Observers at Evansdale lake 'somber' as search for missing girls continues

'We all feel the need to be a part of something bigger'

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"Somber" is the word John Johnson of Waverly used to describe the atmosphere surrounding Meyers Lake on Thursday, as the search for Elizabeth Collins, 8, and Lyric Cook, 10, pushed into yet another day.

Whether it be to pass on prayers or show their support, members of the surrounding communities continue to gather on the shores of Meyers Lake, desperate for any kind of news.

"I think we all feel the need to be a part of something bigger than ourselves," Johnson said. "And that's what this is, and is why we are all here today."

The mood by the lake may be somber, but as the one week mark of the girls' disappearance nears, supporters still aren't giving up hope.

Sharon Hillstrom, of Evansdale, said most of those visiting the lake are there for a similar reason.

"We all feel so helpless," Hillstrom said. "But I think people still hold hope, and that's what brings them here, to continue to pray for those two little girls and that they come home safely."

The girls went missing Friday, July 13 after being seen on their bicycles about noon. Their bicycles and a purse belonging to Elizabeth were found along the bike trail at Meyers Lake. A massive search has turned up no clues as to their whereabouts.

Pink ribbons, stuffed animals, and notes from friends and classmates are scattered along the northern shore of Meyers Lake, each acting as beacons of hope for the two missing Evansdale girls.

Pam Langhoff, of Mason City, took a day off of work to visit the lakeside and offer support on behalf of the Mason City community.

"Your heart just breaks for these families, and I want so badly to do something, but there is almost nothing," Langhoff said. "I just have this pit in my chest right now, and all I can do is show my support by being here."

Investigators halted the drainage of Meyers Lake on Thursday morning as FBI divers prepare to search the remainder of the water.

"I have chills just standing here," said Langhoff.

An update on the ongoing investigation will be made during the daily press conference today at 4 p.m.

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