(EVANSDALE, Iowa) — The two bodies found by hunters in Iowa last week are those of missing cousins Lyric Cook and Elizabeth Collins, the state’s medical examiner’s office confirmed Monday.
The Evansdale Police Department has notified the girls’ families, according to a release by the Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Office. The confirmation was expected after comments last week by the police and Elizabeth’s family.
After the bodies were found by hunters in the Seven Bridges Wildlife Area in the northeastern part of the state, authorities said Wednesday they were “confident” that they had found the remains of Lyric, 11, and Elizabeth, 9.
The two girls went missing on a mid-day bike ride in July. Late Wednesday, Elizabeth’s mother Heather Collins said in a statement posted on her Facebook page that the family was aware that there were two possible outcomes and “unfortunately this is not the one that we wanted.”
The sad news comes nearly five months after the girls’ disappearance.
The two were last seen on a bike ride in the small town of Evansdale just after noon on July 13. While their bicycles and a purse were found that day by Meyers Lake, near the center of town, the search for the girls dragged on and on with no result. In the following week, authorities drained the lake and canvassed the area, but to no avail.
The Seven Bridges Wildlife Area where the bodies were found is about 25 miles from Evansdale.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Max Blau and Chandrika Narayan, CNN
Rebecca Clyde, KSL.com
Madeleine Stix, CNN