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A PRELIMINARY autopsy found that Liliana “Lily” Peters suffered blunt force trauma and strangulation, and a suspect has been arrested in the case.
Chippewa Falls police also arrested a suspect in the case — a 14-year-old boy who allegedly sexually assaulted and strangled her to death.
At a court hearing where a $1million bond was handed down for the suspect, District Attorney Wade Newell said of the juvenile male that his intention was to “rape and kill her from the get-go.”
“While nothing will bring Lily Peters back, or change what happened, we are very grateful to be able to deliver this news for the family and for the community,” said Chippewa Falls Police Chief Matt Kelm.
Lily was riding her bike four blocks from her aunt’s house to her house, but the little girl never arrived and her father reported her missing.
Read our Lily Peters live blog for the latest updates…
What did the suspect say in court?
The teen suspect said in comments to police authorities that “his intention was to rape and kill the victim from the get-go” when he and the victim left a residence together and proceeded down a nearby walking trail, per the Daily Beast.
Where was Lily when she went missing?
Lily was at her aunt’s house on North Grove Street and failed to return to her home on East Birch Street the day she went missing.
Is the case in adult court?
Despite being a minor, the suspect is facing adult charges for the murder and sexual abuse of Lily Peters because a first-degree homicide prosecution in Wisconsin must begin in adult court, according to Kare11.
If the suspect’s defense team files a petition with the court and the judge grants the request, the case will be transferred to juvenile court.
US Senate candidate speaks up
Democrat Sarah Godlewski, who is running for US Senate, took to Twitter to speak on Lily’s death.
“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 wrote.
Lily’s mother slams internet trolls, continued
Since the news of Lily’s death, which police instantly declared a homicide, Eyerly and her family have been scrutinized.
Trolls have questioned her parenting, speculated on what they would have done or not done if Lily had been her kid, and offered their own hypotheses to fill in the blanks.
Lily’s mother slams internet trolls
Hours after learning her daughter had reportedly been killed by a minor, the mother of a deceased 10-year-old slammed online trolls for “judging her family.”
Lily’s mother Jennifer Eyerly said in a social media post: “What makes zero sense is how quickly you judge my family based on a timeline and assumptions u (sic) can only speculate on since its privy to the investigation that those details not be released.
“As Lily’s mother, I can only say I am ashamed of you folks out there judging us from behind a screen!
“I hope you never ever endure this kind of heartache! If you cannot offer kindness, don’t offer anything. My daughter was kind!
“If you truly want to be part of bringing justice … you can do right by my daughter and model something she lived by …. kindness!”
Who was Lily Peters?
Lily was a fourth-grader at Parkview Elementary School.
Police have ruled her death a homicide after finding the child’s body in a wooded area Monday morning.
When to expect completed autopsy results
The completed autopsy in the Lily Peters case is expected to be released in six to eight weeks with additional tests, including DNA samples and evidence about the alleged sexual assault.
A preliminary autopsy report found that she suffered blunt force trauma and was strangled in the attack.
Lily Peters ‘laughing and playing’ before death
Lily Peters was seen laughing and playing hours before she died earlier this week.
Jeremy Machnik, who lives on Grove Street near Lily’s aunt’s home, told Fox 9 he saw the child laughing and rollerblading between 1pm and 3pm, just hours before she was reported missing.
Death found to be a homicide
Chippewa County Coroner Ron Patten told The Independent that preliminary autopsy findings confirmed Lily Peters’ death was a homicide.
She suffered blunt force trauma and strangulation when she was attacked, sexually assaulted, and killed.
Lily Peters suffered blunt force trauma and strangulation when she was attacked and sexually assaulted by her killer, according to a preliminary autopsy, The Independent reported.
Suspect could face life in prison
If convicted of the allegations, the minor accused of killing 10-year-old Lily Peters faces life in prison.
If the suspect is prosecuted in adult court, according to the Independent, he risks a maximum sentence of life in prison for homicide, 60 years for sexual assault, and life in prison for sexual assault of a child.
Online true crime groups, part three
Those theories or unhelpful tips can end up being a waste of valuable time and resources when trying to solve real cases in the real world.
“But getting the info out and making people aware is important,” Coffindaffer said.
Online true crime groups, continued
“Generally speaking, it can be positive,” Coffindaffer said.
“So many people have given up on the news, and the way they get their information is on social media.”
“So it’s vital that these cases are represented on social media. You raise awareness and keep cases hot and that’s crucial to keeping police involved,” she added.
The former FBI agent said there’s always a flip side to everything, however. For example: when police receive outlandish theories or uncorroborated hypotheses that lead to dead ends.
Online true crime groups
Web sleuths and social media crime groups have seemingly exploded in popularity since the Gabby Petito/Brian Laundrie saga gripped the nation last year.
Facebook groups like True Crime Replay and True Crime Sisters and Twitter users like @Nerdy_Addict bring attention to missing persons cases and crimes and serve as a funnel for clues and theories for victims’ families and potential clues in ongoing cases.
There are hundreds of similar accounts on every social media platform, which former FBI agent Jennifer Coffindaffer said has been crucial in today’s criminal cases.
‘We probably won’t ever know’
Angela Osment, who spoke to The Sun about the Reddit post that may have led to an arrest in the Lily Peters case and called the police about it, said, “I would love to know if the tip led to the arrest.”
“We probably won’t ever know, but it’s amazing to think that someone like me in Virginia can help a tragic case in Wisconsin.”
The minor faces charges of first-degree intentional killing, first-degree sexual assault, and first-degree sexual assault resulting in serious bodily damage to a child under the age of 13.
Two of the three counts, according to District Attorney Wade Newell, carry a possible sentence of life in prison.
‘It breaks my heart’
The original poster didn’t respond to The Sun’s Reddit message for comment, but he did speak to independent reporter Katie Smith.
Smith was one of the people who called the tip in and wrote about her interaction in a story: A Reddit Thread, Followed by a Body: The Murder of Lily Peters.
“Ever since that day I can’t stop thinking, ‘Was that girl I saw Iliana,’ and I’ll never really know,” HomesliceNation4 told Smith.
“But it breaks my heart something like this would happen.”
Reddit post may have led to arrest, part four
“So I took it upon myself to call the police. What shocked me was, 19 minutes later, I got a call from a restricted number and I picked it up,” Osment revealed.
“It was the detective and he just thanked me for calling the tip in and sending over the screenshots and said he just wanted to let me know that they were working on it.”
Most of the thread has since been deleted, but the original Reddit poster said in a post on Tuesday night that he wasn’t arrested and was not a suspect.
Reddit post may have led to arrest, part three
“This person places themselves at the scene and could possibly have been the last person to see Lily alive or he could possibly be the one that did something to her,” Osment added.
“We had so many questions,” she said, referring to all the Reddit crime sleuths who saw the post.
Dozens of people asked the original Reddit user if he called the police but there was no response.
“We wanted to know who was the person you saw her with? What was he wearing? How tall? How old? But then he wasn’t answering,” Osment said.
Reddit post may have led to arrest, continued
Web sleuths on Reddit jumped on the post and “saw everything playing out right in front of them,” Angela Osment told The Sun Wednesday morning.
Osment was one of the first — if not the first — to call the police with the tip about the post along with screenshots.
“When I saw the post and saw that the original poster wasn’t responding, I just thought it was something that should be called in,” she said.
Reddit post may have led to arrest
A Reddit post may have led to the arrest of the suspect in the Lily Peters case.
An anonymous Reddit user completely changed the narrative with one post on the site.
“What’s scary is I was playing Pokemon Go in the park that day walking along that very same trial (sic),” the Reddit user said in a post responding to a story about Lily’s death.
“My stomach turns when I think that I saw that girl in a pink/purple hoodie on her bike with another kid on my way out. I have a suspicion that it could be another kid that did it.”
How old is the suspect?
The minor accused of murdering 10-year-old Lily Peters is 14 years old.
Suspect to return to court
The suspect in the Lily Peters’ case has another court date set for next month.
He is due back in court on May 5, at 3.30pm.