Elizabeth Collins, left, and Lyric Cook-Morrissey
EVANSDALE, IOWA - At a press conference Thursday afternoon, authorities in Evansdale County said they still can't officially identify the two bodies found on Wednesday, but say that evidence indicates it is cousins Eliabeth Collins and Lyric Cook. Authorities say they are waiting for the official forensic autopsy reports to be completed.
However, in an emotional message on her Facebook page Wednesday night, Heather Collins, the mother of Elizabeth Collins, confirmed the bodies found Wednesday afternoon were those of her daughter and niece.
Here is Collins' message, posted late Wednesday night:
"We have been so blessed by the (outpouring) of all the prayers and support tonight with the gut wrenching news that my beautiful daughter and niece's bodies were found by hunters today. This was (not) the outcome we wanted but we know that they are up in Heaven with our Savior and our nightmare of where they are and what is happening to them has been answered. Lord, we know that you have them in your loving arms and we are so blessed (for) that."
Authorities held a late Wednesday afternoon press conference to announce that hunters had found the bodies in a wooded area of Bremer County around 12:45pm.
Few details were released, but Black Hawk County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Rick Abben told reporters the bodies had been sent to the State Medical Examiner's Office in Ankeny for autopsies and official confirmation of the identities.
"The Cook and Collins families have been notified of the discovery," Abben said. "It's definitely not the outcome we wanted, obviously."
Captain Abben would not say where the bodies were discovered, but several sources told KWWL they were found in a wooded area of the 7 Bridges Park in rural Bremer County. The park is located about 22 miles north of Evansdale.
Elizabeth Collins, then 8, and Lyric Cook, then 10, cousins from Evansdale, vanished July 13 while on a bike ride on the recreational trail in Evansdale. Their bicycles were found abandoned near Meyers Lake.
With the criminal investigation ongoing, investigators continue to ask anyone with information, or anyone who thinks they might have seen the girls on July 13 between noon and 6 p.m. in Evansdale, to call the tipline -- 319-232-6682 or 1-800- 346-5507. Tips can also be emailed to OurMissingIowaGirls@dps.state.ia.us.
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