Written by Michael Crowe, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
EVANSDALE (KWWL) -
A year ago this week, a family was torn apart.
Evansdale cousins Lyric and Elizabeth went missing near Meyers Lake while riding their bikes. They were later found dead. Now, Alicia Kozakiewicz will speak at their memorial.
"I'm here to give a message of hope," she said. "While a terrible tragedy happened here and we lost Elizabeth and Lyric, I'm here to say it doesn't always have to end like that.
11 years ago, Kozakiewicz was kidnapped by a 38-year-old man, who locked her in a house and sexually assaulted her. She was finally freed in an FBI raid after her captor broadcast live images of him abusing her over the Internet.
Since her abduction, she has founded the Alicia Project, an advocacy group for missing and exploited children.
"What drives me is saving another child," Kozakiewicz said. "To keep them from going through the horror I have gone through, the horror and the pain that my family has gone through."
And as the investigation continues one year later, still no suspects have been identified in the Evansdale case -- leaving their families to look for answers.
"Having more concrete evidence would be great," said Heather Collins, mother of the abducted Elizabeth. "Of course, having a person would be even better."
"People need to know that they can do something, and they must – they must speak up if they have answers about Elizabeth and Lyric, or answers about another case," Kozakiewicz said. They need to not be afraid and they need to come forward."
Though it can be overwhelming, she said it's important to keep tragedies like this fresh in the community's mind.
"Kids go missing every single day," Kozakiewicz said. "We can't focus on every one yet – we should. Because to that family, that child is their entire world."
Lyric and Elizabeth's memorial is a ride and drive event, starting at Lofty's Lounge in Evansdale. It's slated to begin around 8 a.m. Saturday, with Kozakiewicz speaking around 9:30.
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