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Unsolved: Eights years ago today, the bodies of Lyric Cook-Morrissey and Elizabeth Collins were discovered

Published: Dec. 5, 2020 at 9:03 PM CST
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EVANSDALE, Iowa (KCRG) - Eight years ago on Saturday, cousins 10-year-old Lyric Cook-Morrissey and 8-year-old Elizabeth Collins were found dead nearly five months after they’d gone missing.

On Wednesday, December 5, 2012, their bodies were found by hunters at the Seven Bridges Wildlife Park near Readlyn in Bremer County-a wildlife area approximately 25 miles from where the girls were last seen.

Lyric and Elizabeth were seen at approximately 12:23 P.M. on Friday, July 13, 2012 on Brovan Boulevard in Evansdale, and then spotted between 12:30 and 1 P.M. on Gilbert Drive not far from Meyers Lake, a popular fishing and recreation area with about 4,700 residents.

Elizabeth’s purse and their bikes were later found on a trail on the southeast corner of Meyers Lake around 4:00 P.M. that day, but there were no clues as to their whereabouts.

The girls’ grandmother, Wylma Cook, told press at the time she last saw the girls riding their bikes near downtown Evansdale at about 12:15 P.M. the day they went missing.

In the years since they went missing, authorities have interviewed more than 1,000 people and hundreds of sex offenders.

It was also revealed in 2017 that two people had confessed to the crime, but authorities eliminated them after determining they did not know any intimate details about the case.

At this time, no arrests have been made in connection to their deaths.

Still, many still hold out hope that their killer will someday be brought to justice.

During a press conference in August 2014, police said they believe Lyric and Elizabeth’s killer was likely someone local and “familiar with both Meyers Lake/Angels Park in Evansdale and Seven Bridges Wildlife Area in Bremer County.”

According to a report by the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier at the time, The FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit, which develops profiles of suspects, released details from an FBI study and unveiled those conclusions.

The offender profile concluded, in part, that:

  • The offender is familiar with both Meyers Lake/Angels Park in Evansdale and Seven Bridges Wildlife Area in Bremer County;
  • The suspect chose Seven Bridges because he or she was familiar with the area and knew it was secluded;
  • The offender blends in with and may be part of the Evansdale, Bremer and surrounding communities;
  • The suspect likely used “quiet coercion” to gain the girls’ compliance into leaving Meyers Lake, using a ruse or threats of violence, and that other possible characteristics include:
  • The suspect may have been experiencing stress related to legal troubles, spousal problems, employment difficulties, financial strain or mental health issues in July 2012;
  • The suspect may avoid discussing the case or showing interest in the matter but is likely following developments in the media;
  • The offender may have attempted to abduct children or adults in the past;
  • Following the disappearance, the suspect may have altered his or her physical appearance, such as changing hair style and facial hair. The offender’s vehicle may also have been altered with a new paint job or re-upholstery.
  • The Courier also reported that “analysts’ experience with prior abduction cases points to one person being involved, but there are cases where more than one person was involved.”

In a press conference held at the Evansdale City Hall on Tuesday, February 3, 2015, Evansdale Chief of Police Kent Smock said authorities were focusing their efforts on anyone who might be familiar with the remote Bremer County woodland where Lyric and Elizabeth.

In July, loved ones held the 8th Annual Memorial Ride and Drive, to raise awareness not only for Lyric and Elizabeth, but for other unsolved cases.

Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers is offering a $50,000 rewards for anyone who information leading to the arrest of the person(s) responsible for their disappearance. An additional $150,000 reward, raised privately and by the FBI, is available for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Evansdale Police Department at 319-232-6682 or the Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers at 855-300-8477.

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