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Arrest Of A Juvenile Made After 10-Year-Old Girl Was Found Dead In The Woods: Suspect 'Not A Stranger To The Victim'

Lily Peters pictured in police handout

A suspect has been arrested in the murder of 10-year-old Illiana “Lily” Peters.

As we previously reported, Lily was reported missing by her father in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin on Sunday night after she failed to return home from visiting her aunt’s house. Her bicycle was later found on a walking trail near that house. On Monday morning, the child’s body was discovered in a wooded area off the trail.

Related: Mother’s Disturbing Statements During Traffic Stop Lead To Reveal Of 3-Year-Old Daughter’s Killing

On Tuesday evening, Chippewa Falls Police Chief Matthew Kelm revealed in a press conference that an arrest had been made in the case. According to the Star Tribune, he said:

“First and most importantly, earlier this evening, we arrested a juvenile suspect in this case. The suspect was not a stranger. The suspect was known to the victim. While nothing will bring back Lily Peters, we are grateful to deliver the news of an arrest to the family.”

Authorities did not reveal the name, age, or gender of the suspect, nor how the suspect and Lily knew each other. (At one point of the press conference, Kelm let slip of the suspect that “he is in custody.”) It did not appear that charges have yet been filed against the suspect, as Kelm stated that the Chippewa County District Attorney’s Office will decide what charges to file. He did express:

“I’m confident that there’s no further danger to the community at this time.”

A search warrant for “information tied to the killing” was executed, and Kelm confirmed that “Evidence was collected, and additional interviews were conducted,” though he did not elaborate as to the nature of that evidence. He also noted that police had received more than 200 tips about the case, adding:

“These tips were critical to solving this case.”

Beyond the tips, the community has banded together in the midst of this tragedy. A memorial was quickly erected at Parkview Elementary, the school which Lily attended as a fourth grader.

During the press conference, Kelm admitted:

“As you can imagine, our first responders are tremendously impacted by anything that impacts one of our children, so it is very difficult for them, and the investigators.”

Related: Suspect Identified In Cold Case Of Missing Toddler Madeleine McCann 15 Years Later

Kelm requested the community continue to avoid “the crime scene,” the walking path and wooded area in which Lily’s body had been discovered. The cause of death has not yet been confirmed, pending the conclusion of the autopsy. The police chief said:

“There is still much work to be done. Our thoughts continue to be with the family during this terrible time. We would ask everyone to keep them in their thoughts and protect their privacy as they grieve.”

What an awful tragedy. Our hearts go out to Lily’s family and community.


[Image via Chippewa Falls Police Department]

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Apr 27, 2022 07:50am PDT