As the investigation into the disappearance and death of two Iowa girls continues, investigators have released new details to help find who is responsible.
On July 13, 2012, cousins Elizabeth Collins, 8, and Lyric Cook, 10, were reported missing when their bikes were found in Evansdale near Meyers Lake. Volunteers, investigators, and family members spent months searching for the girls.
Later that year on December 5, the girls’ bodies were found by hunters in Bremer County, north of where they were last seen.
As families and authorities search for answers, the Evansdale Police Department has launched a webpage that provides investigation updates and suspect information, created by the FBI’s behavioral analysis unit. Click here to see the page.
The website indicates that the offender is familiar with the Meyers Lake and Angels Park in Evansdale, and Seven Bridges Wildlife Area in Bremer County, where the girls’ bodies were found, according to a report by WHO. The site says that whoever is responsible for the crime “blends in with” or may be “part of the Evansdale, Bremer” area.
It is believed that the offender used “quiet coercion” to gain the girls’ trust, according to the report.
WHO reported that authorities say the suspect may have been in a stressful situation in July 2012, perhaps related to legal troubles, marital issues, employment problems, financial strain, or mental health problems.
The suspect may avoid talking about the case, but is likely following reports from the media. Also, this person may have attempted to abduct children or adults in the past. After the girls’ disappearance, the suspect might have changed his or her appearance, like changing hair style or facial hair. The offender may also have altered his or her vehicle with a new paint job or re-upholstery.
According to the investigation updates page, as the two-year mark passed, no arrests had been made in the case, but that doesn’t mean hope is lost.
“The case is definitely not cold,” said Evansdale Police Chief Kent Smock. “We are continuing to investigate leads and develop new leads and follow up on information.”
An agent has been assigned to the case full-time, and gets around 5-10 tips each month.
Parents of Elizabeth Collins, Drew and Heather Collins, have lobbied to speed up notification to the public when a child is abducted. The couple is part of Team Hope, which acts as support and council to parents whose children have disappeared.
“A lot of what we are trying to do is put our lives back together, me and Heather and the kids,” said Drew. “All of that becomes harder and harder as time goes.”
A $150,000 reward has been offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case. The money has been raised privately and from the FBI. See the reward poster here.
Another reward, offered by the Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers, is $20,500 given to anyone with information that just leads to an arrest, according to Brice Lippert with the Waterloo Police Department.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the Evansdale Police tip line at 319-232-6682 or the Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers at 855-300-8477.