The search for two girls last seen July 13 in Evansdale, Iowa is now being handled as an abduction.
That information came from Black Hawk County Sheriff Tony Thompson at a news conference he held at 4 p.m. Friday, July 20, a week after the girls apparently vanished.
Thompson said investigators held checkpoints at various locations in and around Evansdale, interacting with drivers who might also have traveled the area a week ago at the same time Lyric Cook, 10, and her cousin Elizabeth Collins, 8, were last seen. No decisions had been made yet concerning if, when or where any further checkpoints might be held.
Their bicycles and a purse were found near Meyers Lake hours after they were reported missing.
Crews stopped efforts to drain the lake and a dive team from the Federal Bureau of Investigations searched the water for evidence also July 20. That search led to the conclusion that the girls are not in the water.
That determination, combined with the fact that the girls have not been found, has led investigators to now handle the case as an abduction.
“If they were lost, they would have been found by now,” said Sheriff Thompson.
The sheriff also said investigators did obtain new evidence July 20, which has been sent to a crime lab in Ankeny, Iowa for analysis. He declined to say what the new evidence was or where it was found.
He also would not comment on any possible pings to a cell phone reportedly carried by one of the girls.
Thompson also denied claims from Lyric Cook’s father that he is being watched. The sheriff said the pretrial watch on Daniel Morrisey is actually standard protocol when someone with a criminal record is connected in any way to a criminal case, and it is not the result of any direct focus on Mr. Morrisey.
The sheriff said no suspects had been identified as of 4 p.m. July 20.
Thompson said leads were still coming in and being investigated. Anyone with information can call the case tip line at (310) 232-6682, Crime Stoppers at (855)-300-8477 or the FBI at (402) 493-8688. Callers can remain anonymous.
A $50,000 reward is offered for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the disappearance of Lyric and Elizabeth. The reward money is a combination of Crime Stoppers funds and anonymous donations.