Sunday 5:45PM Update: Volunteers Wrap Up Day of Searching for Two Missing Girls

KCRG/Gazette/Waterloo Courier Staff Reports


By Max Walker

EVANSDALE, Iowa - The volunteer search in Evansdale for two girls who went missing Friday afternoon has wrap up for the day, authorities announced at 4:45 p.m. Sunday.

Searchers are looking for Lyric Cook-Morrissey, 10, of Waterloo and her 8-year-old cousin Elizabeth Collins of Evansdale. The girls were last seen riding bikes near downtown Evansdale just off Lafayette Road at 12:15 p.m. Friday.

Their bicycles were located about four hours later on the southeast corner of Meyers Lake along the bike trail.

Officials have not yet determined if the volunteer search will resume Monday.

The search party swelled to about 1,100 Sunday afternoon, officials said. Keeping volunteers and emergency workers safe as they trudged through timber, cornfields and river edges was a top priority for medical personnel.

Heat-related problems were a concern with temperatures soaring past 90 degrees. Medical officials at the Evansdale Community Response Center, the search headquarters, said nobody was seriously injured or became ill.

"A few people have overheated but nothing to take to a hospital. They just needed some rest and water," said Daniel Kreger, an Evansdale firefighter and ambulance driver.

Making people take breaks to stay healthy, though, was difficult at times. Search coordinators said people don't want to sit when two young girls can't be found.

"It's so common sense stuff, but people want to help so badly," said Melissa Oltman, a nurse practitioner from Grundy Center, manning the first-aid tent.

Several people have suffered a myriad of minor injuries, officials said. Oltman said they have treated cuts, scraps, a few twisted ankles and bloody noses. Bumps and bruises are also common.

On Saturday, Kreger said a volunteer suffered a seizure while searching in Deerwood Park. An ambulance was dispatched. The person quickly recovered, she said.

Oltman said dehydration was the biggest enemy. Search coordinators made sure plenty of water and sports drinks accompanied groups as they scoured remote areas in Evansdale and beyond.

Medical personnel were keeping a close eye for signs of heat stress among volunteers --- dizziness, too little or too much sweating and people feeling lethargic.

When search parties returned to the CRC, they were told to drink plenty of fluids, get a bite to eat and rest in the shade.

Local people and businesses have donated pallets of water, tons of ice and truckloads of food for the effort.

The Grundy Center Fire Department brought its John Deere Gator equipped with medical supplies and a backboard.

"That's the reason we have it is to get to places an ambulance can't," said Terry Oltman, a Grundy Center policeman, firefighter and paramedic. "We used it (Saturday) to get person with a twisted ankle at the edge of a cornfield."

Besides the heat and injuries, search group leaders warned people that ticks are especially bad this year.

About 60 people searched around the BMC Aggregates sand pits a few miles northwest of Gilbertville Sunday afternoon. While tromping through the timber, Jeremy Riesberg of Evansdale said his wellbeing was the least of his worries.

"It's (safety) not an issue," he said. "There are two missing girls."

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