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Iowa lake drained in hunt for cousins, ages 8 and 10

July 16, 2012|By Corina Knoll

A search for two Iowa girls missing for more than three days has thus far revealed few clues, and family and friends of the girls acknowledged Monday that they've become discouraged.

Elizabeth Collins, 8, and Lyric Cook, 10, who are cousins, were last seen Friday about noon when they left their grandmother’s house in Evansdale on their bicycles, said family friend Renee Wrabek.

The bikes, along with Elizabeth’s purse, were later found near Meyers Lake, a mile and a half from the house.

Over the weekend, hundreds of volunteers searched for the girls, and donors came up with $15,500 to offer as a reward for their safe return.

Still, no new information has been found in the city of 4,700. Authorities dragged the lake and on Monday began draining it, a process expected to take about three days, Rick Abben, chief deputy of the Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Office, said in a statement.

Many in town believe the two were abducted.

“It is devastating, emotionally and physically,” said Wrabek, 38. “To have nothing -- to have no leads to go on -- you’re just sitting here going, ‘Where are these children?’ We know they didn't run away because their bikes are there. I mean you're talking about an 8- and 10-year-old.”

Community support has helped the family, Wrabek said. Elizabeth's mother, Heather, suffers from a heart condition and is unable to join search crews. Two years ago Heather was found collapsed in her house and was aided by the local fire department, which is volunteer.

"This community saved her life and is now trying to find her daughter and niece," Wrabek said. "People have really come together."

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corina.knoll@latimes.com

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