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Iowa cousins missing: Hunters find bodies of Lyric Cook-Morrissey and Elizabeth Collins
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- Investigators have held on to hope that Lyric Cook, 10, and Elizabeth Collins, 8, were alive
- Grainy video showed the girls riding by on their bicycles on the day that they vanished in Evansdale, Iowa
- Young cousins were last seen on July 13
By Daily Mail Reporter and Associated Press
PUBLISHED: 18:11 EST, 5 December 2012 | UPDATED: 19:44 EST, 5 December 2012
Authorities say hunters made a heartbreaking discovery after finding the bodies of two young Iowa cousins who disappeared while riding their bikes in July.
Black Hawk County sheriff's Capt Rick Abben said during a news conference that the bodies were found on Wednesday afternoon in a wooded area, but he would not give a specific location.
Abben says both are being sent to the state medical examiner's office to verify they are the bodies of 11-year-old Lyric Cook and 9-year-old Elizabeth Collins.
Grim discovery: The bodies of Elizabeth
Collins, 8, left, and Lyric Cook-Morrissey, 10, right, were found by hunters on Wednesday
Like sisters: The girls, pictured in 2009, would often spend the day together when Lyric's mother was at work and were very close
The two girls vanished July 13 near Meyers Lake in Evansdale, about 110 miles northeast of Des Moines.
Their bikes were found near the lake, as well as a purse - hours after they were reported missing in Evansdale, a northeast Iowa town of about 4,700.
Abben appeared to be fighting back tears as he said, 'the outcome was not the one we wanted.'
Abben says the area where the bodies were found is still being processed.
'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.
Missing: The two young cousins have been missing since Friday, July 13 after going for a bike ride together
Grandmother: Wylma Cook, pictured, was believed to be the last person o see the girls before they vanished
The girls were last seen leaving from their grandmother's house on their bikes.
The grandmother, Wylma Cook, has said Lyric knew not to go far because the girls planned to leave for the home they shared in nearby Waterloo with Lyric's mother, Misty Morrissey, by 1:30pm.
She said that she expected the girls to return for lunch or a drink of water or juice as they always did when they were playing in the heat.
'That's what's just so strange about all of it,' she said.
Mrs Cook said she got nervous when they weren't back by 12:30pm and started driving around town looking for them.
Gone too soon: The girls were found dead five months after they were last seen
After an hour of searching, she returned to the home. Mrs Cook said that Misty Cook-Morrissey stopped by after getting off work.
'Misty said, "Mom, you go home and I'll just wait for Lyric and bring her home," Cook recalled.
Mrs Cook said she drove to her home but was soon told by Elizabeth's father the girls hadn't surfaced. A firefighter found the bikes two hours later, and the manhunt began.
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.
On the hunt: A special 10-member FBI dive team used sonar equipment on a boat for hours as they searched the 26-acre lake
Investigation: Crime scene tape ropes off a section of Meyers Lake as authorities scoured the water for clues in the girls' disappearance
Estranged: Lyric's parents, Misty and Dan Morrissey, both have checkered criminal pasts - and were investigated as persons of interest in the disappearance of the girls
Abben said additional details would be released at a news briefing on Thursday.
Lyric's father Dan Morrissey was investigated as a person of interest shortly after the girls disappeared because of his ties to the local methamphetamine trade.
But authorities have said he is not considered a suspect is the girls' disappearance.
A surveillance camera on an auction barn shows Lyric and Elizabeth riding their bicycles away from Meyers Lake in Evansdale, Iowa, shortly after they left home on July 13.
After examining the fleeting footage of the girls racing through a corner of the screen, police concluded that they must have been kidnapped.
Last glimpse: This video shows Lyric Cook-Morrissey and Elizabeth Collins riding by on the day that they were reported missing
Mystery: In the video, the girls are riding away from the lake where their bikes were later found