Supporters hope pink-themed items keep focus on search for missing girls

Organizers urge people to avoid creating scenarios for girls' disappearance

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March 31, 2014 | 10:14 pm

Pink is the new fashion in the Cedar Valley.

Paired with a button and matching bracelet, you’ve got a complete outfit that will surely turn heads.

Creative Impact Co., 3511 Lafayette Road, has become a one-stop shop with accessories displaying the faces of Lyric Cook-Morrissey, 10, and Elizabeth Collins, 8. The cousins were last seen riding their bicycles in downtown Evansdale nearly two weeks ago. Search efforts by local and federal authorities have turned up empty.

Owner Linda Wachal said a relative of the girls contacted her about making buttons. Then, Sarah Curl of Waterloo suggested T-shirts, and Wachal thought of bumper or window stickers.

“It just kind of progressed from there,” Wachal said. “That’s all so many of us in the community can think of is: What if those were our daughters, our grandchildren?”

Last week, the doorbell kept ringing. Orders have come from local businesses and as far away as Omaha, Neb., and California.

Donations also continue to pour in. On Wednesday, one man contributed $5 when he picked up a button, but returned not long after to give another $5.

“It’s beyond the community, it really is,” said Curl, who knows the Collins family. “People who don’t know the family, who don’t know these girls just automatically have this connection ... and want to raise awareness. It’s keeping people up at night. Outside of the fear, it’s just the worry for these families.

“When I tuck my kids into bed, I don’t know, I can’t even explain where that takes me,” she added. “Or, when I wake up, I check my phone to see if someone called.”

Bracelet sales began Monday, and Curl said about 1,500 had been sold by early Wednesday.

Another batch is scheduled for delivery Thursday. Each says, “Prayers for Elizabeth and Lyric.”

Amber Deutsch of Evansdale, daughter of Evansdale Mayor Chad Deutsch, stopped before work to grab a couple of bracelets and buttons. Her brother, Brennen Deutsch, is a student at Bunger Middle School but formerly attended Poyner Elementary. He knows Elizabeth, and Deutsch said she has been reposting news updates through her Facebook page.

“Just keeping their faces and everything out there,” she said. “It’s definitely spread. And quick. And all over. Hopefully, we can bring them home safe.”

The girls’ disappearance initially centered on a possible drowning in Meyers Lake, but has since been classified as an abduction.

Deutsch and her fiance, Eric Gleason, have discussed not talking to strangers with Gleason’s son, Jayce Gleason, 3.

“He’s starting to catch on,” she said, adding that recently at a restaurant, Jayce asked why they were allowed to talk with the cook, whom they did not personally know.

Curl acknowledged that interest in the case may be waning some because of a lack of new developments. However, she urged people to steer clear of creating their own scenarios.

“That’s the FBI’s job, you know?” she said. “We’re just trying to be positive and show we’re still here, we’re still supporting, we’re still waiting for them to come home.” 

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