Prosecutor says suspect planned to rape and kill Lily Peters
A preliminary autopsy has found that 10-year-old Liliana “Lily” Peters suffered blunt force trauma and strangulation with her death being ruled a homicide.
Chippewa County Coroner Ron Patten confirmed the details to The Independent on Thursday, saying that the full autopsy report is not expected for several more weeks.
The preliminary findings support the version of events presented in court on Wednesday, where a 14-year-old boy was held on $1m bond on charges of first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree sexual assault, and first-degree sexual assault of a child under the age 13 resulting in great bodily harm.
Prosecutors said the teenager, who knew his victim, led Lily along a walking trail near her aunt’s house where he allegedly punched her in the stomach, knocked her to the ground, hit her with a stick and strangled her before sexually assaulting her.
The teenager, referred to by his initials C P-B, allegedly confessed to police that “his intention was to rape and kill the victim from the get-go” when they left Lily’s aunt’s house together on Sunday.
Lily was reported missing by her father that night and her body was discovered on Monday morning close to the trail.
Everything we know about the death of 10-year-old Lily Peters
The death of 10-year-old Iliana “Lily” Peters and the arrest of a 14-year-old boy for her murder has shocked the small, tight-knit community of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, this week.
Lily was found dead on Monday morning in a wooded area close to a walking trail by the Leinenkugel’s brewery.
The fourth-grade student had been reported missing by her father at around 9pm on Sunday after she failed to return from her aunt’s house on North Grove Street to her own home on East Birch Street.
Here’s everything we know so far about the case:
Rachel Sharp28 April 2022 22:10
US Senate candidate describes Lily Peters’ case as ‘every parent’s worst nightmare’
US Senate candidate Sarah Godlewski has described the murder of Lily Peters as “every parent’s worst nightmare” and said that her “heart” is with the young girl’s family at this time.
“This is every parent’s worst nightmare. My heart is with the family and friends of Lily Peters—and the entire Chippewa Falls community,” she tweeted on Thursday afternoon.
“Western Wisconsinites are resilient and will pull together to overcome this horrific tragedy.”
Ms Godlewski is currently the Wisconsin Treasurer and is running as a Democratic candidate in the US Senate election for Wisconsin.
Rachel Sharp28 April 2022 21:40
Neighbours recall seeing Lily Peters playing outside aunt’s house on day she died
Neighbours recalled seeing Lily Peters playing with one of her cousins outside her aunt’s home just hours before she was killed.
Jeremy Machnik lives on the same street as Lily’s aunt – North Grove Street in Chippewa Falls.
Mr Machnik told Fox9 earlier this week – prior to the suspect’s arrest – that he saw the 10-year-old girl rollerblading along the street between 1pm and 3pm on Sunday afternoon.
She was with one of her cousins who was playing on a hoverboard and they appeared to be having fun, he said.
“Between about 1 and 3[pm], one of her cousins was on a hoverboard, he had his hands behind his back and she was on rollerblades holding on,” he said.
“And they were scooting down the street just laughing.”
Sometime later that day, Lily left her aunt’s house with her 14-year-old alleged killer and they went along a nearby walking trail, according to prosecutors.
There, the suspect allegedly attacked, punching and strangling the 10-year-old before sexually assaulting her.
At 9pm that night, Lily’s father reported her missing when she failed to return home from her aunt’s house.
Her body was discovered the next morning close to the trail.
Prosecutors said the suspect intended to rape and murder his victim when they left the house.
Rachel Sharp28 April 2022 21:10
Suspect will appear in court next week
The teenager accused of strangling and sexually assaulting Lily Peters is scheduled to next appear in court at 3.30pm CT on Thursday 5 May.
The hearing is to make decisions around the defence counsel assigned to the defendant going forwards.
The 14-year-old is expected to appear remotely for the hearing.
Rachel Sharp28 April 2022 20:40
Police dispel rumour about arrest in Lily Peters’ case
Police have dispelled a rumour circulating that a student in Altoona was arrested in connection to Lily Peters’ murder.
On Wednesday, Altoona Police Department released a statement saying that claims about an arrest in the Wisconsin city – that is roughly 12 miles from Chippewa Falls – are untrue and urging people not to add to the “spread of inaccurate information”.
“It is my understanding there have been rumors regarding the Altoona Police Department arresting an Altoona student in relation to the homicide of 10-year-old Iliana (Lily) Peters,” the statement read.
“The Altoona Police Department has NOT made any arrests in connection to this case.
“There are NO Altoona students involved in the homicide of Peters. Please do not contribute to the spread of inaccurate information; it is not helpful to the case, the family, or anyone else. Respectfully, Chief Kelly Bakken.”
Rachel Sharp28 April 2022 20:10
What happens if the case moves to juvenile court
Despite being a juvenile, the suspect is currently charged in adult court for Lily Peters’ murder and sexual assault.
This is because, under Wisconsin law, a first-degree homicide case must begin in adult court.
It can later move to juvenile court if the suspect’s defence team filed a petition with the court to do so and the judge grants the request.
The prosecution can object to the case being moved.
Here’s what to expect if the case is moved to juvenile court:
– The case will be sealed
– The suspect, even if convicted, will not be sentenced
– The suspect will serve a supervised sentence at a juvenile detention centre or other facility rather than an adult prison
– The suspect could be released when he turns 18, rather than face life in prison on the charges in adult court
Rachel Sharp28 April 2022 19:40
Expert urges local parents to talk with children about killing
A local psychiatrist is urging parents to talk with their children about the murder of Lily Peters.
Alison Jones, a psychiatrist at Marshfield Clinic in Eau Claire, told WEAU that it is important for parents to speak to their children about what happened or they may look for information – and find less accurate information – elsewhere.
She recommended speaking to their children about safety in the community and what to do if they need help in a situation.
Ms Jones also urged parents to keep a close eye for any changes in behaviour among their children which could be a sign that they are struggling with what happened.
“Kids asking more questions, really perseverating or getting stuck on details about the event or even other things that are happening in their lives,” she said.
“Maybe being more clingy or wanting to attach to their family or not wanting to go out of the home without their parents.”
Rachel Sharp28 April 2022 19:10
Map of Lily Peters’ route home and where her body was found
The initial search for Lily Peters was launched on Sunday night when she left her aunt’s home on North Grove Street and failed to return to her home on East Birch Street.
Taking the most direct route, the journey is a roughly six-minute walk or two-minute cycle.
Her body was discovered in a wooded area close to the Duncan Creek Trail, near the Leinenkugel’s Brewery, on Monday morning.
Prosecutors said the suspect has admitted to leaving the home with Lily and heading along the walking trail together.
He then allegedly attacked the 10-year-old, strangling her before sexually assaulting her.
Pictured: Map showing Lily’s aunt’s address at North Grove Street, her home at East Birch Street and the Leinenkugel brewery close to where her body was found
Rachel Sharp28 April 2022 18:40
What we know about the suspect
The suspect charged with the murder of Lily Peters is a 14-year-old boy who police said was known to the 10-year-old victim.
Because of his age and the sensitivity of the case, Chippewa County Court on Wednesday ordered that the suspect’s name must not be released and that he cannot be filmed during court appearanaces.
Instead, the suspect is known only by his initials C P-B.
Officials have refused to say if he is related to Lily but have confirmed that they knew each other.
According to prosecutors, the teenager admitted in statements to law enforcement that “his intention was to rape and kill the victim from the get-go” when they left a house together and headed down a nearby walking trail.
Lily was last seen alive at her aunt’s house on North Grove Street on Sunday before she left to return to her home at East Birch Street. Her body was discovered on Monday morning in a wooded area close to a nearby walking trail.
Prosecutors said the suspect told officers he and the victim left the home together and headed along the walking trial.
There, he allegedly punched Lily in the stomach, knocked her to the ground, hit her with a stick, strangled her “to the point of death” and sexually assaulted her.
Police arrested the suspect after carrying out a search warrant at the aunt’s home on Tuesday, where they collected evidence and carried out interviews.
Officials have refused to confirm if the boy lives at the address.
The defence team said in court on Wednesday that he is an eighth-grade student who has lived in Chippewa Falls with his mother his whole life.
The 14-year-old has been charged with first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree sexual asssualt, and first-degree sexual asssualt of a child under age 13 resulting in great bodily harm.
If convicted as an adult, he faces up to life in prison on the charges.
Rachel Sharp28 April 2022 18:10
Autopsy findings support allegations killer hit and strangled victim
The findings of a preliminary autopsy on the body of Lily Peters support the version of events presented in court on Wednesday.
Chippewa County Coroner Ron Patten told The Independent that preliminary autopsy findings confirmed that the 10-year-old’s death was a homicide and that she was strangled and suffered blunt force trauma in the attack.
In court on Wednesday, prosecutors revealed details about how Lily died for the first time.
Chippewa County District Attorney Wade Newell said that the suspect led Lily along a walking trail where he punched her in the stomach, knocked her to the ground, hit her with a stick and strangled her.
He then sexually assaulted the 10-year-old child, the prosecutor said.
DA Newell told the court that the suspect confessed that “his intention was to rape and kill the victim from the get-go”.
Rachel Sharp28 April 2022 17:38