Missing Iowa girls' families struggle with worry, fear

Uncertainty can be unbearable, missing child experts say

Makenzie Curl, 9, left, and Faith Sailor, 10, right, both of Waterloo, select flowers to toss into the water during a ca
Makenzie Curl, 9, left, and Faith Sailor, 10, right, both of Waterloo, select flowers to toss into the water during a candlelight vigil held for missing cousins Elizabeth Collins, 8, of Evansdale and Lyric Cook-Morrissey, 10, of Waterloo, at Meyers Lake in Evansdale, Iowa on Friday, July 27, 2012. (AP Photo/Waterloo Courier, Dawn J. Sagert)

The parents of two young Iowa cousins who went missing more than two weeks ago say it's a struggle not knowing what happened to the girls and whether they're safe, as the search for them presses on.

The Des Moines Register reports that life is far from normal for the families of 8-year-old Elizabeth Collins and 10-year-old Lyric Cook. The girls were last seen taking a bike ride in Evansdale on July 13.

Dan Morrissey, father of Lyric Cook, says he struggles with the unknowns.

"You wonder what she's doing, where she's sleeping at night," he said.

Marsha Gilmer-Tullis, with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, said the uncertainty about what happened to a missing child can be unbearable for families. Only about 100 of the 800,000 U.S. children reported missing each year are not found quickly.

"To have a missing child or missing children is really a parent's greatest nightmare," Gilmer-Tullis said.

Authorities consider the disappearance of the two girls an abduction, and FBI officials said earlier this month they were confident the girls were still alive.

Investigators drained most of Meyers Lake because it was close to where the girls' bikes were found and used sonar equipment to rule out the possibility their bodies might be in the lake.

Misty Cook-Morrissey said night is the hardest time because there's time to think after all the visitors have departed.

Elizabeth Collins' mother, Heather Collins, said she sits up at night hoping a police car will drive up with her daughter.

Heather Collins has a pacemaker that needs a follow-up procedure, but doctors don't want to do the operation while she's under so much stress.

"I've just asked God for extra strength to keep my heart healthy now and forever," she said.

Drew Collins went to work Thursday at his Planetary Tree Service business. But he said that reminded him of the times when his missing daughter would visit him at work."You kind of feel guilty for going to work, for doing those things," he said.

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