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Lily Peters murder: Chippewa County coroner reveals preliminary autopsy results in 10-year-old’s slaying

Wisconsin authorities have officially declared the death of Lily Peters, the 10-year-old girl who went missing from Chippewa Falls, a homicide.

The designation comes as no surprise with a suspect already charged with first-degree intentional homicide, Wisconsin’s equivalent of murder, but officials also released details about how she had been attacked.

The Chippewa County Coroner’s office told Fox News Thursday Lily had been killed by strangulation and blunt force trauma, according to preliminary findings. But a full autopsy could take several more weeks.

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.

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)

LILY PETERS MURDER: WISCONSIN PETITION URGES FASTER WAY TO ALERT PUBLIC OF MISSING CHILDREN

Fox News Digital reported earlier this week that the girl’s remains had been sent across state lines to the medical examiner’s office of Ramsey County in nearby St. Paul, Minnesota, where forensic pathologists assisted in the investigation.

Ramsey County officials said all subsequent updates would come from Chippewa County.

Chippewa’s coroner said Thursday that Lily’s body will likely be held for at least two weeks, pending legal action.

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.

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)

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 – less than a mile from her home.

Chippewa Falls police arrested a 14-year-old boy Tuesday in connection with the slaying. Chief Matthew Kelm said the assailant was “not a stranger” and had known Lily.

  • Stuffed animals are left at the altar during a prayer vigil for 10-year-old Iliana "Lily" Peters at Valley Vineyard Church in Chippewa Falls, Wis., Monday evening, April 25, 2022. Peters was found dead in a park earlier in the day after being reported missing the night before. Image 1 of 5

    Stuffed animals are left at the altar during a prayer vigil for 10-year-old Iliana "Lily" Peters at Valley Vineyard Church in Chippewa Falls, Wis., Monday evening, April 25, 2022. Peters was found dead in a park earlier in the day after being reported missing the night before.  (Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune via AP)

  • 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. Image 2 of 5

    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)

  • A memorial for 10-year-old Iliana "Lily" Peters is displayed on Jefferson Ave. Monday evening, April 25, 2022, in Chippewa Falls, Wis. Peters was found dead in a park earlier in the day after being reported missing the night before. Image 3 of 5

    A memorial for 10-year-old Iliana "Lily" Peters is displayed on Jefferson Ave. Monday evening, April 25, 2022, in Chippewa Falls, Wis. Peters was found dead in a park earlier in the day after being reported missing the night before.  (Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune via AP)

  • Relatives of Iliana "Lily" Peters comfort each other as they pray together at a vigil for the 10 year-old girl at Valley Vineyard Church in Chippewa Falls, Wis., Monday evening, April 25, 2022. Peters was found dead in a park earlier in the day after being reported missing the night before. Image 4 of 5

    Relatives of Iliana "Lily" Peters comfort each other as they pray together at a vigil for the 10 year-old girl at Valley Vineyard Church in Chippewa Falls, Wis., Monday evening, April 25, 2022. Peters was found dead in a park earlier in the day after being reported missing the night before. (Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune via AP)

  • The Chippewa County Sheriff set up a mobile command center in the parking lot of the Leinenkugel's brewery as they process the scene where 10 year-old Iliana "Lily" Peters was found dead in Chippewa Falls, Wis., Monday evening, April 25, 2022. Peters was found dead in a park earlier in the day after being reported missing the night before. Image 5 of 5

    The Chippewa County Sheriff set up a mobile command center in the parking lot of the Leinenkugel’s brewery as they process the scene where 10 year-old Iliana "Lily" Peters was found dead in Chippewa Falls, Wis., Monday evening, April 25, 2022. Peters was found dead in a park earlier in the day after being reported missing the night before.  (Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune via AP)

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.

Prosecutors said in court Wednesday that the boy admitted to punching the victim in the stomach, knocking her to the ground, beating her with a club and strangling her. According to Chippewa County District Attorney Wade Newell, the suspect said he sexually assaulted her after she was dead.

Chippewa Falls Police Chief Matthew Kelm said the suspect was not a stranger and that tips from the community led to the arrest.

Chippewa Falls Police Chief Matthew Kelm said the suspect was not a stranger and that tips from the community led to the arrest.
(KMSP)

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

   

The suspect could face up to life in prison if convicted.

Michael Ruiz is a reporter for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to michael.ruiz@fox.com and on Twitter: @mikerreports

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