Missing persons cases and unsolved homicides — some going back more three decades — will be highlighted today as the community turns out to remember two young cousins whose killer has evaded justice for six years.
The Memorial Ride and Drive for Lyric and Elizabeth marks the disappearance of cousins Lyric Cook-Morrissey and Elizabeth Collins. The two young cousins disappeared July 13, 2012, while riding their bikes in Evansdale, and their bodies were found months later in another county. No arrests have been made.
The annual ride draws 300 to 400 people and raises money for the local Crime Stoppers program — which pays money for tips that solve crimes — and Angels Park, a memorial for the cousins and others taken too soon.
Registration for the event begins at 8:30 a.m. at Lofty’s Lounge on Lafayette Road, and riders set out at 11 a.m., said organizer Shawn Murphy. There will be three stops before returning to Lofty’s for food.
This year, the event will include a tribute to honor the victims of up to a dozen other unsolved crimes, said Drew Collins, Elizabeth’s father.
“For a lot of these families, it has been 20 years or even 30 years, so they kind of feel forgotten, they feel like their cases are forgotten. We just want to let those people know, from Crime Stoppers, that they are not forgotten,” Drew Collins said. “I just feel that getting the word out on some of these other cases could help them” lead to an arrest.
At the top of the list is Jake Wilson, a 15-year-old autistic boy from La Porte City who disappeared in early April. Family members said Jake left the house to visit a nearby creek and never returned. Weeks of searches that drew hundreds of volunteer followed, but Jake remains missing.
Collins said Jake’s disappearance reinvigorated organizers of this year’s benefit ride.
“We have another missing child, so for the group it’s really been one of those years where we know we are doing the right thing here. We’ve got to keep doing what we are doing,” he said. “With Jake not being found, not being in the creek, that brings the level up to where it was when the girls were missing.”
Other cases to be highlighted by the ride include Mikaela Bond Hill, a 22-year-old mother who was shot through her bedroom window as she slept in 2017; Jeffery “Jo Jo” Zolliecoffer, 23, whose body was found tied to cement blocks in the Cedar River in September 1989; Steven Kirchhoff, who disappeared in 1978 at age 22 and has never been found.
Family members bearing photos of their lost loved ones will gather near the entrance to Angels Park, and riders will pass them as they embark on the ride.
“All the riders will drive by. When you go by the family members, you put your hand over your heart and show a little support for the families,” Drew Collins said.
Guest speakers will be Rodger Day, whose 2-year-old sister was killed in 1974, and Jonnie Carter, whose 11-year-old daughter disappeared in Jackson, Tenn., in 2001.