Surveillance video may be last known sighting of missing girls
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Surveillance video may be last known sighting of missing girls

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EVANSDALE, Iowa --- A surveillance video showing two bicyclists may be the last glimpse of missing cousins Lyric Cook-Morrissey, 10, and Elizabeth Collins, 8.

The blurry clip, which lasts only a few seconds, shows the figures riding by on Brovan Street away from Meyers Lake.

“It looked kind of grainy to me, I mean just zoom they were by the thing and so it’s very hard to really make much out on the thing,” Black Hawk County Chief Deputy Rick Abben said.

They were less than a block from the Collins’ house, where grandmother Wylma Cook was reportedly watching the girls while one of their mothers had an appointment.

“They were the only two people to go by on bikes that day to my knowledge,” said Joe Pahl, who alerted police about the video July 16. “I’ve watched it.”

Pahl is the manager of Cornbelt Auctions, 3520 Lafayette Road, where a 24-hour camera captured the footage from its position behind the building. The time and date stamp — 12:11 p.m. July 13 — fits the police timeline of the case.

However, Pahl said the camera’s clock is eight minutes slower than his U.S. Cellular phone.

About 4 p.m. the youngsters’ bikes and Collins’ purse were found on the south side of Meyers Lake. Ted Gamerdinger of Waterloo, a bicyclist who said he often rides the Evansdale Nature Trail, has previously told The Courier he saw the two kids’ bikes on the trail at about 12:20 p.m., but no sign of the children.

“It’s pretty hard for girls to get a mile and a half away ... in eight minutes,” Pahl said. “I don’t even think I could ride a bike a mile in eight minutes.”

Pahl said FBI officials arrived within 20 minutes of learning about the video and “sat up here all Monday until about noon on Tuesday watching everything we had.”

“I think they marked every single car that went by,” he said. “I know they downloaded a ton of stuff off of this.”

Pahl said he has met Collins’ dad, Drew. The family “seems completely great, a typical suburban family.”

He hopes the release of the video spreads the word about the girls’ disappearance and strengthens the community support.

“It won’t lead to any kind of a conviction or anything like that,” Pahl said. “Will it help? Maybe. If it keeps people from forgetting to look for these girls, then great.”

 

- The location of Cornbelt Auctions, 3520 Lafayette Road, is shown on the map below. It is the marker labeled "3".

Map: Where the girls were last seen

Elizabeth Collins, 9, and Lyric Cook, 10 went missing on July 13, 2012 and were found dead in December. Here's a look at their last know whereabouts in Evansdale and the investigation that has taken place since then.

Note: The map markers are numbered, indicating which event happened first, second and so on. Click on one of the blue markers for more information on the event.




Timeline of events: The search of Lyric and Elizabeth

EVANSDALE, Iowa --- Within minutes of authorities learning of the disappearance of Lyric Cook Morrissey and Elizabeth Collins, three Evansdale squad cars were scouring the area and checking the home. Within half an hour, the search mushroomed with four Black Hawk sheriff’s deputies and Evansdale firefighters joining the effort.

Below is a timeline of the search for the missing cousins progressed based on notes kept by Kent Smock, who doubles as Evansdale’s police and fire chiefs. He said some information about specific leads was redacted from notes because of the ongoing investigation.

 

Friday, July 13, 2012

2:48 p.m., Cousins Lyric Cook Morrissey and Elizabeth Collins are reported missing.

2:50 p.m., Evansdale police search the home and the area using three squad cars.

3:15 p.m., Black Hawk sheriff’s office sends four cars to help. Fire department requested to help and uses a Gator to check bike trails.

4 p.m., Firefighters find the girls’ bike at Meyers Lake.

4:30 p.m., Girls' names are entered into the National Crime Information Center, a nationwide FBI database that includes missing persons.

4:30 p.m., Fire department begins dragging Meyers Lake.

4:40 p.m., County Emergency Management Agency notified and begins Everbridge automated messages to phones in the area to alert residents.

5 p.m., Canvas of lake neighborhood beings.

5:30 p.m., Officer meets with Collins to obtain photos of the girls.

5:30 p.m., Media notified of the disappearance.

5:30 p.m., Divers with Cedar Valley Underwater Search and Rescue, a local team of volunteers, is called to help search the lake.

6:30 p.m., Law enforcement and civilians conduct search of wooded areas. This continues until about 3:30 a.m. the following day.

7 p.m., Iowa State Patrol airplane with forward-looking infrared joins the search. Authorities begin interviewing local people listed on the state Sex Offender Registry.

8 p.m., Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children notified. FBI brought in. STAR-1, an Iowa search and rescue group, is contacted.

8:30 p.m., NCMEC begins emailing and faxing photos and descriptions of the girls to truck stops, stores and public places within a 100 mile radius of Evansdale.

 

Saturday, July 14

7 a.m., DCI and FBI arrive and begin interviews. Civilian searches of the area resume until 7:30 p.m. NCMEC sends out an advisory and prepares posters.

8 a.m., Law enforcement continues canvassing the neighborhood. Parents' cell phones and computers are taken for examination. FBI’s Child Abduction Response Team is deployed and remains until July 20.

8 a.m., STAR-1 sends cadaver dogs to the lake.

8 a.m., Law enforcement begins locating and interviewing registered sex offenders.

10 a.m., Press briefings begin and continue on a daily basis.

10:30 a.m., Divers called back to search new areas of Meyers Lake.

4 p.m., Afternoon press briefing.

5 p.m., Iowa State Patrol plane with LFIR returns.

8 p.m., Law enforcement begins searching area Dumpsters, continues until 5 a.m.

10 p.m., Garbage hauling companies notified of dump locations in the landfill.

 

Sunday, July 15

Law Enforcement Command Post moves into Poyner School, remains there until Aug. 10. FBI brings in data management team, remains until Sept. 10.

7 a.m., DCI and FBI resume interviews.

7 a.m., Civilian search resumes and continues until 7:30 p.m. STAR-1 searches continue.

7 a.m., Interviews and polygraphs conducted.

8 a.m., DCI, FBI and local police continue neighborhood canvas.

8 a.m., Computers and cell phones taken for examination.

8 a.m., Law enforcement continue with sex offender interviews.

10 a.m. and 4 p.m., Press briefings.

9 p.m., Searches of area Dumpters resume, continue until 5 a.m.

 

Monday, July 16

5 a.m., Law enforcement accompanies trash haulers picking up commercial trash.

6:30 a.m., Landfill is asked to set aside special area for Evansdale trash for two weeks.

7 a.m., Interviews and polygraphs continue.

8 a.m., DCI team brought in to locate and interview registered sex offenders.

10 a.m., and 4 p.m., Press briefings.

11 a.m., Draining started at Meyers Lake.

4 p.m., FBI bloodhounds requested.

 

Tuesday, July 17

5 a.m., Law enforcement accompanies trash haulers picking up commercial trash.

7 a.m., Interviews and polygraphs continue.

8 a.m., Law enforcement teams search specific areas. DCI team continues with sex offenders.

9 a.m. Sewer lines examined with TV cameras.

10 a.m. and 4 p.m., Press briefings.

8 p.m., FBI bloodhounds search the area.

 

Wednesday, July 18

5 a.m., Commercial trash collection continues.

7 a.m., Interviews and polygraphs continue.

8 a.m., Law enforcement teams search specific areas. DCI team continues with sex offenders.

10 a.m. and 4 p.m., Press briefings.

4 p.m., FBI dive team with sonar confirmed to search Meyers Lake.

 

Thursday, July 19

7 a.m., Interviews and polygraphs continue.

8 a.m., DCI team continues with sex offenders.

10 a.m. and 4 p.m., Press briefing.

5 p.m., Lake draining ceases.

 

Friday, July 20

7 a.m., Interviews and polygraphs continue.

7 a.m., FBI dive team examines Meyers Lake.

8 a.m., Law enforcement searches specific areas within 15 mile radius.

8 a.m., DCI team continues with sex offenders.

10 a.m. and 4 p.m., Press briefings.

Noon, Vehicle checkpoints.

5 p.m., Focus turns fully to abduction as other causes were eliminated.

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