Elizabeth Collins, left, and Lyric Cook-Morrissey
EVANSDALE, Iowa - Thirty-four-year-old Mike Knief of Evansdale was watching the Olympics on KWWL Wednesday night when a KWWL Breaking News program interrupt showed two new photographs in the Evansdale missing girls investigation.
The FBI had just released the two new photos Wednesday night, and right way, Mike recognized the white astro van in the picture. It was his family's van, owned by his father and used in daily deliveries for the family business.
There was also a photo of Mike from July 13 in Evansdale. Mike says he had gone inside the Casey's on River Forest Road in Evansdale to pay for gas on July 13, the day Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook disappeared. Mike and the van showed up on the Casey's store surveillance camera.
When he saw the two photos Wednesday night, Mike immediately tried to contact authorities to clear things up. Knief says, "I tried to call the Tip Line a few times, and got a business message. So, my family and I just went down to the Evansdale Police Department."
Knief says authorities contacted the FBI right away, and he was interviewed by authorities in Evansdale. The FBI says Knief was very cooperative from the very beginning and is not a suspect.
In an interview with KWWL Wednesday night, Mike told KWWL reporter, Ron Steele, "We got things all sorted out and they released me and said I wasn't a suspect in any way or anything. It's just they were following the leads."
Mike Knief says for him and the van, it was just a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time on July 13. Mike Knief told KWWL he did not have any information related to the investigation.
The FBI released the two new photos Wednesday evening, as they continue the now three-week investigation into the abduction 9-year-old Elizabeth Collins and 10-year-old Lyric Cook.
The new photos came from the Evansdale Casey's on River Forest Road. Lyric's mother, Misty Cook-Morrissey, works at another Casey's in Elk Run Heights.
The girls were last seen riding their bikes in Evansdale. The bikes were found near Meyers Lake.
An extensive search followed including hundreds of volunteers, check points, door to door questioning and the partial draining of the lake.
There has been speculation on social media sites about the involvement of a white van in the abduction of Lyric and Elizabeth, but as of last week, law enforcement involved in the investigation said there's no evidence to support those rumors.
An attempted abduction was reported recently in Dubuque involving a white van. The Dubuque Police Department interviewed the driver of a white van who had approached an 11-year-old girl. The girl told her parents he touched her face. The girl ran away and her family reported the incident to police. Police interviews with the man revealed no criminal intent and no criminal charges will be filed.
On Tuesday, an attempted abduction was reported in Cedar Rapids and involved a white Astro van.
Anyone with information related to the abduction is asked to call the tip line at 319-232-6682 or the FBI at 402-493-8688.
(Copyright 2012 by NBC affiliate, KWWL. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)