EVANSDALE | The person who abducted a pair of cousins two years ago is likely local, according to new information released in connection with the investigation into their disappearance.
Elizabeth Collins, 8, and Lyric Cook-Morrissey, 10, went missing after they left for a bike ride in Evansdale in July 2012. They were later found dead in a rural Bremer County wildlife area. No arrests have been made in their deaths.
On Thursday, Evansdale police unveiled a new web page (http://evansdalepolice.org/latestonlyricandelizabeth.php) to act as a clearinghouse for information on the unsolved case.
Included on the site are newly released details about conclusions drawn from a study by members of the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit, which develops profiles of suspects.
“The offender is familiar with both Meyers Lake/Angels Park in Evansdale and Seven Bridges Wildlife Area in Bremer County,” the site said. It said the suspect chose Seven Bridges because he or she was familiar with the area and knew it was secluded.
“The offender blends in with and may be part of the Evansdale, Bremer and surrounding communities. It is unlikely that the offender is a transient or someone who was merely traveling or ‘passing through’ the area,” according to the site.
Analysts went on to say the suspect likely used “quiet coercion” to gain the girls’ compliance into leaving Meyers Lake, using a ruse or threats of violence. It said the cousins were possibly the victims of opportunity.
Other possible characteristics include:
- The suspect may have been experiencing stress related to legal troubles, spousal problems, employment difficulties, financial strain or mental health issues in July 2012.
- The suspect may avoid discussing the case or showing interest in the matter but is likely following developments in the media.
- The offender may have attempted to abduct children or adults in the past.
- Following the disappearance, the suspect may have altered his or her physical appearance, such as changing hair style and facial hair. The offender’s vehicle may also have been altered with a new paint job or re-upholstery.
Analysts’ experience with prior abduction cases points to one person being involved, but there are cases where more than one person was involved.
“The public is strongly encouraged to contact law enforcement with any suspicion involving a single offender, multiple offenders or any individual they are suspicious of -- whether or not the person possesses any of the characteristics mentioned,” the site states.
Evansdale Police Chief Kent Smock said the website will be updated as information becomes available.
A $150,000 reward, raised privately and by the FBI, is available for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case. Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers has a $20,500 reward for anyone coming forward with information that simply leads to an arrest.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the Evansdale Police tip line at 232-6682 or Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers at (855) 300-8477.