Governor to Meet with Parents of Missing or Murdered Children

By Mike Wiser, Reporter

Heather Collins, left, Drew Collins, center, both of Evansdale, and Heather's mother Wylma Cook, right, of Waterloo, light their candles before moving around the circle to light others' during a prayer vigil held at Countryside Vineyard Church in marking two months since the abduction of the Collins' daughter Elizabeth Collins, 9, and her cousin Lyric Cook-Morrissey, 10, of Waterloo,in Evansdale, Iowa on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012. (DAWN J. SAGERT / Courier Staff Photographer)

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By Ellen Kurt

DES MOINES, Iowa - Gov. Terry Branstad will meet with parents of three missing or killed Iowa children and a state senator pushing to reinstate the death penalty next week.

Officials in the governor’s office confirmed Branstad will host a meeting at 11 a.m. Monday with Drew Collins, Addonis Hill, Noreen Gosch and Republican state Sen. Kent Sorenson of Milo.

Collins is the father of Elizabeth Collins, an Evansdale girl whose body was discovered in a wooded area in rural Bremer County last week along with the body of her cousin Lyric Cook-Morrissey. Elizabeth was 8 and Lyric was 10 when they went for a bike ride in July and didn’t return.

Hill is the father of Donnisha Hill who was kidnapped and murdered in Waterloo in 2006, and Gosch is the mother of Johnny Gosch, a boy from West Des Moines who has been missing since 1982.

Sorenson said he will introduce legislation to reinstate the death penalty in Iowa during the legislative session that begins Jan. 14.
Earlier this week, Branstad said he supports reinstatement of the death penalty in certain circumstances, although he said it wasn’t a legislative priority of his because he doubted it would get support in the General Assembly.

Iowa abolished the death penalty in 1965. According to the advocacy group Iowans Against the Death Penalty, legislation to reinstate the death penalty has been introduced at least six times since then.

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