Elizabeth Collins, Lyric Cook-Morrissey: Relatives fear missing Iowa cousins were abducted
(CBS/AP) EVANSDALE, Iowa - Family members of Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook-Morrissey, who went missing in northeastern Iowa, are beginning to wonder whether the cousins were abducted, after days of investigations appeared to produce no significant leads.
Elizabeth, 8, and Lyric, 10, were last seen Friday at their grandmother's house in Evansdale, a suburb of Waterloo. Their bicycles and Elizabeth's purse were found later that day at nearby Meyers Lake and FBI dogs detected the girls' scent in the area.
On Monday, authorities began draining the lake, a task that FBI spokeswoman Sandy Breault said could take up to three days.
Breault also said the reaction from the dogs indicated a "strong possibility" the girls had been at the lake but that because there were no confirmed sightings there, authorities couldn't be certain.
Chief Deputy Rick Abben of the Black Hawk County Sheriff's Office said the case was still considered a missing persons investigation and that they were draining the lake to rule out the possibility the girls were in the water.
Lyric's parents said they didn't think the girls had drowned, noting their swimming abilities and the fact that no shoes were recovered on the bank of the lake. Relatives suspect an abduction.
"I don't think that they're in the lake, not at all, but it is just like a dead end as far as we know so far," said Dan Morrissey, Lyric's father.
"The area where the bikes were found is fenced on both sides, and it is right where maintenance gate is. It is a spot that looks to me like a trap," Morrissey said. "Somebody could have just come along right then or followed them down. It would have been the worst spot to be in."
Tammy Brousseau, 48, an aunt to both girls, agreed that the girls may have been abducted. She said just last week she taught Lyric how to "save someone if they went limp in the water" and that she also taught both girls how to "drop to the ground and fight" if someone tried to snatch them.
A massive sweep of the area that drew hundreds of volunteers over the weekend failed to find any evidence. Authorities dredged the lake and interviewed family, friends and registered sex offenders who live in the area. At least 30 FBI investigators joined the search.
More on Crimesider
July 16, 2012 - Search resumes for missing cousins, Iowa police say
July 16, 2012 - Authorities "grasping for straws" in missing Iowa girls case, sheriff deputy says
July 17, 2012 - Authorities begin draining Meyers Lake in search for missing Iowa girls
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