Two eastern Iowa families are mourning after a discovery made by hunters appears to have confirmed their worst fears.
All signs are pointing to the fact that the bodies discovered Wednesday are those of missing cousins Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook. The Black Hawk County Sheriff's Office is not confirming the bodies are those of Collins and Cook.
The Evansdale community is coming together to console one another. A candlelight vigil was held at Meyers Lake Wednesday night. That’s where a makeshift memorial to the girls was set up after they disappeared in July.
The news that two bodies have been found and are believed to be the bodies of 8-year-old Elizabeth Collins and 10-year-old Lyric Cook is hitting this community hard.
"Just broken. I think a lot of people are. Just the best way to describe it,” says family friend Sarah Curl. "We've all held out pretty strong that there's going to be positive outcome. We've done everything we could to raise awareness and bring the girls home and like I said we're just broken right now."
During a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Rick Abben with the Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Office said the two bodies were found by hunters around 12:45 p.m. but he wouldn’t say exactly where.
On Wednesday night, police and state investigators converged on Seven Bridges Park in Bremer County, about 20-miles from Meyers Lake in Evansdale. Bremer County Sheriff Dewey Hildebrandt confirmed Thursday that the park is where the bodies were discovered.
The cousins disappeared July 13th, sparking a massive search by hundreds of volunteers. The lake near where the girls’ bicycles were found was partially drained. Police have said they believed the girls were abducted.
Even though a positive identification hasn't been made, the mother of Elizabeth Collins wrote in a Facebook posting about the support she has received since. In her words, “My beautiful daughter and nieces bodies were found.”
The girls’ families are asking for privacy, while the community shares in their pain.
The sheriff's office is holding another news conference Thursday afternoon at 4:00 p.m.
The remains of the bodies are at the State Medical Examiner's Office in Ankeny for autopsies and positive identification.