Police in Wisconsin have launched a manhunt after a 10-year-old girl who went missing on Sunday night was found dead along a walking trail a day later. Lily Peters was discovered in a forested area near a brewery parking lot not far from her aunt's home in Chippewa Falls on Monday morning, according to police.
The Chippewa County Coroner's Office confirmed the remains were Peters'. Officers believe Peters was last seen by family members the night of her disappearance, according to the CFPD release. Police have also recovered a bicycle that belongs to Peters on Sunday night after she was reported missing by her father.
Killed for No Reason
According to the Chippewa Falls Police Department, Iliana Peters, also known as Lily, was found dead in woodland near Chippewa Falls, northeast of Eau Claire, around 9:15 am on Monday. Her father reported her missing when she failed to return home after meeting family on Sunday night.
Her father said that Lily had gone to her aunt's house on Sunday evening, which is nearby. The girl was a fourth-grader at the town's Parkview Elementary School.
After her father reported her missing, police launched a search operation. Chippewa Falls police took assistance from a number of organizations, including K9 teams and drone operators, to aid in the hunt. Lily's location and the circumstances surrounding her death, according to the chief, were terrible for everyone involved.
Cold Blooded Murder
Chippewa Falls Police Chief Matt Kelm said on Monday afternoon that Peters' disappearance was being investigated as a homicide. During the news conference, Kelm cried up as he reported Peters' death.
"The Chippewa County Coroner's Office has now confirmed that this is the body of Iliana Peters," Chippewa Falls Police Chief Matthew Kelm said at a press conference.
"At this point, we are considering this a homicide investigation."
Peters' devasted family is still clueless about how someone could murder a girl, who had no enemies. They have launched a manhunt but have no suspects in mind as of yet.
"The simple fact is that we have not made an arrest in this case, so the suspect is still at large," he said. "So in that case, we just want to be extra vigilant and make sure that if there are any tips, anyone has any information, to go ahead and call that tip line."
According to Kelm, Peters' family is working with victim advocates, and the Chippewa Falls Area Unified School District, where Peters attended fourth grade, said they are "working closely with the authorities" in a Facebook post.
"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," said Jeff Holmes, superintendent of the Chippewa Falls Area Unified School District.
Holmes told families "we feel that it is important for you to know about what we may share at this time. We do not plan to formally announce what happened, as we are not privy to those details â we believe that law enforcement needs to be the ones to decide what or how much to share in that regard."