A solemn candlelight prayer vigil Thursday evening for missing Evansdale cousins Lyric Cook and Elizabeth Collins lent support to the girls' family members.
The event happened outside on the Loras College campus as part of the school's Stop the Hate Week, during which events aim to promote peace and diversity. As part of that, the vigil also supported anybody who has suffered violence or bullying.
The cousins' family members from Dubuque and the Cedar Valley showed up for the vigil, including Elizabeth's parents Drew and Heather Collins, the girls' grandma Wilma Cook, plus Dubuque family members.
The girls' great aunt Terri Wainwright helped organize the vigil for the girls. Thursday evening during the event, she introduced Heather Collins to read a letter Collins had written, which was previously published in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier. The letter begs the girls' abductor to bring them home.
"Unless you've gone through it or have been through something like it, you don't really-- you can't explain it, it's just like a empty feeling in your stomach, in your heart, just-- they're gone. It's a very empty feeling, hopeless feeling," Drew Collins said.
"To bring the message to the people of Dubuque and to be able to have a candlelight vigil and prayer vigil and prayer service was just really -- it felt really good," Wainwright said.
Loras students in a management class created and sold wristbands and bumper stickers for the girls, and family members distributed fliers, asking out-of-state students and others to distribute them when they go to their respective homes for the holidays.
The vigil marked 140 days of the girls having gone missing.
The Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers are taking donations for a new reward fund for the missing girls.
Donations are being accepted at:
Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers
c/o Elizabeth and Lyric Fund
P.O. Box 1510
Waterloo, IA 50704.
People can also drop off donations at the Evansdale, Waterloo and Cedar Falls Police Departments and the Black Hawk Co. Sheriff's Office.
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