EVANSDALE, Iowa – Hunters found two bodies Wednesday believed to be those of young Iowa cousins who vanished five months ago while riding their bikes near a lake, authorities said.
The families of 11-year-old Lyric Cook and 9-year-old Elizabeth Collins have been notified of the discovery, said Capt. Rick Abben of the Black Hawk County Sheriff's Office. Abben wouldn't say where the bodies were found.
Appearing to fight back tears as he broke the news in Evansdale, near where the girls disappeared in July, Abben said: "It's definitely not the outcome that we wanted, obviously."
"This is a difficult thing for us to go through. It's a difficult thing for the community," he added, recalling how officers had worked around the clock looking for the girls.
The girls' families have asked the media to respect their privacy, and they offered no immediate comment.
The bodies are being sent to the state medical examiner's office to confirm their identities, and the area where they were found around 12:45 p.m. is still being searched, Abben said.
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, traipsing through cornfields and wooded areas. The mayor even flew above in his private plane looking for them.
Abben said additional details would be released at a news briefing Thursday.