"Right now, everyone's terrified there's a person out there in our community that can do something like this, says Drew Collins, father of murdered 8-year old, Elizabeth Collins.
Speaking on camera for the first time since learning of their daughter's murder, Heather and Drew Collins told KWWL Wednesday they feel a strong need to make sure there is an arrest of the person or persons responsible for the kidnapping and murders of Elizabeth and Lyric Cook.
He adds, "I just think, until we do have that person, or those people are caught, I don't think our community can start the healing process."
Drew and Heather Collins spoke to KWWL Wednesday for the first time since hunters discovered two bodies in Bremer County, almost 5 months after an exhaustive search for the girls began on July 13.
Investigators have not told the parents how the girls died and the Collin's say they don't want to know. They say they will forgive the killer.
Drew says, "We don't want to live with hate in our lives. I think when you are forgiving, it frees you from carrying that around, cause it's pretty ugly inside of you, and when you release that and say, they're forgiven, it's more for your sanity than for them."
Heather has relied on her faith to endure the agonizing pain of losing her 8-year old daughter and 10-year old niece. She admits it's very difficult at times, but says, "I just pray for God to just come and give us strength, to give us peace and just to pour the Holy Spirit on our bodies and thicken our bodies with it."
Heather and Drew says they have not been told of any possible motive in the girls' kidnappings and murders, but Drew suspects the killer is a sex offender. He says, "I would bet everything I own that whoever did this is a previous offender."
The family has not touched Elizabeth's room at home. It is exactly the way it was the day she disappeared. That certainly creates an heartbreaking situation, especially at Christmas time, says Heather. "It's hard. Her room is at the top of our stairs, and we just go by it and you don't hear that little voice coming out of there, There's no joy coming out of that room as there always way. the door is closed."
To this day, Drew says he has not been able to go into Elizabeth's room, adding, "It's just too hard. It's just empty to me. I'm sure someday I'll be able to, but I can't right now."
A Love and Life celebration for Elizabeth will be held at Heartland Vineyard Church on Greenhill Road in Cedar Falls Thursday night, beginning at 5 pm. The public is invited to share stories of Elizabeth's life and take part in worship. As Heather recalls, "Elizabeth loved worship."
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