Two cousins from Evansdale, Iowa, went missing on July 13. After nearly six months, the bodies of Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook were discovered.
Details of Murders
Elizabeth Collins, 8 years old, and Lyric Cook, 10 years old, left Elizabeth’s home in Evansdale, Iowa, on their bicycles on the 13th of July, 2012. Lyric frequently spent the day at Elizabeth’s house while her mother was at work. That afternoon, their grandmother Wilma Cook was caring for them.
They never returned to their house. Their family would scour the region for around one hour before reporting them missing to authorities.
The police would create a search team and attempt to retrace the girl’s last known movements. Hundreds of anxious townspeople would help in the search, and authorities would swiftly determine that the last confirmed sighting of the girls was in downtown Evansdale at approximately noon.
Their bicycles were discovered along the Meyers Lake cycling track in the southeast corner. The police would send a boat into the lake to seek for any traces of the girls.
They would send divers into the lake and then drag it, but nothing was found in the water to indicate what had happened to Elizabeth and Lyric.
However, approximately 20 feet away from where the bicycles were discovered, the police would discover Elizabeth’s purse and cellphone.
A door-to-door search would be conducted alongside a search of the nearby forest. Deerwood Park and Cedar River were also searched, with the assistance of sniffer dogs. The police also contacted all registered area sexual offenders. The search for the girls, however, was fruitless.
Misty Cook Morrisey, mother of Lyric, would concur with her belief that the girls had been kidnapped. She stated that it was out of character for them to stray thus far from their houses. The community would gather at the Evansdale Community Response Center, where Misty would exclaim, “I’m so happy that these individuals are here. I believe that everything possible is being done. We will continue to pray; we believe and await God’s assistance.”
Elizabeth’s mother, Heather Collins, stated that her daughter would never travel far from home, but that her elder cousin could have convinced her otherwise. She stated, “We’ve discussed this before. We have warned them that kids are too young to travel far.”
The proximity of Meyers Lake to Interstate 380 allowed for easy access to both the lake and the cycling track. Within the neighborhood, there was apprehension that the girls might have been abducted and fled quickly.
As the search continued, a $15,000 prize was established for information leading to the girls’ safe return. Four volunteers would create t-shirts, buttons, and posters bearing the girls’ faces and information about their disappearance.
Daniel Morrisey, the spouse of Lyric’s mother at the time, raised suspicions. In fact, investigators felt he was connected in some way. Misty’s sister, Tammy Brosseau, stated, “They have accused him. They informed him that they had evidence that he was responsible.” However, such evidence has never existed.
Misty and Daniel both had extensive criminal history, and Misty was on federal probation at the time of the girls’ disappearance. She was convicted of nine offences, including unlawful drug usage, affiliation with criminals, excessive alcohol consumption, and refusal to submit to drug tests. Daniel was convicted of burglary, theft, possession of drugs, driving under the influence, parole and probation offences.
Many believed that Misty and Daniel were treated unfairly due to their pasts.
Days became weeks, and then weeks became months, with no new information on the inexplicable disappearance. After the girls had been missing for two months, a vigil was held. Originally, it was going be held at the place where the girls’ bicycles were discovered, but it was moved to a nearby month.
On the 5th of December, 2012, it was reported that two bodies had been discovered by hunters in the Seven Bridges Wildlife Area, around 25 miles from where Elizabeth and Lyric had disappeared.
The girls would be identified as homicide victims, but their cause of death would not be disclosed.
In an effort to develop leads, authorities established a website with investigation updates and suspect information compiled by the FBI’s behavioral analysis team. They hypothesized that the perpetrator was acquainted with Meyers Lake, Angels Park, and Seven Bridges Wildlife Area in Bremer County.
Additionally, they considered that the perpetrator “blends in with” or could be “part of” the Evansdale, Bremer region. According to the FBI, the killer used “quiet compulsion” to gain the girls’ trust and may have been in a stressful situation in July 2012, maybe involving legal troubles, marital issues, career challenges, financial difficulties, or mental health issues.
In addition, the suspect believed that the perpetrator might avoid discussing the matter, but would have been following it in the media. The perpetrator may have also attempted to abduct children or people in the past, and they may have altered their look since the murders.
Over time, the community would come together to preserve and honor Elizabeth and Lyric’s memory. Angels Park Memorial opened in Evansdale in 2018. Since then, the park has evolved into a place where individuals can come to mourn their deceased loved ones. Annually, a Memorial Ride and Drive is held. Angels Park Memorial and Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers receive the proceeds.
Where Case Stands Today?
Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook’s murders remain unsolved to this day. In 2017, two individuals confessed to the murder, but it was swiftly revealed that their confessions were fraudulent. No suspect has ever been identified in this case.
Call the Evansdale Police tip line at 319-232-6682 or the Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers at 855-300-8482 if you have any information on the case. There is now a reward of $50,000 for information leading to an arrest and an additional reward of $150,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction.