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Bodies found in Iowa could be those of missing girls

DES MOINES, Iowa (Reuters) - Iowa police said they have not yet identified bodies found by hunters in a wooded area on Wednesday that could be those of two girls who vanished last summer in a case that received national attention.

Captain Rick Abben, chief deputy of the Black Hawk County Sheriff's Office, could not say that the bodies were those of Elizabeth Collins, 8, and Lyric Cook, 10, until they are positively identified by the State Medical Examiner's Office.

But Abben said the families of the two cousins had been notified.

"It's definitely not the outcome that we wanted," Abben said in a news conference that was streamed live by the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier.

The girls were last seen on July 13 riding their bicycles in Evansdale in northeast Iowa, after leaving their grandmother's house. Their bikes and a purse were found at Meyers Lake in Evansdale, prompting investigators to drag and later drain the lake in a fruitless search for the girls.

Abben said another news conference will be held Thursday afternoon at Evansdale City Hall.

(Reporting By Mary Wisniewski; Additional reporting by Kay Henderson in Des Moines, Iowa; Editing by Greg McCune and Xavier Briand)