The bodies of two young Iowa girls who went missing in July and sent their small town into a panic have been found in the woods, investigators say.
Details have not been released, but the bodies have been identified by the families. Police say they don't want to release information about the area or the condition the remains were found in due to a need to preserve evidence.
"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," Captain Rick Abben said.
9-year old Elizabeth Collins and 11-year old Lyric Cook, who were cousins, disappeared on July 13th near a lake in Evansdale. Their bikes and a purse was discovered during the search for the girls, but no other evidence was found until Wednesday, when two hunters stumbled upon a grisly discovery. Police say the chances of finding the remains of missing persons are greater during hunting season, when there is more foot traffic through heavily wooded areas.
While the news is a heavy weight on the shoulders of the girls' families, they say it is something of a relief to have a bit of closure.
“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, Elizabeth's mother, said in a Facebook post. “Lord we know that you have them in your loving arms and we are so blessed for that."
For now, investigators are left to piece together what happened that day. Anyone with any information is encouraged to call (319) 232-6682 or e-mail to OURMISSINGIOWAGIRLS@dps.state.ia.us.