Originally published April 26
CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WCCO) — Police say a juvenile suspect is in custody in connection to the death of 10-year-old Illiana “Lily” Peters in western Wisconsin.READ MORE: Lily Peters, Missing Wis. Girl, Found Dead; Police Investigating As Homicide
Chippewa Falls Police Chief Matt Kelm said the boy was arrested early Tuesday evening somewhere in the city. He says a search warrant was executed at a residence on the 400 block of North Grove Street. The property is owned by Lily’s aunt. The boy’s identity has not been released.
According to the Chippewa County District Attorney, there’s a bond hearing for the suspect at 1 p.m. Wednesday.
“The suspect was not a stranger. The suspect was known to the victim,” Kelm said. “We do not believe there is any danger to the community at this time.”
Lily was last seen leaving her aunt’s home on Sunday, en route to her father’s home nearby. Her father called police about 9 p.m. Sunday after she failed to return home. Lily’s body was found at about 9:15 a.m. Monday by a walking trail behind Leinenkugel’s Brewery, which is near both residences.
Kelm says “additional interviews were conducted” at the residence, and evidence was collected. A WCCO crew saw residents of the home waiting in the yard late Tuesday afternoon, as police had the street blocked off. Investigators were seen taking pictures and searching the property. The home was still wrapped in caution tape late Tuesday night.
WCCO spoke to one man who lives down the block from the home. He said police activity on the street woke him and his wife up at 3 a.m.
The sense of relief in the Chippewa Falls community is substantial. The arrest represents a step toward justice for Lily.
“I do feel sorry, my sympathy is to the family. The little girl, I’ve seen her around. It’s a small town. It’s a good town, Chippewa Falls,” said resident Lance Nicolai.
“When something senseless like this happens, we become strong and we’re going to grow as a community,” resident Bobby Purcell said.
Two memorials to Lily stand proud, and purple ribbons drape every light post downtown.
The school district is offering counselors and therapy dogs for students, and elementary school classes made time for kids to ask their teachers questions. As everyone in town, and beyond, works to cope with a senseless tragedy.
“Our thoughts continue to be with the family through this terrible time,” Kelm said.