On Sunday, April 24th, Iliana ‘Lily’ Peters was spending time at her aunt’s house in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, just blocks from her own home, later that night she would be reported missing, tragically the next morning she would be found deceased.
When Lily did not return home by 9p.m, her father, Alex Peters, reported her missing. It has been stated that Lily left her aunt’s house around 4 or 5p.m, this however has not been confirmed by police.
The bike ride from Lily’s aunt’s house in the 400 block of Grove St., to get to her own home, on the 50th block of Birch St., should have only taken her a few minutes.
Officers located Lily’s bike in the woods near a walking trail at the end of N. Grove St. and the Leinenkugel’s brewery parking lot. Leinenkugel’s is a local brewery and tourist attraction.
At this time, numerous agencies were called in to help with the search for Lily. The woods were searched by K-9 teams from the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Office and Chippewa Falls Police Department, and a Sheriff’s Office drone was deployed as part of the search. Search teams also went door-to-door through the night.
It wasn’t until around 9:15a.m Monday morning that they would find her body located in a wooded area near the walking trail.
At a noon press conference, Chippewa Police said they are considering Lily’s death to be a homicide.
“At this point, we are considering this a homicide investigation,” Police Chief Matt Kelm said at a news conference early Monday afternoon attended by WQOW-TV. “We do not have anyone in custody at this time, and we are continuing to follow up on multiple leads.”
In a second news conference around 5p.m, Kelm declined to say what evidence at the scene led investigators to conclude Lily’s death was a case of homicide, but said the conclusion was quickly made “once we located the deceased.”
He also would not reveal what time Lily left her aunt’s home or any other details about the timeline from Lily’s last known whereabouts to when her body was discovered.
No one has been arrested in connection to Lily’s murder. Chief Kelm says because no one is in custody, Chippewa Falls residents should remain vigilant and call the tip line set up for the case with any information or suspicious activity, as the public may be in danger.
Chippewa Falls Area Unified School District administrators are recommending that parents pick up and drop off their students that normally walk at their schools while the homicide investigation continues. The school’s administration has also requested additional law enforcement presence at its schools and neighborhoods.
On Tuesday, April 26th, a large police presence was spotted at Lily’s aunt’s house. This information comes from WQOW.
“News 18 has a reporter near North Grove Street, which is where Lily went missing after leaving her aunt’s home the same street Sunday night. Authorities said that was on the 400-block of the street. The address of the house that police went into an hour ago is 422 North Grove Street. The News 18 reporter on the scene has not seen anyone being arrested, or sitting in the back of a police car. It appears whatever happened here is already over, and police are not in rushing about and there doesn’t seem to be any sense of urgency.”WQOW
At a 6:30p.m press conference it was announced that a juvenile suspect was arrested and taken into custody in connection with her murder. Police did not name the suspect nor say if they were related to Lily but said they were known to her. No additional details were released.
422 N. Grove St. was blocked off by crime scene tape and evidence bags were seen being carried out. The wooded area that Lily’s body was found is also still considered a crime scene.
A bond hearing was held on Wednesday, April 27th for the 14 year old suspect, his initials were listed as C. P-B, which are the initials of one of Lily’s cousins. A cash bond was set at $1 million dollars.
He is facing 3 charges, 1st-degree intentional homicide, 1st-degree sexual assault and 1st-degree sexual assault of a child under the age of 13 resulting in great bodily harm. Two of the charges carry a maximum of life in prison.
According to the D.A., the suspect left his house with the intent of raping and killing Lily. He punched her in the stomach, knocked her down, hit her with a stick, strangled and then sexually assaulted her.
If released on bond, the suspect is not to have any contact with juveniles, not permitted to be around weapons, he is however allowed to have supervised visits with his juvenile siblings. He is being tried in adult court.
Preliminary autopsy results for Lily’s death were released on Thursday, April 28th.
According to Chippewa County coroner Ron Patten, the preliminary results show Peters died from blunt force trauma and strangulation, and the manner of death was a homicide.
Patten said he will not have the completed autopsy results until he receives more information from the state crime lab as well as the toxicology report. He said this can take up to six weeks.