Officials stop draining Evansdale's Meyers Lake at FBI's request

Dive team needs water to use sonar equipment in search for missing girls

Jeff Reinitz
Published: July 19 2012 | 10:03 pm - Updated: 31 March 2014 | 9:58 pm in

UPDATE: City crews ceased the drawdown of Meyers Lake Thursday, to allow divers with a special FBI team to work in some of the deeper underwater pockets as the search for two young cousins continues.

“We can’t drain the deep areas anyway, so what we have done is the public works and street department personnel and the city engineer will make sure that whatever level it is is the most prime condition for whatever resources law enforcement need to deploy,” Evansdale Mayor Chad Deutsch said Thursday morning.

The FBI is sending in a California-based dive team that is scheduled to arrive in Evansdale late Thursday, said Sandy Breault a spokeswoman from FBI’s Division Office in Omaha, Neb.

The team may not begin operations until Friday.

The lake is about 15 to 20 feet at its deepest, and Deutsch said when the draining is stopped, those sections will be about 10 feet deep.

Sources at the lake said city crews have turned off the motorized pump that had been helping remove water.

City workers began draining the lake on Monday after a weekend of dragging operations by firefighters in boats.

Authorities have said they are almost certain the two missing girls — 10-year-old Lyric Cook-Morrisey of Waterloo and her 8-year-old cousin Elizabeth Collins of Evansdale — aren’t in the water, but the only way to be 100 percent sure was to drain it.

More FBI resources used in search

Other FBI resources being used in the investigation include dogs with the bureau’s Human Scent Evidence Team, Breault said.

Two trained FBI bloodhounds and their handlers were flown to Iowa from the agency’s headquarters in Quantico, Va.

According to the FBI website, the scent teams work with crime scene technicians who collect scents by using a special vacuum. The smells are vacuumed onto a sterile pad and placed in a jar where they can be stored.

The bloodhounds take a whiff of the pad and can indicate a match or non-match when compared with other scents, according to the website. They can also use follow invisible trails of the scents.

In the Evansdale case, Breault said the dogs had indicated the girls’ scent was in the area near Meyers Lake.

“The scent did lead to the water, which is also where their bikes were found,” she said.

One of the more visible resources sent to Evansdale is the FBI’s Evidence Response Team Command Post.

The large truck contains Internet and satellite access.

Aside from that, agents with an FBI Child Abduction Rapid Deployment team has also been on the scene, Breault said.

Typically consisting of four to six members, CARD teams are usually involved in “non-family child abductions, ransom child abductions and mysterious disappearances of children,” according to the FBI website.

The teams are designed to centralize investigations and identify any national or international leads. They are equipped with mapping tools that identify registered sex offenders in the area, the website states.

In his weekly conference call with reporters Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley said he planned to make a direct request to the FBI director to provide “all assistance available” to the search for the two missing girls, at their families’ request.

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