Family Hopeful as Hundreds Search for Missing Iowa Cousins

Hundreds of volunteers have failed to turn up any clues after an intensive weekend search for two missing young Iowa girls who disappeared Friday afternoon. Authorities were to meet early Monday to decide whether to resume the search.

Lyric Cook-Morrissey, 10, of Waterloo, Iowa, and her cousin, Elizabeth Collins, 8, of Evansdale, Iowa, were last seen riding their bikes in Evansdale just after noon on Friday. The girls' bikes were found later Friday afternoon near a bike trail, the Quad-City (Iowa) Times reported.

"We've covered everything we can cover with civilian people," Marcus Norman, volunteer coordinator with Evansdale Fire Department, told the Des Moines Register.

"Law enforcement is still working on the residential areas and things of that sort," Norman told the Register.

The search for the girls has been extended to an area of 12 square miles, according to NBC News affiliate WHOTV-Des Moines.  Rescue crews went by foot, horseback and 4-wheelers along with search and rescue dogs, WHOTV said.

The search included local authorities and volunteers, with help from state and national agencies including the FBI and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Register reported.

Authorities said late Sunday that there were no indications of foul play, but they were not ruling anything out, reports said.

Lake searched

The five-acre Myers Lake was dragged on Sunday, but the search did not turn up any sign of the girls, Black Hawk Sheriff's Deputy Rick Abben told the Register.

"Searchers are confident the girls are not in Meyers Lake," the newspaper quoted Abben as saying.

A reward of $15,000 has been raised in an effort to find the girls, the Register reported.

Evansdale is located in northeastern Iowa, about 100 miles northeast of Des Moines.

'Pushing those thoughts out of your mind'

The girls' families were holding out hope, reports said.

"Sometimes when you think about it, you wonder if they're dead somewhere, but you try to push those thoughts out of your mind," Misty Cook-Morrissey, Lyric's mother, told the Register.

"It's been good talking to people. … It keeps your mind off of what's happening," the paper quoted her as saying.

Elizabeth Collins' mother, Heather Collins, told the Register that it is rare for her daughter to venture too far from home.

"We've talked about that before," Collins said, according to the paper. "We've told them they're too young to go far."

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By Erin B 07/16/2012 10:56:00