Chippewa Falls neighbors remain on edge after Lily Peters death
CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wisc. (FOX 9) - For a second day, people of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, remained on edge, waiting for any answers in the murder of a 10-year-old girl.
The tension would only lessen when the police gave them good news.
UPDATE: Police say they have arrested a juvenile in the killing of 10-year-old Lily Peters
"When we get more info, if he’s caught or not," Jeremy Machnik, standing outside his home with his wife, Shelby told FOX 9. "He could be in Florida by now, he could be a block away. We don’t know."
Lily Peters was reported missing at 9 p.m. on Sunday night when she didn’t return home from her aunt’s house, where she’d spend the day.
At 9:15 a.m. Monday morning, searchers found her body in a wooded area next to the bike path she would likely have taken.
The Machniks live on Grove Street, where Lily spent that Sunday, and they recall seeing her that day, as they often did when she was at her relatives.
"Between about 1 and 3 [p.m.], one of her cousins was on a hoverboard, he had his hands behind his back and she was on rollerblades holding on. And they were scooting down the street just laughing," said Jeremy.
Shelby Machnik is no longer letting her own kids outside on their own, noting the heavy police presence provides some comfort, but far short of what answers would bring.
"As far as we know," she said, "it could be anybody in this neighborhood. And that’s just not sitting with me at all."
The wooded hillside along the bike path, known locally as Pig’s Run, remained taped off. Investigators could be seen several times throughout Tuesday combing the woods and even the creekside looking for evidence.
Across Chippewa Falls, purple ribbons in Lily’s memory fly everywhere: tied to lamp posts, street signs and fences.
At Parkview Elementary, where Lily was in 4th grade, the fence is adorned with signs and flowers and stuffed animals as a memorial.
Back on Grove Street, Shari Callaghan recalls seeing Lily on Sunday, too. It haunts her.
"To know that I saw her, that precious child, it’s awful," she said.
Across the street, the Machniks say they can’t stop pacing with the stress of what happened and the unknowns of how or who.
"Just knowing that she went down that trail and that was that," said Shelby, "the same trail my kids walk down by themselves all the time. It was a safe place up until Sunday."