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Motorcycle ride remembers Evansdale cousins

Motorcycle ride remembers Evansdale cousins

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EVANSDALE | The roar of 125 Harley-Davidson motorcycles demands attention.

It is one of the reasons riders turned out in Evansdale on Saturday for the second annual "Memorial Ride and Drive for the Girls" marking the somber two-year anniversary of the day Lyric Cook-Morrissey, 10, and Elizabeth Collins, 8, were abducted and killed.

"We want to keep the word out about the girls and keep awareness out for other children," said Drew Collins, Elizabeth's father. "It's not just for our case but for others, too."

No one has been arrested in the death of the cousins. Their disappearance July 13, 2012, led to a massive search that came to a tragic end when their bodies were discovered months later.

Black-and-pink clad bikers, despite dark skies and the threat of rain, gathered at Lofty's Lounge before leaving on a ride to Waverly, Reinbeck and La Porte City. Proceeds from registration and raffle tickets will benefit Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers and Angels Memorial Park under development at Meyers Lake.

Rodger Day summed up the event in one word: awareness.

"The last thing I'd ever dream of is that I'd be up here two years later knowing that Elizabeth's and Lyric's killer has not been caught and still walks the street," Day said. "Let's continue spreading awareness throughout Iowa and here."

Day and his parents, Bill and Aileen Day, who now live in Rockford, Ill., know too well what the families of the cousins are going through. Rodger's 2-year-old sister, Michelle, was molested and strangled in 1974 when the family lived in Waterloo.

Michelle Day's killer was caught. Day urged anyone who might have information to help investigators bring Lyric's and Elizabeth's  killer to justice.

Pete Miles, who helped organize several events for the cousins, said an Amber Alert issued Wednesday for three missing Waterloo girls brought the events of two years ago back home for him.

Those girls were found safe, but their mother, Crystal Gaffney, was killed. Shaun Michael Hogan was arrested for first-degree murder in the case.

Miles had a message for the person or persons who took Lyric and Elizabeth.

"Our law enforcement community will never stop seeking justice; we won't stop the search for answers; we will not give up our prayers that you're eventually caught and brought to justice," he said. "And, most importantly, we're not going to forget our angels, ever. We owe it to their memory to never give up again."

Drew Collins said the support given to Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers is important. The organization received tips leading to 128 arrests in the past year.

"We've caught several missing sex offenders through Crime Stoppers," Collins said. "We want to bring in some of these missing sex offenders before they can do it again."

Chris Webb of Waterloo helped organize the memorial ride again this year and was overwhelmed by the number of sponsors who stepped up to donate items for the raffle and event, including a vacation package and big-screen television.

"I posted something on Facebook, and they started pouring in," Webb said.

Support for the cousins was also evident along the ride itself.

"It's amazing how people know about it and come out to watch and support it, like a parade," Webb said.

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Coming Sunday in the Courier, we will update you on the search for the killer of Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook-Morrissey.

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