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Juvenile arrested in death of 10-year-old Wisconsin girl

The child's body was found on Monday morning near Leinenkugel Brewing Co.

US-NEWS-WIS-GIRLKILLED-MCT
Iliana “Lily” Peters.
Courtesy / Chippewa Falls Police Department / TNS
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CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. — A juvenile has been arrested in the death of 10-year-old Iliana "Lily" Peters, and Chippewa Falls Police Chief Matt Kelm is confident there are no other suspects in the case.

Kelm wouldn't say the age or sex of the suspect, but he added the person was not a stranger to Peters.

"While nothing will bring Lily back, we're very grateful we are able to bring this news to the community," Kelm said during a Tuesday evening news conference at the Chippewa Falls Fire Station.

More than 200 tips were called in to the police department since the agency opened a tip line Monday morning, Kelm said. The line will remain active through noon Tuesday.

"These tips were critical in solving this case," Kelm said.

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A search warrant was performed at 422 N. Grove St. and evidence was collected, but Kelm declined to elaborate.

"There is still much work to be done," he said.

Kelm praised his officers and all the assistance from surrounding law enforcement agencies that have been in town helping to work the case.

"We had over 70 officers working this case, just today," he said.

It is unclear where the suspect is being held. He reiterated there are no other suspects.

"I'm confident there is no danger to the community," Kelm said.

Chippewa County District Attorney Wade Newell has discussed the case with the officers, but didn't want to comment on what type of charges he would be seeking.

"I'll wait until I get all the information in front of me," Newell said when contacted Tuesday night, after the news conference. "I want to wait until the investigation is complete."

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However, Newell praised the law enforcement agencies for resolving the case so quickly.

"I appreciate the fact the community no longer has to be concerned about their safety," he said.

The community was rattled by Peters' death, as evident by their comments Tuesday, prior to news of an arrest.

Gary Gilles of Chippewa Falls has a daughter who is a fourth-grader at Parkview Elementary. He picked her up at the bus stop Monday afternoon, took her home, and talked to her about Peters' death.

"I sat her down and gave her a big hug," Gilles said Tuesday. "I didn't know if she knew (Peters). I told her we didn't know all the details. It was a very tough conversation to have with a 10-year-old girl. I told her I'm here to protect her. As you can imagine, (Monday) was a whirlwind. I didn't sleep well (Monday) night."

Gilles said his daughter is in a different fourth-grade class at Parkview than Peters' class, but the students all interact and know each other. On Monday, before Peters' body was found, students made cards for her and placed them on her desk.

People across Chippewa Falls were mourning the death of Peters, who was found Monday morning on a trail near Leinenkugel Brewing Co. Kelm has not yet divulged details of what caused her death.

There are makeshift memorials around Chippewa Falls, including in front of Parkview Elementary and on a bridge next to Leinenkugel's. Violet bows were placed outside several businesses downtown.

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Terry Ness, 67, who lives on Lake Wissota, played with his 4-year-old granddaughter, Chloe, in Irvine Park on Tuesday.

"It's just sad," Ness said. "I don't know what you can say to the family."

Ness noted that police have recommended picking up children from school and not let them out of your sight.

"I try to keep a close eye on her, because they can move quickly," Ness said.

(c)2022 the Leader-Telegram (Eau Claire, Wis.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Related Topics: CRIME AND COURTSWISCONSIN
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