NEW HARTFORD, N.Y. (WKTV) -- Two years ago, the nation watched as police combed through tall grass and wooded areas near Evansdale, Iowa, searching for two young girls who went for a bike ride and never came back.
"We don't know exactly where they were abducted- from somewhere in our town of Evansdale. Their bodies were recovered five months later in a park north of us about 30 miles," said Andrew Collins, father of Elizabeth Collins, one of the missing girls.
Those five months were filled with questions and no answers as Collins desperately tried to find out what happened to his daughter and niece, Lyric Cook. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children stepped in to help.
"They sent us thousands of fliers and we got to distribute them so I know first hand what they do and how it helps so it's very important for me to be a part of it to give back," said Collins.
Collins came all the way from Iowa to take part in Utica's Ride for Missing Children. His daughter and niece were abducted off their bikes, but now he's using riding as a source of healing.
"Any time you get together with people, people that have been through this, it helps you along just talking to them and they share their stories with you and I share my stories with other people," he said.
Each of the nearly 500 bikers ride and raise money in memory of a missing child. Locals Kelli Crosanti and her son Marcus rode for Lyric Cook. Meeting Andrew gave their ride a whole new meaning.
"There are people out there that experience this every day and you want to believe it doesn't happen to you, but then you meet someone like Drew...and you feel what they feel because you see it in their eyes and that's what this is about," said Crosanti.
Collins says he won't have closure until someone is arrested for murdering his daughter and niece, but today was a step forward.
"They didn't get to finish their bike ride and I finished it for them today," said Collins.
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