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Hundreds join search for missing Iowa girls (+video)

More than 350 volunteers helped search the area around Meyers Lake in Evansdale on Sunday for Elizabeth Collins and her cousin, Lyric Cook-Morrissey. The cousins were last seen shortly after noon Friday.

By Associated Press / July 16, 2012

Volunteers continue to search in rural Gilbertville, Iowa, for Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook-Morrissey, on Sunday, July 15, after the children went missing Friday.

Dawn J. Sagert/Waterloo Courier/AP

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EVANSDALE, Iowa

The hunt for a pair of cousins, aged 8 and 10, is resuming Monday three days after the missing girls' bicycles were found near a lake in northeast Iowa.

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More than 350 volunteers joined the search for two missing Iowa girls on Sunday. The two cousins, 8-year-old Elizabeth Collins and 10-year-old Lyric Cook-Morrissey were reported missing on Friday.

More than 350 volunteers helped search the area around Meyers Lake in Evansdale on Sunday for 8-year-old Elizabeth Collins and her 10-year-old cousin, Lyric Cook-Morrissey. The cousins were last seen shortly after noon Friday.

Dispatchers for the Evansdale police and Black Hawk County Sheriff's Office said crews would renew efforts to find the girls on Monday. Authorities have been dredging the lake and interviewing family, friends and registered sex offenders who live in the area.

The mothers of both girls said they were trying to stay strong.

"Today I'm feeling pretty good," Misty Cook-Morrissey said Sunday. "Sometimes, when you think about it, you wonder if they're dead somewhere, but you try to push those thoughts out of your mind."

Cook-Morrissey said she was grateful for the community support in Evansdale, a Waterloo suburb in northeastIowa.

"It's been good talking to people," she said. "It keeps your mind off of what's happening."

Black Hawk County Sheriff's deputy Rick Abben said officials were "grasping for straws."

Cook-Morrissey said her daughter might have tried to swim at the lake, despite a swimming ban. She said the family swims at another nearby lake regularly, and described Lyric as a good swimmer.

Elizabeth's mother, Heather Collins, said it's rare for her daughter to venture too far from home, but she may have been persuaded by her older cousin.

"We've talked about that before," Collins said "We've told them they're too young to go far."

Misty Cook-Morrissey and Heather Collins are sisters.

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