New details released in Lily Peters homicide case

A bike trail sign is wrapped in caution tape during the homicide investigation into the death...
A bike trail sign is wrapped in caution tape during the homicide investigation into the death of 10-year-old Iliana "Lily" Peters of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, on April 25, 2022.(Jeff Ralph | WEAU)
Published: May. 6, 2022 at 3:19 PM CDT|Updated: May. 6, 2022 at 3:26 PM CDT
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CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU/Gray News) - New details about the homicide investigation into the death of a 10-year-old Chippewa Falls girl were released Friday.

A 14-year-old boy is facing charges of 1st-degree intentional homicide, 1st-degree sexual assault resulting in great bodily harm and 1st-degree sexual assault of a child under the age of 13 in the death of 10-year-old Iliana “Lily” Peters. Two of the three charges carry a maximum lifetime sentence in prison.

After Chippewa County Circuit Court Judge Benjamin Lane said during Thursday’s review hearing that the redacted criminal complaint for the case could be unsealed, the document was made available publicly on Friday.

WARNING: Some of the details about the case that follow are graphic in nature.

The community has set up a memorial for Lily Peters at her elementary school.
The community has set up a memorial for Lily Peters at her elementary school.(WEAU)

According to the criminal complaint filed in the case, the Chippewa Falls Police Department was notified about a missing 10-year-old girl, Lily, at 9 p.m. on April 24, 2022. Lily’s father said that she did not come back from her aunt’s house.

At 11 p.m., Lily’s father went to look for her and found her bike near the Duncan Creek Trail in Chippewa Falls near the Leinie’s Lodge. A search that evening with law enforcement turned up empty.

At 8:54 a.m. on April 25, Lily’s body was found by someone who knew her not far from where her bicycle was located, nearly 12 hours after she had been reported missing. Investigators said that Lily had blunt-force trauma injuries to her head and some of her clothes were missing.

A preliminary autopsy was given to investigators with the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Office. According to the autopsy, there was evidence of sexual assault. The autopsy also confirmed the blunt-force trauma to Lily’s face.

According to the complaint, the charged suspect in the case told investigators on April 26 that he helped Lily get her bike at a home in Chippewa Falls and that while she rode her bike, he rode his hoverboard. The suspect also told investigators it was his intention to rape and kill Lily.

He told investigators that he asked Lily to leave the trail and go into the woods, where he then physically and sexually assaulted her. At some point, the suspect said he became scared and went home to shower and wash his clothes. When he heard that Lily was missing, he decided he needed to hide her body better, so he returned to move her body and cover it with leaves.

Chippewa County court during the first hearing of the Lily Peters homicide case April 27.
Chippewa County court during the first hearing of the Lily Peters homicide case April 27.(weau)

Other documents in the case subject to open records laws, including search warrants, will remain sealed until all parties have had time to review their contents. Chippewa County District Attorney Wade Newell said that those documents contain identifying information and that some of the warrants are part of an active investigation.

A status conference in the case will be held on June 24 at 9:30 a.m. in Chippewa County Circuit Court. The conference will be conducted with the defendant and his new representation, Michael Cohen, appearing virtually.

The conference is being set to establish future court dates in the case. The date was picked to allow time for Newell to deliver materials to the defendant and his representation and for the defense to review all of the case materials.

Newell said in court Thursday that he expects to have all of the materials ready by the end of next week. Cohen said that he has not received much information about the case or had time to review anything beyond the criminal complaint.

The status conference will set future dates for hearings and allow time for all parties, including victims and witnesses, to make arrangements to be in court.

The suspect is being held at the Northwest Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Eau Claire awaiting his next court appearance. Cash bond has been set at $1 million for the suspect.

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