UPDATE: Meyers Lake being drained in search for missing girls - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: Meyers Lake being drained in search for missing Iowa girls

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(left) Elizabeth Collins & (right) Lyric Cook (left) Elizabeth Collins & (right) Lyric Cook
EVANSDALE (KWWL) -

Authorities have started draining Meyers Lake near Evansdale, in the search for two girls missing since Friday.

Black Hawk County Chief Deputy, Rick Abben, says draining of Meyers Lake could take two days to three days.

8-year-old Elizabeth Collins and 10-year-old Lyric Cook were last seen Friday afternoon by their grandmother around 12:15. Authorities are manning a tipline in the case 24 hours a day at 319-232-6682. 

In addition to draining the Lake, the investigation goes on 24/7, said Abben.

The FBI has been going door to door interviewing Evansdale residents. Authorities have also been stopping vehicles at Evansdale street intersection in the search for the missing cousins. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is also involved in the search.

At a press conference Monday, authorities said they had no new leads. Rick Abben told reporters, "We want these girls back."

The girls' bicycles and Elizabeth's purse were found on a trail near Meyers Lake. There are reports a cell phone was found in the purse.

Sunday, authorities expanded the search area to try and find the two girls. They have been missing since going on a bike ride Friday afternoon.

Nine hundred volunteers searched the streets, bike trails, and corn fields in and around Evansdale for any sign of the girls Sunday.  Waterloo search and rescue was even called back to look through the Cedar River.  Meyers Lake in Evansdale has been completely dragged, and officials say they're confident the pair is not in the lake.             

"We've got a few leads that have come in, but nothing is panning out," said Richard Abben with the Black Hawk County Sheriff's Office.

The search now extends well beyond the lake.  Police have been going door-to-door asking if anyone's seen the girls, or anything suspicious in the area.

Volunteers have also combed nearby corn fields.  Altogether, just more than half of Evansdale has been searched.  Cody Brunning is among the hundreds who have volunteered all weekend.  They've been battling the heat, with lots of ice and water going out to help.

"You know if it was my kid, I'd want everybody out looking.  So it's good.  There's a lot of people.  I couldn't believe it," Brunning said.

But so far, searchers have come up empty.

"It's like they vanished...just nothing," Abben said.

Still, family hangs on to hope that they will be found:  alive and safe.

"We just feel that God has really strengthened us, you know, and not left us in a discouraged state.  So we're extremely hopeful," said Misty Morrissey, Lyric's mother.

So many volunteers gathered to help, some waited long periods of time to get assigned.  But families of the missing girls say it's a good problem to have.  The more eyes out looking, the better chance they will be found.

"It's not easy.  It's hot and wet.  There's ticks and mosquitoes and limbs, brush and mud.  It's difficult, and there's some real difficult terrain out there.  So I really appreciate it, and I know that my sister and her husband appreciate it too.  God will provide as much help is as needed," said Morrissey.

$ 15,000 in reward money has been donated for information related to locating the girls.

Anyone who was on the bike trail Friday afternoon and may have seen something, is strongly encouraged to contact the Evansdale Police Department.  Again, the tipline number is 319-232-6682.

Police still say there is no reason to suspect foul play in the case.  That means an Amber Alert cannot be issued for the girls because there is no evidence to suggest they were abducted and there are no suspects.  The girls have been listed on the national missing persons registry.

Collins is a student at Poyner Elementary. Cook is a student at Kingsley Elementary in Waterloo.

Police have questioned the girls' family members, friends, relatives, and known registered sex offenders in the area.  Interstate 380 construction workers staying nearby have also been questioned.  But so far, that's all come up empty.

Family has not given an accurate clothing description for what the girls were last seen wearing.  Multiple tipsters have called in sightings of clothing in the area, but so far none of those items have even been the right size.

Donations for the families are being accepted at two area Banks. First Security State Bank and Farmers State Bank.

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