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Entries in Lyric Cook (12)

Wednesday
Dec052012

Lyric Cook and Elizabeth Collins: Bodies Found in Search for Missing Iowa Cousins

ABC News(ANKENY, Iowa) -- Nearly five months after Iowa cousins Lyric Cook and Elizabeth Collins disappeared, the girls' families have been told two bodies were found by hunters in a wooded area, though the identities of the bodies have not been confirmed, authorities said.

Capt. Rick Abben of the Black Hawk County Sheriff's Office said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon that the bodies are being transported to the state's medical office in Ankeny, Iowa, for positive identification.

"It's definitely not the outcome that we wanted, obviously," Abben said. "This is a difficult thing for us to go through."

Lyric, 11, and Elizabeth, 9, vanished shortly after noon on July 13 while on a bike ride in the small town of Evansdale, Iowa, triggering a massive search that brought the town to a standstill. The girls' bicycles and a purse were quickly found near Meyers Lake, but there was no sign of the girls.

 

On the two-month anniversary of the girls' disappearance, local residents held a prayer vigil and authorities urged members of the public to provide any new information that might help them solve the case.

Authorities said the girls left Elizabeth's house in Evansdale around 12:15 p.m., were spotted at approximately 12:23 p.m. at a nearby intersection and then were seen between 12:30 and 1 p.m. on a road by the lake.

During the following week, authorities canvassed the area and drained the town's lake. Lyric's estranged parents, Misty and Dan Morrissey, at one point became the subject of intense police scrutiny because of their criminal pasts and their lack of cooperation.

Over the summer, the families received a boost when Elizabeth Smart, one of the country's most famous kidnapping survivors, offered some words of encouragement. Police found Smart after a nine-month search in Utah a decade ago.

"For as many bad things that we hear about that happen, for as many kidnappings and terrible stories about finding the remains of children, why can't these girls be the exception?" Smart told the Des Moines Register.

Elizabeth's mother, Heather Collins, told ABC News' Alex Perez in July that the wait for the girls to resurface was an agonizing one.

"A day doesn't seem like a normal day," Collins said. "It's just like it doesn't stop. It keeps dragging and dragging. You're just waiting for a time to go up to your room. You're just waiting, waiting, waiting."

"Whoever's out there, we're just begging you to bring our girls back home," she said.

A $50,000 reward had been offered for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the girls' disappearance.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Sep142012

Iowa Cousins Missing Two Months; Authorities Plead for Help

Elizabeth Collins (L) and her cousin Lyric Cook (R). ABC News(EVANSDALE, Iowa) -- On the two-month anniversary of the disappearance of Iowa cousins Lyric Cook and Elizabeth Collins, residents of their hometown gathered for a prayer vigil and authorities pleaded with the public to come forward with any new information that could help crack the case.

On July 13, Cook and Collins vanished on a bike ride only blocks from Collins’ house in Evansdale, Iowa.  Their bicycles and a purse were quickly found by Meyers Lake, but there was no sign of the girls.

“Today marks two months since the disappearance of 11-year-old Lyric Cook and 9-year-old Elizabeth Collins,” Rick Abben, chief deputy at the Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Office, said in a statement Thursday.  “Both girls were last seen on July 13 at 12:15 p.m. riding their bicycles away from the Collins residence in Evansdale.  We have information that the girls were seen approximately 12:23 p.m. on Brovan Blvd. and between 12:30 and 1:00 p.m. on Gilbert DR. in the area of Meyers Lake in Evansdale.”

A $50,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the girls’ disappearance has been offered.

“Law enforcement is asking for anyone that was in the Arbutus Ave. or Gilbert Dr. and Elmer Ave. areas or anywhere in Evansdale on that day that may have seen the girls to notify us,” Abben said.

Last month, the girls’ families received some encouragement from Elizabeth Smart, one of the most famous kidnapping survivors in the country.

“For as many bad things that we hear about that happen, for as many kidnappings and terrible stories about finding the remains of children, why can’t these girls be the exception?” Smart, who was found by police after a nine-month search in Utah a decade ago, told the Des Moines Register.

“There’s always hope,” she said.

Elizabeth Collins’ mother Heather told ABC News’ Alex Perez in July that the wait for the girls’ to resurface had been an agonizing one.

“A day doesn’t seem like a normal day,” Heather said.  “It’s just like it doesn’t stop.  It keeps dragging and dragging.  You’re just waiting for a time to go up to your room.  You’re just waiting, waiting, waiting.”

“Whoever’s out there, we’re just begging you to bring our girls back home,” she said.

In the week after the girls’ disappearance, authorities canvassed the neighborhood and drained the lake in Evansdale, a small town near Waterloo in northeast Iowa.  At one point, Cook’s estranged parents, Misty and Dan Morrissey, became the subject of intense police scrutiny due to their criminal pasts and their lack of cooperation.  But despite an extensive search and national media attention, the girls have yet to be found.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jul252012

Surveillance Video of Missing Iowa Cousins Discovered

8-year-old Elizabeth Collins (L) and her cousin, 10-year-old Lyric Cook (R). (ABC News)(EVANSDALE, Iowa.) -- Authorities in Iowa investigating the disappearance of Elizabeth Collins, 8, and her cousin, Lyric Cook, 10, have obtained new video of the missing girls from the day they vanished 12 days ago.

Although the girls only look like a blur as they cross the frame on their bicycles in the video, and the footage of the two girls lasts only seconds, investigators say they now are analyzing it for any clues that could lead to information about the girls whose bicycles were later recovered on a trail by nearby Meyers Lake in Evansdale, Iowa.

"It looked kind of grainy, I mean just zoom they were by the thing and so it's very hard to really make much out of the thing," Black Hawk County Chief Deputy Rick Abben said.  "The girls were less than a block from the house when this camera captured them riding by, important to note they were riding away from Meyers Lake."

The video also matches the police timeline.  Investigators say the girls left the home to ride their bikes shortly after noon on July 13.  The camera's clock shows it was 12:11 p.m. when they rode by.

Both of their bicycles were recovered on a trial near the lake about four hours after they were reported missing.

The surveillance camera belongs to a local auction house.  With few clues in the investigation, the house's manager, Joe Pahl, thought to look for the video and turned it over to the FBI.

"Anything we can do to help," Pahl said.  "We want to see the girls come back safe and alive."

Authorities reclassified the case as an abduction last Friday.  FBI spokeswoman Sandy Breault said on Monday that investigators believe the two girls are alive, although she would not offer any details to explain their confidence.  The optimism in this small northeast Iowa town, she noted, was inspiring.

"If hope alone can bring them home, they'll come home," Breault said.

A $50,000 reward is now being offered for information that would lead to their being found.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul242012

Mother of Missing Iowa Girl Takes Second Polygraph Test

8-year-old Elizabeth Collins (L) and her cousin, 10-year-old Lyric Cook (R). (ABC News)(EVANSDALE, Iowa) -- The mother of one of the missing Iowa cousins has submitted to a second polygraph test, days after she stopped cooperating with investigators, officials said.

Misty Morrissey and her husband Dan, the separated parents of 10-year old Lyric Cook, had stopped answering investigators' questions on the advice of their attorney late last week.

The move came as the pair bristled under intense scrutiny because of their criminal histories.  Both of them have been convicted of felony drug charges and served time behind bars.

Misty's sister Heather Collins, whose 8-year old daughter Elizabeth disappeared along with Cook on July 13, told ABC News early Monday morning that investigators had "enough to worry about" and "don't need other distractions" such as family members not cooperating with them.

Misty Morrissey submitted to the polygraph test later Monday.

"We are getting the cooperation we are asking for, so it's getting better," Black Hawk County Sheriff spokesman Rick Abben said at a news briefing Monday.

The two young cousins disappeared after leaving for a bike ride around noon on July 13.  Their bicycles were recovered on a trail near Meyers Lake about four hours later, but the girls have yet to be found.

FBI spokesperson Sandy Breault said on Monday that investigators believe the two girls are alive, although she would not offer any details to explain their confidence.  The optimism in Evansdale, Iowa, she noted, was inspiring.

"If hope alone can bring them home, they'll come home," Breault said.

For now, though, the agonizing wait for Heather Collins continues.

"A day doesn't seem like a normal day," Collins said.  "It's just like it doesn't stop.  It keeps dragging and dragging.  You're just waiting for a time to go up to your room.  You're just waiting, waiting, waiting."

"Whoever's out there, we're just begging you to bring our girls back home," she pleaded.  "You've had them long enough.  This has gone on long enough.  Just please bring them back home."

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Monday
Jul232012

Parents of Missing Iowa Cousins Remain 'Hopeful'

8-year-old Elizabeth Collins (L) and her cousin, 10-year-old Lyric Cook (R). (ABC News)(NEW YORK) -- Despite a fruitless 10-day search for two missing Iowa cousins, the parents of one of the girls, 8-year old Elizabeth Collins, have not lost hope, bolstered by authorities' saying they believe the children are still alive.

"They told us they do have a couple of leads and that is it. Anything is hopeful," Heather Collins told ABC News' Robin Roberts Monday in an exclusive interview on Good Morning America.

Elizabeth and her 10-year old cousin, Lyric Cook, vanished on July 13, but authorities made a surprising announcement this weekend.

"We believe these girls are alive," FBI spokesperson Sandy Breault said on Saturday.

Investigators want to hear from anyone who might have been near the trail where the girls' bikes were found the day they disappeared.

"Even if you think you don't have any information that's important to this case, investigators want to talk with you," Breault said Sunday.  "Don't assume we know what you know."

Investigators for the first time said they are pursuing people of interest in the case.  But they said they are not receiving full cooperation from all the family members.

After initially cooperating and taking polygraph tests, Cook's parents, Misty and Dan Morrissey, elected not to allow police to interrogate them any further, stating that the decision came on advice from their attorney.  They have been convicted of felony drug charges in recent years and served time behind bars.

Tammy Brousseau, the girls' aunt, told ABC News that something in the Morrisseys' past might have played a role in their disappearance.

"I can't rule that out, you know," she said.  "I want every stone unturned."

Heather Collins said Monday she wants the focus to be on the missing girls, not her sister's past, but she understands the need for investigators to look at other issues as well.

"When they don't have full cooperation, their focus has to be on other issues rather than on the girls being found home.  That's our main concern.  That's our main focus -- is bringing the girls home.  And that's all we want," she said.  "They don't need other distractions.  They have enough to worry about and they don't need other distractions."

Elizabeth and Lyric disappeared after leaving for a bike ride around noon on July 13.  Their bikes were soon found by Meyers Lake.  Authorities called in an FBI dive team late last week that searched the lake and determined that the girls were not in it, prompting them to call the case an abduction.

Now, as the small town desperately waits for answers, the parents hope this nightmare will soon come to an end with their girls back home.  Both Heather Collins and her husband, Drew, urged whoever has the cousins to let them go.

"Take them somewhere safe," she said.  "Take them to a gas station, Target.  Just take them anywhere so that they know how to get a hold of somebody to get a hold the police or their parents so that they can get home safe and bring them back.  We miss them dearly."

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Monday
Jul232012

FBI Says Family of Missing Iowa Girls Not Cooperating

8-year-old Elizabeth Collins (L) and her cousin, 10-year-old Lyric Cook (R). (ABC News)(EVANSDALE, Iowa) -- Law enforcement officials who have spent the past 10 days searching for a pair of missing cousins in Iowa say some family members are not being completely cooperative and are now under close scrutiny.

"Law enforcement has not received total cooperation from all family and close friends.  We feel there's someone out there that has pertinent information about the girls' whereabouts," FBI spokeswoman Sandy Breault said.

Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook, who are cousins, were last seen on July 13, riding their bikes near a lake in Evansdale, Iowa.  Authorities reclassified the case as an abuduction on Friday, and the FBI said they believe the girls are still alive.  A $50,000 reward is now being offered for information that would lead to their being found.

Cook's parents, Misty and Dan Morrissey, say they're taking legal advice, and will no longer allow police to interrogate them.  Both have past convictions for felony drug offenses and spent time behind bars.  Misty served four years in federal prison.

Some of their relatives acknowledge that the couple's troubled past could have played a role in the girls' disappearance.

"I can't rule that out, you know," Tammy Brousseau, the girls' aunt, told ABC News on Thursday.  "I want every stone unturned."

In the past week, investigators have questioned both Misty and Dan Morrisey several times.  Brousseau said Dan Morrisey at one point left a police interview because he felt he was being treated like a suspect.

"I can see Dan becoming very defensive after he's being told, you know, 'You killed your daughter and niece.  You know you did.  We have proof.  We have evidence that you did this,'" Brousseau said.

Brousseau said the Morrisseys, who are separated, have a violent past that even involves a restraining order.

"At one point Dan had assaulted Misty and that's where the no-contact order came into place," she said.

On Wednesday night, investigators went to a nearby hotel where Misty and Dan Morrisey were staying, but Dan claimed he was tired and wanted to go to sleep.  The following morning, Misty took a urine analysis and a polygraph test.  However, Brousseau said the pair had been advised by their attorney not to speak any further to police or the media or submit to any more polygraph tests.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jul222012

FBI Believes Missing Iowa Girls Are Alive

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The FBI said they have evidence that leads them to believe that two missing Iowa girls are still alive.

"We believe the two girls are alive," FBI spokeswoman Sandy Breault told ABC News. Breault said this belief was based partly on the evidence found Friday, but would not elaborate further.

Authorities reclassified the case as an abduction on Friday.

Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook, who are cousins, were last seen on July 13, riding their bikes near a lake in Evansdale, Iowa. A $50,000 reward is now being offered for information that would lead to their being found.

Elizabeth Collins' mother said she was overjoyed to hear the FBI say they believe the two girls are alive.

"That is amazing," Heather Collins said. "That is the best news we have heard all week...keep praying we will have them back..."

An FBI dive squad with sonar equipment Friday searched Meyers Lake, near where the girls' bikes were found on a nature trail. Officials said that they only continued to search the lake to be "100 percent" certain the girls were not in it. The girls' families have been adamant that they believe the girls are somewhere else.

"The girls aren't in the lake. We've all been convinced of that basically since Friday [July 13]," Craig Ceilley, a family spokesman, told ABC News Friday. Lyric Cook is 10; Elizabeth Collins is 8.

As the mystery grows about the cousins' disappearance, so does the list of questions surrounding Lyric's parents, Misty and Dan Morrissey. Both have been convicted of felony drug offenses and spent time behind bars. Misty served four years in federal prison.

Even their relatives acknowledge that the couple's troubled past could have played a role in the girls' disappearance.

"I can't rule that out, you know," Tammy Brousseau, the girls' aunt, told ABC News Thursday. "I want every stone unturned."

In the past week investigators have questioned both Misty and Dan Morrisey several times. Brousseau said Dan Morrisey at one point left a police interview because he felt he was being treated like a suspect.

"I can see Dan becoming very defensive after he's being told, you know, 'You killed your daughter and niece. You know you did. We have proof. We have evidence that you did this,'" Brousseau said.

Brousseau said the Morrisseys, who are separated, have a violent past that even involves a restraining order.

"At one point Dan had assaulted Misty and that's where the no-contact order came into place," she said.

On Wednesday night investigators went to a nearby hotel where Misty and Dan Morrisey were staying, but Dan claimed he was tired and wanted to go to sleep. The following morning Misty took a urine analysis and a polygraph test. However, Brousseau said the pair had been advised by their attorney not to speak any further to police or the media or submit to any more polygraph tests.

Capt. Rick Abben, the spokesman for the Black Hawk County Sheriff's Office, said Thursday that their silence was not helpful to investigators.

"It's a distraction for us, and why they wish to do that, I don't know," Abben told reporters. "We're asking for 100 percent cooperation. Why they don't want to do that, I have no idea."

Late Thursday Misty and Dan Morrisey were spotted leaving the authorities' makeshift command center in Evansdale, with Misty in tears.

"They have no idea about anything," Misty yelled as she left the building.

"Back off," said Dan as reporters gathered around them.

With the search for the girls now more than a week old, family members want the focus to be on the two cousins, not Lyric's parents.

"Let's focus on Elizabeth and Lyric. Let's leave the past where it belongs," Ceilley urged Friday.

If one family member is getting roughed up, he said, "they're all getting roughed up."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jul202012

FBI Divers Search Lake for Missing Iowa Girls; No Clues Yet

8-year-old Elizabeth Collins (L) and her cousin, 10-year-old Lyric Cook (R). (ABC News) (EVANSDALE, Iowa) -- A week has now passed since two young cousins, Elizabeth Collins, 8, and Lyric Cook, 10, were last seen in the small northeastern Iowa town of Evansdale, but authorities say they know nothing more on Friday about the girls' whereabouts.

An FBI dive squad with sonar equipment arrived Friday morning to search Meyers Lake, the place where the girls' bikes were found on a nature trail last Friday.  Authorities have already dragged the lake and had been in the process of draining it when the dive team was called into town.  However, officials emphasize that they are only continuing to search the lake to be "100 percent" certain the girls are not in it.  The girls' families have been adamant that they believe the girls are somewhere else.

"The girls aren't in the lake.  We've all been convinced of that basically since Friday," Craig Ceilley, a family spokesman, told ABC News on Friday.

As the mystery grows about the cousins' disappearance, so does the list of questions surrounding Cook's parents, Misty and Dan Morrissey.  Both have been convicted of felony drug offenses and spent time behind bars.  Misty served four years in federal prison.

Even their relatives acknowledge that the couple's troubled past could have played a role in the girls' disappearance.

"I can't rule that out, you know," Tammy Brousseau, the girls' aunt, told ABC News on Thursday.  "I want every stone unturned."

In the past week investigators have questioned both Misty and Dan several times.  Brousseau said Dan at one point left a police interview because he felt he was being treated like a suspect.

"I can see Dan becoming very defensive after he's being told, you know, 'You killed your daughter and niece.  You know you did.  We have proof.  We have evidence that you did this,'" Brousseau said.

Brousseau said the Morrisseys, who are separated, have a violent past that even involves a restraining order.

"At one point Dan had assaulted Misty and that's where the no-contact order came into place," she said.

On Wednesday night, investigators went to a nearby hotel where Misty and Dan were staying, but Dan claimed he was tired and wanted to go to sleep.  The following morning, Misty took a urine analysis and a polygraph test.  However, Brousseau said the pair had been advised by their attorney not to speak any further to police or the media or submit to any more polygraph tests.

Rick Abben, the spokesman for the Black Hawk County Sheriff's Office, said Thursday that their silence was not helpful to investigators.

"It's a distraction for us, and why they wish to do that, I don't know," Abben told reporters.  "We're asking for 100 percent cooperation.  Why they don't want to do that, I have no idea."

Late Thursday, Misty and Dan were spotted leaving the authorities' makeshift command center in Evansdale, with Misty in tears.

"They have no idea about anything," Misty yelled as she left the building.

"Back off," said Dan as reporters gathered around them.

With the search for the girls now a week old, family members want the focus to be on the two cousins, not Cook's parents.

"Let's focus on Elizabeth and Lyric.  Let's leave the past where it belongs," Ceilley urged Friday.

If one family member is getting roughed up, he said, "they're all getting roughed up."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jul202012

Cops Suspect Dad in Missing Iowa Girls Case, Family Member Says

8-year-old Elizabeth Collins (L) and her cousin, 10-year-old Lyric Cook (R). (ABC News)(EVANSDALE, Iowa) -- The aunt of the two missing Iowa cousins said on Thursday that authorities have accused a family member of involvement with the girls' disappearance.

Tammy Brousseau, the sister of Misty Morrissey and Heather Collins, whose daughters Lyric Cook, 10, and Elizabeth Collins, 8, vanished last Friday, said Morrissey's estranged husband Daniel Morrissey has been the subject of intense police scrutiny.

"They have accused him," Brousseau said.  "They told him they had proof that he did it."

"They found out a couple of family members have a criminal history so they're focusing really hard on them," she told reporters.  Both Daniel and Misty have criminal records.

Police on Thursday said they could make no one available to speak with reporters because all available staffers were out working to find the missing girls.

Brousseau told reporters that the family was at a hotel Wednesday night when the FBI showed up to interrogate them.  Daniel, she said, kept telling investigators that he needed to sleep, a comment that prompted authorities to ask him how he could sleep at a time like this.

"They're working with them 100 percent despite what they're saying," Brousseau said of Daniel and Misty.

In the past day, investigators have seized the couple's computers.  Now, Brousseau said, the couple has been advised by an attorney not to talk to the police or the media, or take any more polygraph tests.

Brousseau acknowledged that Misty is currently on federal probation.  Also, Brousseau noted, the couple is under a restraining order but are now allowed to spend time with each other as long as they don't fight.

Earlier, Misty and Daniel Morrissey had said they have been questioned so extensively by police that it is now getting on their nerves.

"You tell them the truth and they say, 'You're holding something back,' and you're not.  What is left to talk about?  You know, we go over and over and over again," Daniel Morrissey told KCCI Des Moines this week.  "It made me feel like, 'Yeah, they're looking at me like a suspect.'"

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jul192012

Missing Iowa Girl's Dad Feels 'Like a Suspect'

8-year-old Elizabeth Collins (L) and her cousin, 10-year-old Lyric Cook (R). (ABC News)(EVANSDALE, Iowa) -- With frustrations building amid six days of searching for a pair of missing girls in Iowa, the father of one of the missing cousins has voiced displeasure with police and said he feels as if he's being treated like a suspect.

His comments came as police, the FBI and local residents helped search for the missing girls, Elizabeth Collins, 8, and Lyric Cook, 10.  In addition, authorities continued to drain a lake near where the girls' bikes were found and their scents were picked up by bloodhounds, and officials said they were segregating trash from Evansdale to aid the investigation.

The families of the missing girls "are still continuing to cooperate with us, as we would expect," Rick Abben, a spokesman for the Black Hawk County Sheriff's Office, told reporters on Wednesday.

However, Daniel Morrissey, Cook's father, has voiced his frustration with police to a local news outlet.

"You tell them the truth and they say, 'You're holding something back,' and you're not.  What is left to talk about?  You know, we go over and over and over again," he told KCCI Des Moines on Tuesday.  "It made me feel like, 'Yeah, they're looking at me like a suspect.'"

Morrissey told ABC News on Tuesday that he is trying to keep his displeasure in check.

"I'll tell you something about emotions," Morrissey said.  "A lot of people base their decisions off emotions and it doesn't work out too well -- they're angry, they make a bad decision, whatever.

"So emotions, I try to keep control of and keep my head straight," he added.  "During this time, it's definitely challenging, but I have to keep my mind right."

Abben suggested police are just doing their jobs.

"I haven't talked to Mr. Morrissey," he told reporters.  "I don't know why he feels that way.  We expect cooperation from everyone -- 100 percent cooperation.  So I don't know why he feels that way."

Daniel Morrissey's wife, Misty Morrissey, told ABC News on Wednesday that the two of them have fully complied with authorities' requests.

"We've done extensive interviews, hours at a time, we've done polygraphs, we have taken many phone calls, answered many questions," she said.  "We've given our phones up, all of our data has been, you know, taken off of our phones.  In fact, my sister['s] and my phone is now not, our touch screens aren't working very well.  So we've cooperated to the fullest."

Other residents of the small Iowa town also have been pitching in on the search for the two young cousins who disappeared last Friday.

"You just desperately want them to be found at this point," Mayor Chad Deutsch, whose son attends school with one of the missing girls, told ABC News on Wednesday.  "You think of all the bad things and, you know, at some point you just get desperate and you want to find them.  I mean, the more time and things that go by, the more thoughts that go through your head and the worse the pit in your stomach [becomes]."

Deutsch has taken to the skies using his personal plane to chip in with the search effort but, thus far, just like the authorities there, he has come up empty-handed.

"It's super frustrating," he said.

With the draining of Meyers Lake -- where the girls' bikes were found last Friday afternoon -- taking longer than anticipated, the FBI on Wednesday launched a dive team from Los Angeles to help.  The team is expected to arrive on Thursday.

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