Skip to main content

FBI dive team to search for missing Iowa girls

By the CNN Wire Staff
July 20, 2012 -- Updated 0031 GMT (0831 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Police search mom's home and confiscate computers with her consent
  • NEW: Dad walks out of polygraph session, says police accuse him of hurting girls
  • Drainage halted ahead of divers, sonar scan
  • Mothers say the girls don't go to Meyers Lake

Evansdale, Iowa (CNN) -- Authorities stopped draining a lake here on Thursday as authorities awaited FBI divers and sonar probes to help find two young cousins missing for nearly a week.

About half the water in 25-acre Meyers Lake had been pumped out by Thursday afternoon, three days after drainage operations began, city officials said. An FBI dive team was en route to Evansdale and would employ two types of sonar in the search, bureau spokeswoman Sandy Breault said.

Lyric Cook, 10, and her 8-year-old cousin Elizabeth Collins were last seen by their grandmother on Friday when they left on a bike ride. The girls' bicycles and a purse were found near Meyers Lake hours after they were reported missing.

Mom: Someone must have scared them badly

Scent dogs following the girls' trail led searchers around the lake and stopped at the water's edge, Lyric's mother, Misty Cook-Morrissey, said.

Meanwhile, authorities have searched the home of Cook-Morrissey and Wylma Cook, who is a grandmother to both girls, with the women's consent, they told CNN. The two women said they also provided investigators with a key to get into the attic.

Investigators confiscated Cook-Morrisey's computers with her consent, Cook-Morrisey told CNN.

Also, Daniel Morrisey, Lyric's father, told CNN that he walked out of a police polygraph session this week because investigators accused him of hurting the girls and knowing where they are.

Grandma: Family didn't do it
Dogs hit on missing girls' scent
Dad: Not first time kid has gone missing

Officials began draining the lake on Monday. The side-scanning and 360-degree sonar being brought in by the FBI needs at least 6 feet of water to function, Breault said.

Divers were expected to arrive Thursday but will probably wait until Friday to go into the water, she said. But Cook-Morrissey said Wednesday that she thinks it's unlikely the girls will be found there, suggesting they might have been kidnapped.

"They don't swim there. My daughter is familiar with swimming in lakes, so I don't think she would be scared of this lake, but they don't come here and swim here," she said. "Because we haven't found them anywhere in the surrounding area, I feel like maybe they were taken."

And Lyric's grandmother, Wylma Cook, said she doesn't believe that the girls intended to go swimming.

"I don't think they would have even known the way to Meyers Lake," she told HLN's Nancy Grace on Tuesday.

Cook-Morrissey said she'd be "more comfortable" with the theory that the girls might have been abducted "once they drain the lake and we find nothing there."

"If you've taken our kids," she said on national TV, "bring them back."

Missing girl's grandma: 'We will fight'

Authorities said Tuesday that they didn't know whether the girls had been at the lake.

"We have their bicycles, and we have the purse, and that doesn't tell me that they've been there, just that those items are there," Chief Deputy Rick Abben of the Black Hawk County Sheriff's Office said.

The family has been questioned and polygraphed and had information taken from their cell phones, a process Cook-Morrissey said is hard but necessary.

"We know that it's a necessary measure they have to take to get as much information as they can and of course rule us out, so we did what we have to do," she said.

Mom: Dogs searching for Iowa girls stopped at edge of lake

Questioning has taken Cook-Morrissey and other family members away from the lake, which is hard, she said.

"Not that being out here might make a difference, but in your heart you want to be close to where they were last seen," she said.

When Evansdale Mayor Chad Deutsch heard that two little girls were missing in his town, he said, the first thing he did was to make sure every city asset that was needed was made available to the county sheriff.

The next thing he did was take to the air, taking off in his twin-engine plane and flew over his town, looking for any sign of Lyric and Elizabeth.

"It just makes you sick," said Deutsch, who knows both families.

Family 'bracing for the worst but hoping for the best'

In this town, neighbors know exactly how many people live there -- 4,751 -- and the small community in northeast Iowa has never suffered through anything like the worrying going on now, the mayor said.

The search remains a missing persons case, authorities said. No evidence has been found to suggest this is a crime, Deutsch said, but it is a mystery that has the whole community looking for two of their own.

"We just want our girls home," Tammy Brousseau, an aunt to both girls, told CNN's "AC360˚." "We're bracing for the worst but hoping for the best."

Calls are coming in to a tip line, Abben said, and each bit of information is being checked out. Police ask that anyone who may have seen the girls on Friday contact authorities.

Heather Collins, Elizabeth's mother, told HLN's Jane Velez-Mitchell that if the girls were abducted, she would not pass judgment. "We just want our children brought back," she said.

More from CNN Justice:

Zimmerman expresses regret in interview

Feds raid City Hall of New Jersey capital

Arizona sheriff faces civil trial in alleged targeting of Latinos

Michael Jackson's siblings attack estate executors

CNN's Jim Spellman and Tristan Smith, who are both in Iowa, and Michael Martinez contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1526 GMT (2326 HKT)
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1801 GMT (0201 HKT)
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1548 GMT (2348 HKT)
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0507 GMT (1307 HKT)
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1215 GMT (2015 HKT)
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0006 GMT (0806 HKT)
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
February 8, 2013 -- Updated 0718 GMT (1518 HKT)
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.
ADVERTISEMENT