DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The parents of one of two Iowa cousins missing for nearly a week have consulted an attorney amid fears that investigators are targeting them due to their criminal records, an aunt of both girls said Thursday.
Tammy Brousseau told The Associated Press that Misty and Dan Morrissey, parents of 10-year-old Lyric Cook-Morrissey, feel that they’re being treated as suspects in the case. Both have spent time in prison, mostly for drug charges, according to court records reviewed by AP.
She said the attorney the family consulted had advised the parents to stop talking to the media and giving polygraph exams, though she said she’s not aware that either had failed one.
Brousseau said one male family member briefly walked out of a police interview in frustration earlier this week. While she didn’t identify the man, the girls’ grandmother Wylma Cook told The Des Moines Register it was Dan Morrissey, who was upset after police accused him of killing the cousins.
“They’ve been cooperating with the police 100 percent, but because police don’t have a silver Cadillac that tore off with the kids, they don’t have no leads,” Brousseau said.
Black Hawk County Chief Deputy Rick Abben said Wednesday he doesn’t know why Dan Morrissey feels like a suspect.
“I haven’t talked to him so I don’t know why he feels that way,” Abben said Wednesday. “We expect 100 percent cooperation from everyone.”
When asked if authorities have any reason to suspect family members, he replied: “We have no reason to go that route at this time they have been very cooperative with us.”
Lyric and her 8-year-old cousin Elizabeth Collins were last seen leaving a house in the Waterloo suburb in Evansdale where Wylma Cook had been watching them, about a mile from Meyers Lake where the girls’ bicycles were found hours later.
Elizabeth’s parents, Drew and Heather Collins, were already staying out of the public eye. They moved from their home in Evansdale to an undisclosed location to get rest because too many people kept showing up at their home, Brousseau said, adding that Heather Collins has had heart problems and needed rest.
Brousseau said authorities also had confiscated the computer at a family home, but officials declined to provide details about what — if anything — they found.
On Friday, a week after they disappeared, a dive team using sonar equipment will search the lake for evidence. FBI spokeswoman Sandy Breault said the team will begin the search of Meyers around 6 a.m.
Authorities stopped draining the lake after three days Thursday because the team’s sonar equipment needs at least 6 feet of water to function properly. They previously said they wouldn’t finish draining it until Friday.
The team uses two kinds of sonar — one that can detect debris in murky water and another that provides a 360-degree analysis of the bottom of the lake. That device is mounted on a tripod that sends signals to computers on the surface helping direct divers where to search.
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