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Missing 10-Year-Old Wisconsin Girl Found Dead in Wooded Area Near Walking Trail, Police Say

Iliana 'Lily' M. Peters in a photo released by police.

Iliana ‘Lily’ M. Peters in a photo released by police.

A missing 10-year-old girl was found dead Monday, and though a police chief released little information, he voiced concern there could be an active danger to the public. Cops in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, did not specify how they believe fourth grader Iliana “Lily” M. Peters, 10, died.

Her father reported her missing on Sunday and said she did not return from visiting her aunt’s house in the 400 block of N. Grove St., police initially announced. Relatives last saw her in the evening.

“She was supposed to be heading home to the 50 block of E. Birch St.,” police said. “Officers and family checked the area and contacted family and friends, but she was not located.”

Officers said, however, that a bicycle believed to be hers was found in the woods near the aunt’s home. It was near a walking trail between the end of N. Grove St. and the parking lot of Leinenkugel brewery.

Authorities said they were out in force, getting K9 teams and a drone for help in searching for Peters. First responders performed door to door canvasing overnight, they said. And yet, at the time, police said Peters’ case did not meet the criteria for an AMBER Alert.

The situation shifted tragically Monday.

“At about 9:15 am this morning, a body was located in the wooded area near the walking trail in that area,” said Chief Matthew Kelm, referring to where they discovered the bike. “The Chippewa County Coroner’s Office has now confirmed this is the body of Lily Peters. At this point we are considering this a homicide investigation. We do not have anyone in custody and are continuing to follow up on multiple leads.”

Kelm declined to give more details, citing the integrity of the ongoing investigation. Police did not announce any suspects.

“We encourage anyone with information to please contact the Chippewa Falls Police Department and to maintain a state of vigilance as there may be a danger to the public,” Kelm said.

Children on bikes and people exercising use the path all the time, neighbors said in a WKBT report.

Lily biked there often and played on the street near the trail, said people who knew her.

“I see her and her cousins all the time, either biking, rollerblading, on a hoverboard going up and down the street,” local man Jeremy Machnik told the news outlet. “They sled in the back hill of our yard, and she’s always happy, but yeah, it’s just a very, very sad situation.”

Police set up a dedicated tip line at 1 (800) 263-5906.

[Image via Chippewa Police Department]

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