Tuesday, January 11, 2022

The Murders of Lyric Cook-Morrissey and Elizabeth Collins

Lyric Cook-Morrissey (left) and Elizabeth Collins (right)

July 13th, 2012 began as a typical summer day for young cousins Lyric Cook-Morrissey (10) and Elizabeth Collins (8). That morning, young girls were dropped off by their respective parents at their grandmother Wylma Cook's house, located in the small town of Evansdale, Iowa. Shortly before noon, Lyric and Elizabeth decided to go for a bike ride together; something they had done several times that summer. The girls typically returned from their bike rides within the hour, but this time, they never returned. 

After 2PM, Lyric's mother Misty Cook-Morrissey arrived at Wylma's house to pick Lyric up--but the girls had still not returned from their bike ride. At that point, it had been over 2 hours since Lyric and Elizabeth had left. Their family members briefly searched the area for the two girls but were unable to find any trace of them. Police were called very shortly thereafter, and a search for Lyric and Elizabeth immediately began.

Within hours, police were able to locate witnesses who saw Lyric and Elizabeth riding their bikes in the 1000 block of Lake Avenue, which is located near Meyers Lake. This prompted investigators to search the bike trails around the lake and other surrounding areas. At approximately 4 PM, their bikes were found abandoned in the southeast corner of Meyers Lake. The bikes were leaned up against a fence and did not have any damage to them. Elizabeth's purse and cell phone were also found, but nothing else on the scene yielded any clues to their whereabouts. 

Over the next several days, larger-scale searches were launched for Lyric and Elizabeth. The FBI joined the investigation and sent a team of divers to search Meyers Lake to see if the girls had possibly fallen into the water. Meanwhile, investigators also questioned Lyric and Elizabeth's family members and a number of registered sex offenders from the area. The interviews concluded without any suspects or persons of interest being announced. 

By July 20th, 2012, investigators ruled out drowning or any other accidental cause for their disappearances. From that point forward, it was believed that Lyric and Elizabeth had been abducted. Investigators received several tips at first, but none of them panned out. As weeks turned into months without any sign of Lyric and Elizabeth, the number of tips began to decrease. Still, both investigators and family members held out hope that the girls were alive.

On December 5th, 2012, a group of hunters found two sets of human remains in a wooded area of the Seven Bridges Wildlife Park, located over 25 miles away from Evansdale. Police were called, and the area was subsequently labeled as a crime scene. Due to the small stature of the remains, it was immediately believed that they belonged to Lyric and Elizabeth. By December 10th, 2012, forensic examination confirmed that bodies found were indeed that of the missing cousins. The case then shifted to a homicide investigation. 

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Over the course of the entire investigation, many theories have emerged about what might have happened to Lyric and Elizabeth. Shortly after the girls were reported missing, it was revealed that both of Lyric's parents struggled with drug abuse. In fact, Lyric's father Dan Morrissey was facing several years in prison for felony drug charges that involved the making and manufacturing of meth. Due to this, many theorized that Lyric and Elizabeth were kidnapped and murdered by somebody associated with Dan. However, Lyric's Dan has repeatedly denied this, and investigators have not been able to link Dan's criminal past to Lyric and Elizabeth's case. 

Daniel Morrissey

In June 2013, investigators announced a possible lead in the case. Three separate witnesses had come forward claiming to have seen an older model, white, SUV-type vehicle parked near Meyers Lake on the day of Lyric and Elizabeth's abduction. Two of the witnesses told police that they saw the car parked between two bike trail signs. The other witness reportedly saw the car in a spot just a couple hundred feet from where the girl's bikes were found. All three witnesses saw the car in that area between 11:30 AM and 12:30 PM. The driver of said vehicle has never been identified, but many maintain the belief that the vehicle was involved in Lyric and Elizabeth's kidnapping.

Meyers Lake

In August 2014, a (now-defunct) website dedicated to Lyric and Elizabeth's case posted an offender profile for a potential suspect. The profile, developed by the FBI, stated the following about a potential suspect:

  • The offender is familiar with both Meyers Lake/Angels Park in Evansdale and Seven Bridges Wildlife Area in Bremer County.

  • The suspect chose Seven Bridges because he or she was familiar with the area and knew it was secluded.

  • The offender blends in with and may be part of the Evansdale, Bremer and surrounding communities.

  • The suspect likely used “quiet coercion” to gain the girls’ compliance into leaving Meyers Lake, using a ruse or threats of violence.

  • The suspect may have been experiencing stress related to legal troubles, spousal problems, employment difficulties, financial strain or mental health issues in July 2012.

  • The suspect may avoid discussing the case or showing interest in the matter but is likely following developments in the media.

  • The offender may have attempted to abduct children or adults in the past.

  • Following the disappearance, the suspect may have altered his or her physical appearance, such as changing hair style and facial hair. The offender’s vehicle may also have been altered with a new paint job or re-upholstery.


At this point, investigators also announced that they believed that whoever killed Lyric and Elizabeth acted alone--and they are only looking for one suspect. However, in 2015, it was announced that investigators still did not have any suspects or persons of interest in the case.

In February 2017, an eerily similar double murder occurred in Delphi, Indiana. Two teenage girls named Liberty German (14) and Abigail Williams (13) were reported missing after they went hiking on the Monon High Bridge in Delphi. The girls were supposed to meet Liberty's father for a ride home at 3:15 PM, but they never showed up. The following day, their bodies were found on the north bank of the Deer River, located just half a mile from the bridge. They had been murdered, but their exact causes of death have still not been revealed. 

Liberty German (left) Abigail Williams (right)

Due to the similar natures of the two cases, many theorized that whoever killed Lyric and Elizabeth also killed Liberty and Abigail. In March 2017, it was announced that investigators in Delphi and Evansdale had "compared notes", but no connection between the two cases were found at that time.  Still, the theory that the two cases are connected has remained a prominent theory and it has not been completely ruled out. 

During that same year, investigators announced that two people had confessed to killing Lyric and Elizabeth. Police questioned the two individuals and eventually eliminated them after it became clear that they did not know intimate details of the case. The identities of the two people who confessed have never been revealed. 

In May 2018, a woman named Teresa Gerleman killed both herself and her 8-year-old son in a murder-suicide in Belle Plain. Prior to her death, Teresa had told someone that she knew what happened to Lyric and Elizabeth. This information was provided to police, and police subsequently obtained a search warrant for Teresa's house. It's unclear if police were able to find any information relating to Lyric and Elizabeth's case. Police were also unable to find a motive for Teresa to kill both her son and herself. 

Teresa Gerleman and her son

As of 2022, Lyric and Elizabeth's case remains unsolved. Despite the numerous theories, investigators have still not announced any suspects in the case. There is a monetary reward for anyone with information that could lead to the arrest of a suspect. If you have any information that could help the investigation, please report a tip to the FBI. 


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