FBI: Small details important in missing girls case

2012-07-22T14:15:00Z 2015-03-03T18:58:44Z FBI: Small details important in missing girls caseBy EMILY CHRISTENSEN, emily.christensen@wcfcourier.com and AMIE STEFFEN, amie.steffen@wcfcourier.com Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier

To view the missing poster for the two girls, click here.

To view a map of where the girls were last seen, click here.

For live updates in the case, click here.

 

EVANSDALE, Iowa --- Authorities are still searching for anyone who may have been at Meyers Lake before 3 p.m. on July 13, the day two cousins vanished from the community.

“Even if you think you don’t have any information that is important to this case, investigators want to talk to you,” said Sandra Breault, a FBI spokeswoman. “Don’t assume we know what you know.”

Breault said they are looking for anyone who might have been at the park, on the trails or on the water. Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook-Morrissey disappeared July 13.

“There was a gentleman who regularly runs around the lake. He didn’t see either one of the girls ... but he did see their bikes and he was able to pinpoint the time of the day that he saw the bikes. Small details like this are really important to the investigation,” she said.

Breault was asked several questions about possible raids, evidence collected, possible suspects and text messages, but she refused to divulge any details.

“Any specifics of the case, the premature release could impede the investigation,” Breault said.

The girls' grandmother, Wylma Cook, said the girls left the Collins home late morning for a bike ride.

She saw them just a short time later behind Lederman’s clothing store. Closed circuit cameras recorded them in that area about 12:15 p.m.

At about 4 p.m. their bikes and Collins’ purse were found by a firefighter on the south side of Meyers Lake.

Officials and volunteers searched the wooded area and community throughout the weekend. Professionals searched the lake. Neither effort turned up any substantial clues to the girls whereabouts.

Crews began draining Meyers Lake early last week, but halted the operation so that a FBI dive crew could search the lake with sonar equipment.

That search ended midday Friday and by the end of the night authorities had reclassified the girls disappearance as an abduction. Saturday, officials said they believed the cousins were still alive.

On Sunday, Breault said she couldn’t say what led them to that conclusion, but said they were still confident in that assertion.

Cook, who was watching the girls when they were abducted, said rumors that started late Saturday night on Facebook that the girls had been found alive were “unimaginable” for the family.

“For an hour and a half, it was just, you can’t imagine,” she said. “I called the sheriff’s office. I called the police. I called the FBI and tried to get some verification of something and they said they don’t know nothing, they hadn’t heard nothing. I don’t know who started these stories. ... That is so dirty whoever started this.”

Cook also confirmed Misty Morrissey, her daughter and Cook-Morrissey’s mother, will have to take another polygraph test after some results on the first one proved inconclusive. The polygraph has yet to be scheduled, Cook said.

“But it is going to be, nobody is going to scream at her before or after like they have before,” Cook said. “She has cooperated fully all along, except for this other polygraph, with what they did to her with the screamin’ for three hours.”

Cook added that the family remains hopeful that the girls will be returned.

“We just want to bring them home safe. And soon,” Cook said. “We are tired of waiting.”

 

FBI: We believe girls are alive


FBI spokeswoman Sandy Breault says the FBI has reason to believe that Lyric Cook-Morrissey, 10 and Elizabeth Collins, 8 are still alive, during a press conference held in Evansdale on Saturday, July 21, 2012.(DAWN J. SAGERT / Courier Staff Photograph)

3:30 p.m. Saturday - EVANSDALE, Iowa --- Investigators still wouldn’t say they had any new leads Saturday afternoon, but stressed that they were “confident” both Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook-Morrissey are still alive.

FBI spokeswoman Sandy Breault wouldn’t say what made them confident, even as statistics show that the longer someone goes missing, the less likely it is they will be found.

“We believe the girls are alive, and we are not discouraged by the passage of time,” Breault told reporters at the Evansdale Community Response Center Saturday.

Officials said no arrest warrants had been issued but wouldn’t comment on any search warrants.

Hindering the investigation, Breault said, was a lack of cooperation from “all” of the two missing girls’ family and friends. She wouldn’t release details on who that person or persons may be.

“It’s a roadblock,” she said.

Police will only say that “physical evidence” was found relating to the girls, but wouldn’t say if it was found by police, the dive teams or by the search dogs brought in to canvass the area near Meyers Lake, where the two went missing July 13.

Breault said investigators are still following every tip that comes into the FBI or the Cedar Valley Crimestoppers hotlines and that it was a “top priority for the FBI.”

"I can't stress enough that we truly believe the girls are out there," Breault said. "We believe someone out there has information."

 

Authorities say case reclassified as abduction


Rocks and flowers are used to secure drawings left at Meyers Lake in honor of Lyric Cook-Morrissey, 10, of Waterloo, and Elizabeth Collins, 8, of Evansdale, who have been missing for over a week.(DAWN J. SAGERT / Courier Staff Photographer)

5 p.m. Friday - EVANSDALE, Iowa --- Authorities said Friday they are now classifying the week-old disappearance of Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook-Morrissey as an abduction.

Capt. Rick Abben said a $50,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible in this case.

"Investigators are confident that the two girls are not in Meyers Lake," Abben said.

Abben said investigators have also "obtained evidence" that was forwarded to the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation lab in Ankeny.

He would not say when or how the evidence was obtained. He also said there are no suspects.

FBI-requested sonar equipment searched the lake Friday, but the 10-person dive team was not needed, said Sandy Breault, a FBI spokesperson.

FBI agents were at Meyers Lake around 10 a.m. Friday. They left around 2 p.m. and re-opened the parking lot.

By 5 p.m., police tape that had surrounded the lake was already being taken down by authorities.

Abben said there will be less of a police presence at the lake and it should be open to the public again after police and draining equipment is removed.

Abben said despite Dan and Misty Morrissey's criminal backgrounds, no one set of parents is being targeted.

"Now that it is an abduction everyone is a suspect until we find these people, these two young girls. We look at everybody not just one set of parents over the other," he said. "... Everything has to be considered."

He did however say that they requested the court put Dan Morrissey under supervision in connection with a pending drug trial so they "could have closer supervision."

Dan Morrissey has been out on bond since May 11 in connection with two methamphetamine arrests in December 2011.

"We are not looking at anyone. Everybody is being checked into," Abben said. "It was originally supposed to be done because of the charge he was under. I think it was an oversight and something that was supposed to be done anyway to be put out on pretrial like that."

Abben said there are no specific areas of concentration in the search efforts now that the lake has been cleared. House-to-house searches may be done again.

He also said that area families should continue to be vigilante and report any suspicious behaviors, though there is no evidence that anyone else may be in danger.

"Nothing else has happened in this area in the last week," Abben said.

 

Anyone who thinks they have information about the case is being encouraged to call:

- Tipline at (319) 232-6682

- Crime Stoppers Hotline at (855) 300-8477

- FBI tipline at (402) 493-8688

- DCI tipline at (515) 725-6010

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(20) Comments

  1. vcusmano
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    vcusmano - August 01, 2012 12:43 am
    they happened to be staying over night at the casino when they were so 'rudely' awakened. and the morrisseys, at one time, lived 2 blocks from prospect blvd. j/s
  2. London
    Report Abuse
    London - July 28, 2012 8:23 pm
    As we continue to be hopeful, it's good to see the various theories about what might have happened from people commenting on here, or Facebook or various chat forums. Well developed theories sometimes point out the break needed to solve various cases. When developing theories, try to include the evidence found within the thinking of various scenarios. Although not much for evidence has been released in this case so far, think it through. For instance, a very interesting item is Elizabeth's purse. Why was it left? Why didn't she keep her purse with her? If she left with someone she knew, wouldn't she take it with? Why was it in it's location from the bikes? Was she running and dropped it? Why were the purse and the bikes not picked up and taken by the assailant(s)? For instance, if they left in a vehicle, perhaps the bikes wouldn't fit? So maybe it was a car and not a van or truck. Perhaps they left on foot and are still very nearby? We need to use what we know so far and keep working it and think positive! Hoping for them to come home safe! Peace!
  3. LP23D6
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    LP23D6 - July 26, 2012 12:12 am
    How about the strange man in the "suspicious white van" who has been seen in Algonquin, Illinois, Dubuque, and Cedar Rapids area stopping young kids and even touching them. This guy creeps me out.
  4. myvoicematterstome
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    myvoicematterstome - July 23, 2012 8:25 am
    Watching news reports this morning, the police chief in Aurora, CO teared up talking about people he didn't even know. Watching Lyric's mom in interviews I have NEVER seen this woman cry let alone tear up over her 10 yr old daughter. Something is not right with this case. Just saying.
  5. 83grad
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    83grad - July 22, 2012 8:13 pm
    Concerned citizen.... Very will put!! I have to commend law enforcement for being so thorough. The FBI was called in early on, and they have done most things before most if us have even thought about it. What theyre saying now is so hopeful!! I know there a lot we dont know, as well we shouldn't, and the girls will be home soon.
  6. bluedarkstar
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    bluedarkstar - July 22, 2012 10:31 am
    jake5195 said: "now that it is considered an abduction, I'm curious if the road construction crew that was working on the highway that day has been looked into or questioned on anything they might have seen"

    They have already talked to the road construction crew on Monday! It was in the news.
  7. concerned citizen1216
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    concerned citizen1216 - July 22, 2012 7:27 am
    It continually amazes me how stupid some people can be on here. To suggest that the police are slow is idiotic. I happen to believe the police and F.B.I. have handled this case very well. One of the key indicators is their silence and thorough approach. What hampers an investigation and future conviction in so many cases is when information is leaked or when the investigators take short cuts. I strongly believe the police and F.B.I. have information that they are not sharing and have had for quite a while. The draining of the lake and divers were just part of being thorough. Just because they do not publish every move they are making does not mean they are not investigating. How do you know they didn't talk to work crews or look at cameras or other tactics? Just because it wasn't in the paper or on the news? Give me a break!

    As for the questioning of the family, I love and agree with the comment from wujethro "If you don't want to be treated like a criminal, don't be a criminal".

    Either way, we are silly if as outsiders we try to second-guess the police. Our jub as citizens is to support the family, and aid in the investigation and search as the police ask for it. I am thrilled they believe the girls are still alive and let's pray they stay that way and get to come home soon!
  8. Loodood
    Report Abuse
    Loodood - July 22, 2012 12:48 am
    JBahrdello said: "Yeah like take the parents in to be interrogated, in the dead of the night, for three hours. I'm honestly surprised they didn't bring in a water board. And yes, I know they gotta cover all angles, but in the middle of the night??? The stasi would be more respectful if the Morrissey's lived on Prospect Blvd I'll wager."

    If that's the direction you argue, then I will play your silly game and say if they DID live on prospect, they wouldnt be so stupid as to not be fully cooperative. Oh yes, a lengthy rap sheet and most likely a pack of felons and dirtbags as friends, and you wonder why the harsh investigation of them?

    Trouble finds trouble.
  9. cindersoot
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    cindersoot - July 21, 2012 3:39 pm
    Does anyone know if their bikes were pointing east or west when found?
  10. cindersoot
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    cindersoot - July 21, 2012 3:35 pm
    If they strongly believe the girls are alove then why the dive team, sonar and lake drainage?
  11. 83grad
    Report Abuse
    83grad - July 21, 2012 10:49 am
    Very interesting comments about CCTV. I'm glad they are on it and hope something has come if it. I personally had not thought of residential cameras. BUT, I sure would think that if I DID have it, I would have volunteered it long before the authorities made a specific appeal for it. Thats the whole point of the tipline and asking people to come forward with information. This would be information!
  12. badtoe
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    badtoe - July 21, 2012 2:22 am
    Interesting to see that a Cedar Rapids TV station obtained the security video of the girls on their bikes on Brovan Blvd from the feds before the local station...
  13. Iowamom22
    Report Abuse
    Iowamom22 - July 20, 2012 10:51 pm
    jake5195 said: "now that it is considered an abduction, I'm curious if the road construction crew that was working on the highway that day has been looked into or questioned on anything they might have seen"

    Yes and there ARE cameras on posts near the construction area to monitor traffic I guess. If those are on recording somewhere maybe they can see in some cars.
  14. first amendment
    Report Abuse
    first amendment - July 20, 2012 10:35 pm
    JBahrdello said: "Yeah like take the parents in to be interrogated, in the dead of the night, for three hours. I'm honestly surprised they didn't bring in a water board. And yes, I know they gotta cover all angles, but in the middle of the night??? The stasi would be more respectful if the Morrissey's lived on Prospect Blvd I'll wager."

    So are you on the investigation team to know that CCTV films haven't been requested. Again, since your only source of information is newspapers and rumors maybe, just maybe, you aren't the authority for how to go about an investigation.
  15. DaddyTJ
    Report Abuse
    DaddyTJ - July 20, 2012 8:08 pm
    Hildegard Wagner said: "Why are the police not making a public appeal #1 for the photographs that anyone took in the area that day and #2 all area CCTV footage, whether on a commercial, residential, or government camera? Lots of businesses and private residences have security cameras. You never know what might inadvertently be in the background of your photo. And when that Scottish girl went missing in Portugal a few years back, didn't it take the police a few weeks to request the area CCTV footage, by which time it had already all been recorded over? Please, if the police aren't going to ask the public to preserve potential evidence, then we need to do it on these message boards. Please pass this on. "

    They were looking at CCTV footage last weekend.
  16. wujethro
    Report Abuse
    wujethro - July 20, 2012 6:47 pm
    JBahrdello said: "Yeah like take the parents in to be interrogated, in the dead of the night, for three hours. I'm honestly surprised they didn't bring in a water board. And yes, I know they gotta cover all angles, but in the middle of the night??? The stasi would be more respectful if the Morrissey's lived on Prospect Blvd I'll wager."....or maybe if they didn't have such lenghty criminal records...including daniel being on pre-trial release...and a standing "no contact order" in place...don't wanna be treated like a criminal? don't BE a criminal!

  17. Hildegard Wagner
    Report Abuse
    Hildegard Wagner - July 20, 2012 6:29 pm
    Why are the police not making a public appeal #1 for the photographs that anyone took in the area that day and #2 all area CCTV footage, whether on a commercial, residential, or government camera? Lots of businesses and private residences have security cameras. You never know what might inadvertently be in the background of your photo. And when that Scottish girl went missing in Portugal a few years back, didn't it take the police a few weeks to request the area CCTV footage, by which time it had already all been recorded over? Please, if the police aren't going to ask the public to preserve potential evidence, then we need to do it on these message boards. Please pass this on.
  18. JBahrdello
    Report Abuse
    JBahrdello - July 20, 2012 5:59 pm
    Yeah like take the parents in to be interrogated, in the dead of the night, for three hours. I'm honestly surprised they didn't bring in a water board. And yes, I know they gotta cover all angles, but in the middle of the night??? The stasi would be more respectful if the Morrissey's lived on Prospect Blvd I'll wager.
  19. jake5195
    Report Abuse
    jake5195 - July 20, 2012 5:33 pm
    now that it is considered an abduction, I'm curious if the road construction crew that was working on the highway that day has been looked into or questioned on anything they might have seen
  20. badtoe
    Report Abuse
    badtoe - July 20, 2012 4:59 pm
    Anyone who wants to criticize the authorities for waiting a week to now call this situation an abduction has a lot to learn. There are many, many protocols and procedures that must be followed in police work. Don't think there hasn't been a great deal of work happening behind the scenes that none of us know about yet. These steps happen for a reason.
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