Bodies identified as missing Iowa cousins
(CNN) -- Relatives of 10-year-old Lyric Cook and 8-year-old Elizabeth Collins got news Monday, December 10th that no family wants.
Authorities identified the bodies found by hunters in a wooded area last week as those of the two young Iowa cousins, missing since July. Their bodies were found in the Seven Bridges Wildlife Area in Bremer County.
Chief Kent Smock of the Evansdale, Iowa, Police Department, confirmed the news and said that the girls' families had been notified, according to a statement from the Black Hawk County Sheriff's Office.
The cause of the death in both cases is pending.
Lyric and Elizabeth were last seen by their grandmother on July 13 when they left for a bike ride. The girls' bicycles and a purse were found near Meyers Lake hours after they were reported missing.
A search of the 25-acre lake turned up nothing, and authorities eventually said they believed that the cousins had been abducted.
"Our hearts and prayers go out to the families and friends of those precious little girls. The Black Hawk County Sheriff's Office pledges vigilance in our pursuit of those responsible and will extend every resource to concluding this case so that justice may prevail," said Sheriff Tony Thompson.
Last week, when the bodies were found but authorities had not yet identified them as belonging to the girls, Elizabeth's mother, Heather Collins, posted a message on Facebook expressing gratitude for the prayers and outpouring of support amid the "gut-wrenching news."
"We know that they are up in heaven with our savior," she wrote. "Lord we know that you have them in your loving arms and we are so blessed."