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Missing girls

At Seven Bridges County Park near Readlyn, mourners have attached two angles called Lyric and Elizabeth to trees. It is there on Dec. 5, 2012, the bodies of Lyric Cook-Morrissey and Elizabeth Collins were found after their disappearance on July 13, 2012.

When a child is abducted, she is likely to be just over 11 years of age, leading a “normal life” in a low-risk community.

The abductor, who is typically around 27, is likely a man with a record of prior arrests. He may or may not know the victim, and his motivation primarily is sexual assault. In a frequent scenario, the abduction happens within a quarter of a mile of the victim’s home, and within three hours, she is dead, according to a study by the Washington State Attorney General’s Office.

About 100 area residents, who packed Shell Rock United Methodist Church on Wednesday night, were stunned and outraged to hear these chilling facts presented by Terry Klooster, the retired DCI child abduction coordinator, who now trains law enforcement on how to respond to calls of missing children, and Brice Lippert, a Waterloo Police Department homicide investigator, who is championing the cause of abduction prevention through the recently formed Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers.  

“Working a child abduction case is very different than working a murder case,” Lippert said. “When you have a missing child, it takes about two hours for it to be reported. By that time, it may be too late.”

The study’s key findings rattled off by the law enforcement officers were dramatic enough to rivet the attention of parents, grandparents and kids in the audience.

But what made them hauntingly real was the presence of the other two speakers — Heather and Drew Collins, the parents of Elizabeth Collins, 8, who was abducted on July 13, 2012, along with her cousin, Lyric Cook-Morrissey, 10.