source Hat tip: Ernie Coffman
FBI spokeswoman Sandy Breault said that authorities strongly believe 10-year-old Lyric Cook-Morrissey and 8-year-old Elizabeth Collins have not been killed.
She refused to say what led authorities to that conclusion, but told reporters that investigators are expanding their search beyond Iowa.
The announcement came a day after authorities said they believe the girls were abducted.
The girls disappeared around noon July 13 shortly after they left their grandmother's house near Evansdale in northeast Iowa. Their bikes and a purse were found on a path near Meyers Lake, prompting investigators to drag it last weekend and to begin draining it earlier this week.
Breault says investigators are interviewing "persons of interest" in the case, whom she declined to identify.
On Friday, Rick Abben, chief deputy with the Black Hawk County Sheriff's office, had said investigators still had no single person of interest in the case. Abben said investigators had recovered some evidence and sent it to the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation for analysis. He declined to say what the evidence was or where it was found.