Hunters in Evansdale, Iowa reportedly found two bodies believed to be those of Elizabeth Collins, 9, and Lyric Cook, 11, yesterday. Police had been searching for the girls since they vanished five months ago and have notified both families of the discovery.
Captain Rick Abben told the Associated Press that hunters found the two bodies in the woods but would not give specific details; he confirmed that they had been sent to the medical examiner for further identification and confirmation. Both families of the girls have been told of the discovery but have also asked for privacy during this time.
"It's definitely not the outcome that we wanted, obviously," Abben said in a news conference. "This is a difficult thing for us to go through. It's a difficult thing for the community."
Collins and Cook vanished in July while riding their bicycles, which were later found. Police conducted a thorough investigation of the area and brought in an FBI dive team to dredge the lake where the girls were last seen. Unfortunately, they were unable to find any clues and police then classified the case as an official abduction.
Authorities never released any theories they had about what had happened to the girls but looked into Cook's family for leads. Her father is currently being prosecuted for domestic assault and drug charges but has adamantly denied any wrongdoing with his daughter.
Most recently, an FBI spokeswoman commented that there was reason to believe the girls were still alive, which provided hope to the families, community, and nation watching the case. Yet yesterday's discovery left the community in mourning and shock.
"In the beginning, I helped search, and I've been to many other vigils they had. The community is so involved. My heart breaks. It's just devastating," Amanda Mulzac told the AP at a vigil held last night. "At their age I was out by myself, but now it's different. Hold your babies close."