The search for Elizabeth and Lyric goes on, and state and local investigators were busy in Evansdale Wednesday night, conducting what was described as a ‘recanvassing' of Evansdale neighborhoods.
Nine-year-old Elizabeth Collins and 11-year-old Lyric Cook have been missing now for 97 days, as of Thursday. The cousins vanished while on an Evansdale bike ride July 13. The FBI has said it still believes the girls are alive.
Several callers to the KWWL newsroom said they saw law enforcement activity Wednesday night, and wondered what was going on in Evansdale.
The callers and e-mailers said several law enforcement vehicles were on the streets and that they saw at least one helicopter in the skies above the community.
Wednesday evening, Black Hawk County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Captain Richard Abben confirmed with KWWL that there is additional law enforcement presence in Evansdale.
He said DCI investigators have about 110 homes they want to visit in this effort. Abben explained there are some people who live in the area who were not home during the initial door-to-door search. There are also new families who have moved into the neighborhood surrounding Meyers Lake.
State agents believe someone has to know something. They're hoping to find new information that people failed to mention, or didn't think was important, during this new search.
"When we talk to people face-to-face, sometimes we can get more out of them, or things that they might not think is something that would be helpful. Because they're not sure or they're reluctant to call in the tip line. Because they say, I'm not sure if that would be helpful. And so instead of calling in they don't," Abben explained. "This way, we can determine -- yeah, that's something we hadn't heard before. Or something we could use that would be useful to us."
Abben said they are simply trying to be as thorough as possible, but he says there are no new developments to report at this time.
Many officers believe someone in the Evansdale areas has critical information which could break the case and help find the girls.
"It is frustrating. The fact that two young girls can just disappear on a bright sun-shiny day as it was back in July, at 12:15 in the afternoon, in a town of, what is Evansdale, 5,000 people? So it is frustrating. But we're not giving up," Abben said.
KWWL has not confirmed the use of a helicopter Wednesday night in Evansdale. However, law enforcement agencies around the country often use helicopters, or other aircraft, equipped with FLIR thermal imaging technology. FLIR airborne thermal imaging systems have been around for more than 25 years. FLIR stands for Forward Looking Infrared Technology.
This technology lets investigators see in total darkness and in most kinds of weather conditions, including fog, smoke and haze.
By using wavelengths longer than those used by a conventional night-vision camera, FLIR creates an image using infrared energy. The technology senses infrared radiation. The use of long wave infrared allows detection of heat, including body heat. Most of these highly advanced systems also use digital imaging processing to greatly improve image quality.
Investigators say information from the public is vital. That's one reason why the Missing Girls Tip line phone number remains in service at 319-232-6682.
You can also contact law enforcement investigators at a new email address, set up by the Iowa Department of Public Safety specifically to help find Lyric and Elizabeth. That email address is: OurMissingIowaGirls@dps.state.ia.us
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