A 14-year-old male was arrested on Tuesday evening on charges of first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree sexual assault and first-degree sexual assault of a minor under 13 in connection with the murder of Iliana Peters.
Peters — also known as “Lily” — was a ten-year-old student at Parkview Elementary School in Chippewa Falls. She was reported missing on Sunday evening after failing to return home from an aunt’s house.
On the night of April 24, Peters’ bicycle was located by the Leinenkugel’s Brewing Company. Her body was found in the nearby woods the following morning.
The suspect, whose identity has not been released due to his age, knew the victim personally, according to police. He appeared in Chippewa County Court on Tuesday, where he was identified by his initials (C. P.-B.).
The Chippewa County District Attorney, Wade Newell, stated in court that the suspect told police he followed Peters from her aunt’s home with the intention of raping and killing her. Newell said that C. P.-B. confessed to hitting the girl with a stick before strangling her to death and subsequently sexually assaulting her.
In court on Tuesday, C. P.-B.’s bail was set at $1 million. His defense attorneys requested a bond of $100,000. He will be tried as an adult and could face up to a life sentence for the homicide charge.
A search warrant was executed on the suspect’s home, but the findings have not been made publicly available. He is reportedly a lifelong resident of Chippewa Falls and lives with his mother.
An autopsy and forensic testing are currently being conducted by the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s office in Minnesota, and law enforcement stated that the results of the autopsy may not be available for up to six more weeks.
After Peters was reported missing, an Amber Alert was not issued. Local police stated that the criteria were not met, although they did not specify why. In response, a petition was started to create a ‘Lily alert’ for missing children who do not qualify for an Amber Alert, which garnered over 75,000 signatures in two days.
In the days following Peters’ disappearance and the discovery of her body, the Chippewa Falls community came together to show support for the family of the victim. A friend of the family started a GoFundMe — which has already raised over $25,000 — to cover funeral costs, and memorials have been set up outside of Peters’ elementary school and by the woods where she was found.
C. P.-B.’s next court appearance is scheduled for May 5.
Cormac LaLiberte is the current editor of the college news desk. He is a junior studying linguistics, and has previously reported primarily on social issues pertaining to UW-Madison. Get in touch on Twitter @CormacLaLiberte.