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Wisconsin police announced Tuesday night the arrest of a juvenile suspect in the shocking death of a missing 10-year-old girl found murdered near her aunt’s home.
Chippewa Falls Police Chief Matthew Kelm said the suspect was not a stranger and community advice led to the arrest.
“First and foremost, earlier tonight we arrested a minor suspect in this case,” he said at a 6:30 p.m. local time press briefing. “The suspect was not a stranger. The suspect was known to the victim. We do not believe there is a danger to the community at this time.”
Liliana “Lily” Peters, 10, was reported missing by her father around 9 p.m. Sunday after failing to return from her aunt’s house on North Grove Street, according to Kelm. Police served a search warrant at 422 North Grove Street on Tuesday, the chief said. Public records indicate the address has been linked to his relatives.
Kelm wouldn’t say if the suspect was arrested at the same address or linked to Lily at her press conference.
LILY PETERS KILLING: CHIPPEWA FALLS POLICE INCREASE SCHOOL PATROLS, WARN PARENTS TO BE VIGILANT
The chief declined to answer questions about the suspect’s age and gender, but appeared to drop a clue later in his briefing when asked where the suspect was being held.
“I don’t know where the suspect is at this time, but he is in custody,” Kelm said.
Her announcement on Tuesday followed local reports of a massive police presence in the North Grove Street area near the famous Leinenkugel brewery, where officers had previously found the girl’s bicycle and, possibly, her remains. .
They found the girl’s body around 9.15am on Monday and quickly ruled her death a homicide. Surrounding police departments, sheriff’s offices, state investigators, and the FBI quickly offered manpower and other assistance to the Chippewa Police.
Law enforcement sources told Fox News Digital on Tuesday that investigators had received more than 150 tips and were screening them against numerous people of interest. Kelm said that number had grown to more than 200 and credited the public’s help in solving the case.
MISSING 10-YEAR-OLD WISCONSIN GIRL FOUND DEAD, POLICE OPEN HOMICIDE INVESTIGATION
The community of about 13,000 people came together, hanging purple ribbons around town along with messages of support for Lily’s family, according to Teri Ouimette, executive director of Chippewa Falls Main Street, an organization in non-profit organization focused on improving the quality of life in the community. . Purple was Lily’s favorite color.
Local businesses have also started selling badges and stickers to help raise funds, and her family is accepting donations through GoFundMe.
“We got the ribbons, posted a message on Facebook for the volunteers, ‘Here’s what we’re going to do with it for everyone, come along,'” Ouimette said. “Well, they did, and the ribbons were in place within, you know, 15 minutes.”
Ouimette told Fox News Digital that she has a grown daughter but young nieces and nephews, and the children are often spotted playing outside on the streets of the community.
“IIt affects everyone,” she said.
Chippewa Falls, although a small, quiet community, has faced tragedy before. In 2005, a school bus accident killed five people, including a group director and his 11-year-old granddaughter, and injured 30 others. And more recently, three Girl Scouts and a young mother were killed when a drunk driver rammed them as they were clearing rubbish along the road.
Police had warned that after Lily’s murder there may still be an active danger to the public. They announced an increase in patrols around depots and school pickups on Tuesday morning and urged the community “to maintain a state of vigilance” as they search for a killer.
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Anyone with information about the case is asked to call police at 1-800-263-5906.