(CBS/AP) EVANSDALE, Iowa - Five months after cousins Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook vanished while riding their bikes, residents of the northeast Iowa community where they were last seen are anxiously waiting to hear whether two bodies found by hunters are those of the missing girls.
Bremer County Sheriff Dewey Hildebrandt said Thursday the bodies were found in Seven Bridges Wildlife Area, a park along the Wapsipinicon River that is popular for hunting and fishing. Hildebrandt says investigators from his office, the FBI, Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and other agencies are processing the crime scene.
Family members asked for privacy after being told that the bodies were discovered Wednesday in the wooded area, Black Hawk County sheriff's Capt. Rick Abben said.
Abben said the bodies were being sent to the state medical examiner's office for identification.
"It's definitely not the outcome that we wanted, obviously," Abben said at a news conference in Evansdale, where the girls had been staying with their grandmother when they disappeared.
Elizabeth was 8-years-old and Lyric was 10 when they disappeared July 13 near a popular recreational lake in Evansdale, about 110 miles northeast of Des Moines. Investigators found their bicycles and a pink purse near the lake hours later, but no sign of the girl.
On Wednesday night, about 70 people attended a prayer vigil at the lake. Some were holding out hope that the bodies weren't those of the missing cousins, though others seemed resigned to accept tragic news.
"I don't want to think the worst, but two bodies. It's just really heartbreaking," said Amanda Mulzac, who lives in nearby Waterloo and was among hundreds of volunteers who helped in the initial search. "At their age I was out by myself, but now it's different. Hold your babies close."
Barb Collins, a machinist who grew up in Evansdale and helped lead the group in prayer, said the community was grieving.
"These were just innocent children. These girls should have been left alone. They should be home safe in their beds, and it's only a coward who would have done something like this," she said after the vigil.