Community holds vigil and mourns murder of Evansdale cousins - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Community holds vigil and mourns murder of Evansdale cousins

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EVANSDALE (KWWL) -

A community came together Wednesday night to hold a prayer vigil and mourn the loss of two young Evansdale girls.

According to police, hunters found two bodies in a wooded area at around 12:45 p.m. on Wednesday.

In a press conference, police would not confirm the bodies were those of Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook. However, Chief Deputy Rick Abben with the Black Hawk County Sheriff's Office said the families of the two missing cousins had been notified.

Dozens of people gathered at Meyers Lake in Evansdale, the same area where the two girls went missing during a bicycle ride in July.

At the vigil, people prayed for Elizabeth and Lyric's families, for the hunters who found the bodies earlier in the day and for the entire community to begin healing.

"Bestow upon all of us the strength and temperance to forgive these people who have done this," said one woman who led the group in prayer.

"It's heartbreaking," said Amanda Smith of Evansdale, who said it was important to pray for the hunters who found their bodies as well.

Smith has four young daughters and lives close to Meyers Lake.

"It really hits home that it happened so close and I just pray for their families," she said.

Shaun Simonich, also of Evansdale, said he hopes justice is served.

"They were innocent kids riding their bikes," Simonich said. "To hurt a kid -- that's unreal. You can't do that."

Many people praying for peace and closure said they found comfort in knowing they are a step closer to finding answers.

"I hope for closure, for peace," said Kenny Bachen of Evansdale who attended Wednesday night's vigil. "I hope for comfort for their families."

Bachen said if there is anything good to come out of this situation, it is the unity of his community, one he has lived in all his life.

"I've never seen a community pull together like this," he said. "The love and support and community coming together -- I think that's an awesome thing."

Grief counselors are available Thursday at both Kingsley Elementary and Poyner Elementary schools, where the girls attended. The counselors are on hand for any students in the district requesting help.

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Another vigil:

There will be a prayer vigil at the Sumner Fredericksburg High School in Sumner at 7 p.m. Thursday in honor of Elizabeth and Lyric.

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