Saturday marks a difficult day in the search for two missing cousins. Three months ago, on July 13th, 11-year-old Lyric Cook and 9-year-old Elizabeth Collins went missing while riding their bikes in Evansdale. Investigators say the girls were kidnapped, and have reason to believe the cousins are still alive.
Elizabeth's parents, Heather and Drew Collins, said the somber anniversary is weighing heavy on their families.
"It's another nightmare day. They're not home yet. They're still not home," Heather said.
The Collins continue to lean on their faith, and their community, for support. It's what got both families through the first long days of searching in Evansdale. Now, it's the lifeline they hang onto as another day passes with no sign of their daughters.
"It's hard to believe it's been three months. It's almost like a tornado went through our lives," said Drew.
Three months ago, the Collins and Cook families spent hours at Meyers Lake, staring across the water to where police found Lyric and Elizabeth's bikes. It was the center of the investigators' initial search at the lake. The evidence found there was sent on to D-C-I for processing, but authorities have not said what exactly they discovered -- other than the bikes and Elizabeth's purse. Although nothing has led authorities to the girls, they told the Collins Saturday they are not giving up the search.
"We got a text today from Mike from the DCI, saying we're not going anywhere. We're just getting started," said Drew.
Heather and Drew are well aware of how long it's been since they last saw their daughter. But in their world, life is on hold.
"I'm still back on July 13th. It's still my nightmare until this ends," said Heather.
They do take solace knowing their turmoil is changing the community for the better. People are watching their kids, and the kids down the street, a little more closely.
"A neighbor will be like -- well, your child's usually home by themselves. Why don't you just have them come over to mine. Cause I'm at home anyways. You're seeing a lot of that a lot more. Not just in Evansdale. In Waterloo and Cedar Falls," said Heather.
Though it it's not always easy, the Collins try to stay optimistic. Instead of thinking how much time has passed, they look forward to tomorrow.
"No matter what, I'm one day closer to knowing, to having her home. Every day we're one day closer," said Drew.
If you have any information, or were near Meyers Lake on July 13th and think you might have seen something, you're encouraged to come forward. You can call 319-232-6682 or 1-800-222-TIPS or email OurMissingIowaGirls@dps.state.ia.us
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