On the 13th of July in the year 2012, a pair of cousins mysteriously vanished in Evansdale, Iowa. It would be nearly half a year before the lifeless bodies of Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook were discovered.
Elizabeth Collins, an 8-year-old girl, and Lyric Cook, a 10-year-old girl, embarked on a bicycle journey from Elizabeth’s residence in Evansdale, Iowa. Often, Lyric would spend her day at Elizabeth’s house while her mother attended work. That particular afternoon, their grandmother, Wilma Cook, was caring for them.
Sadly, the two girls never returned home. Their families conducted a search in the vicinity for approximately an hour before contacting the police and reporting their disappearance.
The authorities assembled a search party, attempting to retrace the last known movements of the girls. Numerous concerned locals joined in the search efforts, and the police quickly learned that the last sighting of the girls occurred around noon in downtown Evansdale.
The bicycles were discovered along the bike trail at the southeast corner of Meyers Lake. The police deployed a boat into the waters of the lake, searching for any potential evidence related to the girls.
Divers were sent into the lake and a thorough dragging operation was conducted, but no clues regarding the fate of Elizabeth and Lyric were found within the water. However, approximately 20 feet away from the location where the bicycles were discovered, the authorities stumbled upon Elizabeth’s purse and cellphone.
A door-to-door search was conducted while the nearby woodlands, including Deerwood Park and Cedar River, were thoroughly explored. Sniffer dogs were also called in to assist in the search efforts. Additionally, the police contacted all registered local sex offenders. Despite these extensive measures, the search for the missing girls proved fruitless.
Lyric’s mother, Misty Cook Morrisey, expressed her belief that the girls had been abducted. She stated that it was completely out of character for them to wander far from their homes. The community gathered at the Evansdale Community Response Center, where Misty conveyed her gratitude for the people present, expressing her faith that everything possible was being done. She concluded, “We’ll continue to pray; we believe and we wait for God to help.”
Heather Collins, Elizabeth’s mother, mentioned that her daughter would never venture too far away from home. However, she acknowledged that Elizabeth could have been influenced by her older cousin. Heather stated, “We’ve discussed this before. We’ve told them they’re too young to go far.”
Meyers Lake was located approximately 20 yards away from Interstate 380, providing easy access to the lake and bike trail. This led to concerns within the community that someone could have abducted the girls and made a swift escape.
As the search continued, a reward of $15,000 was established for any information that could lead to the safe return of the girls. Volunteers designed t-shirts, buttons, and posters bearing the girls’ faces and details of their disappearance.
Suspicions arose regarding Lyric’s mother’s husband at the time, Daniel Morrisey. The police believed he was somehow involved. Tammy Brosseau, Misty’s sister, stated, “They have accused him. They told him they had proof that he did it.” However, no such evidence was ever presented.
Both Misty and Daniel had extensive criminal records. At the time of the girls’ disappearance, Misty was on federal probation, having been convicted of nine crimes, including drug-related offenses, association with criminals, excessive alcohol use, and non-compliance with drug testing. Daniel had been convicted of burglary, theft, drug possession, drunk driving, and parole and probation violations.
Many individuals believed that Misty and Daniel faced unfair treatment solely due to their pasts.
Days turned into weeks, and weeks into months, with no new developments in this perplexing disappearance. A vigil was organized after the girls had been missing for two months. Initially planned to take place at the spot where the girls’ bicycles were found, it was later relocated to a nearby location.
On the 5th of December 2012, a devastating update was revealed when it was announced that hunters had discovered two bodies in the Seven Bridges Wildlife Area, approximately 25 miles away from the site where Elizabeth and Lyric had vanished.
The police declared that the girls were victims of a homicide, but the cause of their deaths was not disclosed.
In an attempt to gather leads, the police established a webpage providing updates on the investigation, along with suspect information generated by the FBI’s behavioral analysis unit. They theorized that the perpetrator was familiar with Meyers Lake, Angels Park in Evansdale, and the Seven Bridges Wildlife Area in Bremer County. Furthermore, they believed that the killer blended in with the Evansdale-Bremer community or could potentially be a part of it. According to the FBI, the killer employed “quiet coercion” to gain the girls’ trust and might have experienced a stressful situation in July 2012, possibly linked to legal issues, marital problems, employment difficulties, financial troubles, or mental health concerns.
Additionally, it was suspected that the killer might avoid discussing the case but would closely follow its media coverage. Furthermore, the killer may have attempted to abduct children or adults in the past and could have altered their appearance since the murders.
Over the years, the community united to preserve the memory of Elizabeth and Lyric and pay tribute to them. In 2018, Angels Park Memorial was established in Evansdale, evolving into a place where individuals could gather to mourn their loved ones. Every year, a Memorial Ride and Drive takes place, with proceeds benefiting the Angels Park Memorial and Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers.
The murders of Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook remain unresolved to this day. In 2017, two individuals confessed to the crime, but their confession was quickly determined to be false. No suspects have ever been named in this case.
If you have any information regarding this case, please contact the Evansdale Police tip line at 319-232-6682 or the Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers at 855-300-8477. Currently, a reward of $50,000 is offered for information leading to an arrest, with an additional reward of $150,000 for information that could lead to both an arrest and conviction.