Hundreds mourn Elizabeth Collins at public funeral

Collins was buried Saturday, more than nine months after she went missing from Evansdale

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WATERLOO — It’s a hard road and the way forward is uncertain, but Saturday’s burial of Elizabeth Collins showed support for her family has not faded.

Nearly 200 people attended the burial of Elizabeth, more than nine months after she went missing from Evansdale.

“What we are going through today, we’re not sure how it goes. We try, we keep going, we hope, we persevere, we walk on,” Pastor Chris Reeves said at Waterloo Memorial Park Cemetery.

It wasn’t a day that will end anything for Elizabeth’s parents, Drew and Heather Collins. It’s another event they no longer have to plan, but it’s just one more step in their path.

Heather Collins said the burial is a more crucial step for Elizabeth’s siblings Kelly, Amber and Callie.

“I think this is important for them, this is more for closure for them. For us, I don’t think there will be closure until the person is found, really,” Heather said after the service.

Elizabeth Collins and her cousin, Lyric Cook-Morrissey, disappeared from Evansdale last July, leading to a national manhunt. Their bodies were found in December.

Authorities have made no arrests and continue to investigate the case.

Following the 20-minute ceremony, Heather and Drew Collins greeted every person who lined up to give their condolences. Drew took a moment with Elizabeth’s close friend, Gabrielle Engel, placing their hands on the casket.

Reeves, a longtime friend of the Collins family, spoke of the joy she spread, how she loved to sing and how he still pictures the tilt of her head.

“There’s a sense of finality in a funeral. It’s also a beginning. Now this door is closed, but a new door is open. How do I walk this out? We have to face a new day. The memories are going to be there,” Reeves said.

Drew and Heather Collins have been active in seeking justice for their daughter and doing what they can to prevent future tragedies.

“For us, we’re just going to continue to make things better for children and other families. We’re going to work on the Amber Alert to change that in Iowa,” Heather said. “We’re just trying to make things better for other people.”

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