Authorities searching for two missing Iowa cousins have information that leads them to believe both girls are still alive, an FBI spokeswoman said Saturday.
FBI spokeswoman Sandy Breault said authorities "feel strongly" that 10-year-old Lyric Cook-Morrissey and 8-year-old Elizabeth Collins have not been killed. She refused to say what led authorities to that conclusion, but urged anyone with information about their disappearance to contact law enforcement.
"We believe these girls are alive, and we are not discouraged by the passage of time since their disappearance," Breault said. "We are urging anyone with information to come forward. Any information, as insignificant as it may seem, could be vital to this investigation."
Messages of love and encouragement, as well as flowers, balloons, stuffed animals and candles are left at Meyers Lake, Saturday, in Evansdale, in honor of Lyric Cook-Morrissey, 10, of Waterloo, and Elizabeth Collins, 8, of Evansdale, who have been missing for over a week.
The announcement came a day after authorities finished searching Meyers Lake in the northeast Iowa town of Evansdale, which is near a path where the girls' bikes were found. The girls vanished July 13.
They now say they believe the girls were abducted, but that searching and draining part of lake was part of a thorough investigation.
"We have to cover everything," Breault told The Associated Press after Saturday's news conference. "If there's even a chance (the girls were in the lake), we have to make sure."
The lake is close to Interstate 380, just outside of Waterloo, which is about 120 miles northeast of Des Moines.
Breault said investigators are interviewing multiple "persons of interest" in the case, whom she declined to identify. She said authorities are still receiving tips on the case, mostly from within the area.