Authorities say they're "confident" bodies found in an isolated wildlife area are those of two young Iowa cousins who disappeared while riding their bikes last summer.

Black Hawk County sheriff's Capt. Rick Abben said that's based on evidence at the scene and the preliminary investigation. However, autopsies are still pending.

Earlier, the mother of one of two girls confirmed via a Facebook post that the bodies found are those of her daughter and niece, reports.

“We have been so blessed by . . . all the prayers and support tonight with the gut wrenching news that my beautiful daughter and niece’s bodies were found by hunters today,” Heather Collins said of her daughter, Elizabeth Collins, 9, and her niece, Lyric Cook-Morrissey, 11, in a late Wednesday Facebook post.

The girls disappeared the afternoon of July 13 while riding bikes in Evansdale, about 110 miles northeast of Des Moines, near a popular recreational lake in the middle of town. Investigators found their bikes and a pink purse near the lake hours later, but no sign of the girls.

Hundreds of volunteers canvassed the area in the following days, making their way through cornfields and wooded areas. The mayor flew above in his private plane looking for the girls.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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