Missing Wisconsin Girl Found Dead Blocks From Her Home After Leaving Her Aunt's House to Bike Home
Ten-year-old Iliana "Lily" Peters vanished Sunday night after leaving her aunt's house to bike home.
A 10-year-old Wisconsin girl who vanished Sunday night while riding home on her bike has been discovered dead in the woods just blocks from her house. Authorities warned parents to be vigilant and to drop off and pick up their children from school.
The heartbreaking discovery was made Monday morning by investigators who searched through the night for Iliana "Lily" Peters, a fourth grade student in Chippewa Falls.
The child's father reported her missing at 9 p.m. when she failed to return home from her aunt's house, police said.
“We do not have anyone in custody,” Chippewa Falls Police Chief Matt Kelm said in a Monday press conference. He told people in the western Wisconsin community to remain vigilant. “The suspect is still at large,” Chief Kelm said.
On Tuesday, police told parents to expect officers patrolling local schools, and advised parents to drive their children to and from school.
“The Chippewa County Coroner’s Office has now confirmed that this is the body of Iliana Peters,” Kelm said at the press conference. “At this point, we are considering this a homicide investigation.”
Police would not say what led them to classify the death as a homicide.
The girl's body was found not far from her bicycle, near a walking path.
"The people of our community are honest, hardworking and kindhearted," Kelm said. "It is almost impossible to believe that something this horrific could happen in our city, and an event like this threatens our sense of security. However, I believe we will come together as a community to overcome this fear."
Linda Schultz and her husband, Edward Glad, of Chippewa Falls stopped to honor Lily on Monday night. "We didn't know her. We were driving past and I said to him, 'Do you want to do something?' " Schultz told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "It's so hard to fathom that this could happen in our quiet little town."
"It's just so heartbreaking," Glad said.
School district officials sent a letter to students' families on Monday.
Superintendent Jeff Holmes advised parents to not let their children walk to school. Instead, they should "be picked up and dropped off by trusted family members or friends until further notice. Our buildings are on high alert; however, law enforcement has not indicated the need to consider lockdown settings at this time."
Anyone with information is asked to call 1-800-263-5906.
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