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Lily Peters killing: Judge sets $1M bond for 14-year-old suspect charged as adult in girl’s shocking death

Lily Peters killing: Judge sets $1M bond for 14-year-old suspect charged as adult in girl's shocking death

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Wisconsin 10-year-old Lily Peters was sexually assaulted after her strangling death at the hands of a boy four years her senior earlier this week, prosecutors revealed in a harrowing bond hearing Wednesday afternoon.

The 14-year-old suspect has been charged as an adult, prosecutors told Fox News Digital.

Judge Benjamin Lane agreed to prosecutors’ request to set bond at $1 million and ordered the defendant to avoid contact with minors, except his siblings, so long as such contact is supervised.

Prosecutors identified the suspect through his initials and only as a 14-year-old boy and alleged that the eighth-grader admitted to physically assaulting the child before strangling her to death and then sexually assaulting her.

“Protection of [the] community also is necessary in this case given his statements regarding his intentions and his statements regarding that when he did get off the trail, he punched the victim in the stomach, knocked her to the ground, essentially strangled her, hit her with a stick, before strangling her to the point of death — before he then sexually assaulted her,” Chippewa County District Attorney Wade Newell told the judge at the bond hearing.

Liliana “Lily” Peters, 10, was reported missing in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, around 9 p.m. Sunday, according to Matthew Kelm, the city’s police chief.
(Chippewa Falls Police Department)

Attorneys for the teen suspect requested $100,000 cash bond, arguing he is not a flight risk due to him being too young to drive.

The suspect was being held in a juvenile detention facility and appeared in court remotely.

Speaking to reporters after the hearing, Newell said the charges against the teen suspect were first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree sexual assault and first-degree sexual assault with a child under age 13 resulting in great bodily harm.

In Wisconsin, homicide defendants above the age of 10 years old can be tried in adult court, but the DA said it was “premature” to say whether that would be the case in this situation.


His office separately told Fox News Digital the suspect had been charged as an adult. But the defense team has a process to challenge that and potentially have the case moved to juvenile court.

Officials search a wooded area next to the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co. during an investigation of the homicide of Iliana “Lily” Peters, 10, in Chippewa Falls on Tuesday. Lilly’s body was found about 9:15 a.m. Monday in a wooded area near the walking trail, according to police.
(Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin)

The suspect’s attorney did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Lily’s remains were sent across state lines to the much larger jurisdiction of Ramsey County, Minnesota, which includes the city of St. Paul, where the autopsy was performed. Officials there said the results would be announced by authorities in her hometown.

Chippewa County Coroner Ronald Patten did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

For the suspect’s bond hearing, the judge said cameras are not allowed in the courtroom for the proceedings at 1 p.m. CT. The unidentified juvenile suspect was expected to appear remotely.

Lily’s father reported her missing Sunday night after she failed to return home from her aunt’s house, according to Chippewa Falls police. A search team found her remains the following morning nearby, in a suburban area flanked by parkland and the famous Leinenkugel’s brewery.

Wisconsin police announced increased patrols around schools in Chippewa Falls Tuesday, two days after 10-year-old Lily Peters was murdered in the woods near the famed Leinenkugel’s brewery.
(Chippewa Falls Police Department)

On Tuesday, Chippewa Falls Police Chief Matthew Kelm said an unidentified juvenile suspect had been taken into custody.

Dr. Michael Baden, a physician and forensic pathologist who formerly served as New York’s chief medical examiner, said it was rare but not unusual to outsource an autopsy in a high-profile case to a better-equipped jurisdiction.

St. Paul, an hour and 10 minutes to the west, has forensic pathologists on staff in its medical examiner’s office, he said, while the Chippewa County coroner’s office does not.

“They sent it to St. Paul because they didn’t feel that the coroner’s office there was able to handle it, which is all right, better that they sent it to a better place than do it themselves,” he said.

“First and most importantly, earlier this evening we arrested a juvenile suspect in this case,” he said. “The suspect was not a stranger. The suspect was known to the victim. We do not believe there is any danger to the community at this time.”


Police also served a search warrant at the aunt’s home on North Grove Street. Kelm would not comment on whether the suspect was arrested at the same address or related to Lily during his news briefing.

Lily Peters’ remains were found in the woods near the end of North Grove Road, which turns into a walking trail. 
(Google Maps)

The chief declined to answer questions about the suspect’s age and gender but appeared to let a hint slip later in his briefing when asked where the suspect was being held.

“I’m not sure where the suspect is right now, but he is in custody,” Kelm said.

Police received more than 200 tips in the case, which Kelm said helped lead police to the suspect.

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Police had warned Monday following Lily’s slaying there could still be an active danger to the public. They announced increased patrols around schools Tuesday morning and urged the community “to maintain a state of vigilance” as they hunted for a killer.

With the suspect in custody, community members said they felt more at ease.

“Monday and Tuesday morning were really, really stressful for parents in the community because they didn’t know who it, was and there was the slight chance that there was someone out there that was doing this, and that’s scary,” said Ingrid Sievers, a local business owner. “Our siblings have our nieces and nephews, they were very, very unsettled. You never want to hear about a family going through this.”

The investigation remained ongoing and anyone with information on the case was asked to call police at 1-800-263-5906.

Darshan Shah
the authorDarshan Shah