Petrus, Reporter
EVANSDALE, Iowa – As investigators push onto day thirteen of the search for two missing girls, authorities still are not releasing any new information in the case.
10-year-old Lyric Cook and 8-year-old Elizabeth Collins disappeared from Evansdale on July 13th. Authorities launched a massive search effort the first several days to find the girls. Despite few details to report, the FBI maintains someone took the girls and they're possibly still alive.
A 50,000 dollar reward is being offered for information that brings these girls home. On Tuesday, Black Hawk County Chief Deputy Rick Abben held the final daily briefing for reporters.
But the investigation is far from over.
Authorities say they are following up on every tip that comes in. Some of those leads are actually from people claiming to be psychic. The sheriff's office admits it's a little out of the box, but a local private investigator tells us now is the time when families and police start looking at different methods and resources in any missing persons case.
"I think they don't want to give up," said Jim Whitmer, a Waterloo PI with seventeen years of experience. He's never worked a missing person case, but says this is when families start thinking about hiring a PI.
"They look at private investigators as someone who can work miracles," Whitmer said, "We can't work miracles."
Whitmer recalls Jodi Huisentruit. A well-known missing persons case from Mason City. Huisentruit's family tried private investigation to keep the case from going cold.
"I think they were very desperate to recover their loved one," said Whitmer, "and there was nothing else to do."
We're told PI's can run surveillance, revisit details of the case, and conduct interviews. But, in an abduction case, Whitmer tell us the FBI is a family's greatest hope.
"They can strongly encourage you to talk. A PI can't. You can slam a door in our face and say, 'I don't want to talk to you' and you don't have to."
Deputies say they've taken 80 tips from psychic mediums claiming to know the girls location.
"They are all giving their opinion," Chief Deputy Rick Abben said, "No two are having the same vision I guess you could say."
Laura Henderson is a self-professed psychic from Cedar Rapids. She says it's common for mediums to get involved in a missing persons cases.
"No psychic can answer every question," Henderson explains, "Certainly you can get impressions, if someone's alive their energy comes across stronger and feels different to a psychic in terms of how it comes across."
While people continue to search, leave tips and try to answer questions in this case, Abben says one tragic fact remains.
"We still got two missing girls and we want them back."