NEW: A mother says the bodies are those of her daughter and niece
Two bodies have been found in Iowa near where two girls disappeared in July
The bodies were headed to the state medical examiner for identification
"It's looking like the outcome was not the one that we wanted," sheriff's deputy says
An Iowa family that’s been hoping for good news since two young cousins disappeared in July is now grappling with the worst.
Hunters discovered two bodies in a wooded area Wednesday afternoon, Black Hawk County sheriff’s Capt. Rick Abben said.
He said the family of Lyric Cook, 10, and her cousin Elizabeth Collins, 8, had been notified even though the identification process was not complete. The bodies were taken to the state medical examiner’s office in Ankeny, Iowa.
“Right now, it’s looking like the outcome was not the one that we wanted,” Abben said at a news conference in Evansdale, Iowa.
While the medical examiner’s office has not publicly confirmed the identity of the bodies, Elizabeth’s mother, Heather Collins posted a message on Facebook late Wednesday night 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 said on the Facebook page. “Lord we know that you have them in your loving arms and we are so blessed.”
The girls 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 in July turned up nothing, and authorities said they believed the cousins were abducted.
“Cooperation with law enforcement is the key factor in discovering the whereabouts of Lyric and Elizabeth,” FBI spokeswoman Sandy Breault said in July. “Unfortunately, in this case, law enforcement has not received total cooperation from all family and close friends,” she said.
Abben said the investigation is ongoing, and he thanked the public and the media for their assistance and support in the case.
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CNN’s John Fricke and Tina Burnside contributed to this report