Search continues for missing Evansdale girls

On July 13 this summer, cousins Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook-Morrissey vanished after riding bikes near Meyers Lake in Evansdale, Iowa. The two girls are still missing, but the town of Evansdale is not giving up hope.

The community of Evansdale continues to show support for the girls by building a shrine for the girls by Meyers Lake. There are candles, stuffed animals and pictures of the girls by the lake. Many people wear pink T shirts with pictures of Elizabeth and Lyric. Pink ribbons are tied up everywhere throughout the town in honor of the girls. They remind people that the search is not over and there is still hope.

Sarah Staebell, an Evansdale local who owns the store Cobblestone Creek is close friends with the Collins family. She sell bracelets that have the girls names on them are sold in her store, and she also put up a giant sign with the girls’ faces and names in front of her business.

Sami Charley, a senior at CFHS and daughter of Staebell, babysat for Elizabeth and her siblings Amber, Callie and brother Kelly. “The Collins are practically a second family to me, and my family will do anything for them. They know they can always come to us. We have been with them 100 percent,” Charley said.

She says she has seen support in the Cedar Falls community and has been spreading awareness at the high school in every way she can. “I have seen a lot students and teachers wearing bracelets and T shirts. I encourage people to ask me if they want a bracelet. All of the proceeds go to the family, whatever it takes to bring the girls home,” Charley said.

Drew and Heather Collins, parents of Elizabeth, have been spreading the word in every way they can. “Drew and I have continued to spread awareness about the girls by doing any kind of fair or event we can to get the word out. We also are going to conferences and speaking about missing and exploited children,” Heather Collins said.

Heather and Drew have seen the community of Evansdale come together and spread awareness about the girls since day one. “I see the community supporting us by buying pink shirts, bracelets and buttons. There are pink ribbons everywhere, and their cars are decorated for the girls. They show support by all the prayers I continuously get on a daily basis. I get messages on Facebook that they’re supporting us, and that they are praying for the girls to return home safe and soon,” Heather Collins said.

Heather has been using social media to get the word out as well. “I think Facebook is a good tool because it also helps get the word out. I constantly post things about the girls. I also post something to whomever has taken them in case they might be on Facebook,” Heather Collins said.

Heather and Drew have been drawing attention to the Cousins Law petition. Charley has been working to get the message out about the petition for this law at the high school. “I encourage everyone to sign and look up the Cousins Law petition. The petition calls on the Iowa lawmakers to change the Amber Alert to all missing persons cases, even if they don’t have a suspect in the case. It’s aimed to get the word out faster a few hours after the child goes missing,” Charley said.

Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook-Morrissey have not returned home yet, but the families and community of Evansdale will not give up hope. Just walking through Evansdale, one sees support for the girls around every corner. “Everyone is doing anything imaginable to bring the girls home,” Charley said. “I just want everyone to not give up and just keep praying every day. Every prayer counts. We’re not giving up.”

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