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Person of interest in Keller case now at county jail

Published: Friday, Oct. 29, 2010 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Oct. 29, 2010 8:35 p.m. CDT

7:40 p.m. UPDATE

The Daily Chronicle will provide live updates of the 8 p.m. news briefing at our Twitter and Facebook pages.

DeKalb Police Chief Bill Feithen confirms that the person of interest in the Antinette "Toni" Keller homicide investigation has been brought to the DeKalb County Jail in Sycamore. He declined to say what charges the person is being held on.

A news briefing is planned for 8 p.m.

••••

6:20 p.m. UPDATE

DeKALB – DeKalb Police Chief Bill Feithen confirms that the person of interest in the Antinette "Toni" Keller homicide investigation has been brought to the DeKalb County Jail in Sycamore. He declined to say what charges the person is being held on.

A news briefing is planned for 8 p.m.

••••

5:10 p.m. UPDATE

DeKALB – The DeKalb County Major Case Squad has scheduled a press briefing for 8 p.m. today regarding the Antinette "Toni" Keller investigation.

On Thursday, police said they were questioning a "person of interest" in the homicide investigation of Keller, an 18-year-old from Plainfield who was studying art when she disappeared Oct. 14.

DeKalb Police Chief Bill Feithen and DeKalb County State's Attorney John Farrell are scheduled to be at the briefing. The purpose is to talk about a "significant development in the homicide investigation of Antinette “Toni” Keller," according to the media alert sent out by police.

The briefing will be held at DeKalb City Hall, according to the media alert.

Feithen said Thursday night that the person is in custody in another state on charges of obstruction of justice and unlawful possession of a motor vehicle. The charges are local, Feithen said, and police were in the process of extraditing him or her to Illinois.

Feithen declined to say where the person is being held. He also declined to release any details about the person, including gender, age, where the person is from and whether he or she knew Keller.

On Friday, he declined to comment on reports by media outlets that provided additional information about the person of interest.

••••

11:45 a.m. UPDATE

DeKALB – Police are questioning a “person of interest” in the homicide investigation of missing Northern Illinois University student Antinette “Toni” Keller.

DeKalb Police Chief Bill Feithen declined to comment Friday on reports by media outlets that provided additional information about the person of interest.

Keller, an 18-year-old freshman from Plainfield, was last seen about noon Oct. 14 when friends said she was headed to Prairie Park. When she hadn’t returned by 6 p.m. the next evening, friends reported her missing.

On Oct. 16, burned remains were found in the park, a 150-acre nature preserve with wooded areas. A week later, forensic experts confirmed the remains were human, and the search for Keller shifted to a death investigation.

On Tuesday, police reclassified the investigation as a homicide. Though experts still are attempting a positive identification of the badly burned remains, personal effects Keller was believed to have had with her were found nearby, Feithen said.

Keller family spokeswoman Mary Tarling told The Associated Press that Keller's camera and sketchpad were found near the remains.

••••

ORIGINAL FRIDAY STORY

DeKALB – Police are questioning a “person of interest” in the homicide investigation of missing Northern Illinois University student Antinette “Toni” Keller.

DeKalb Police Chief Bill Feithen said Thursday night that the person is in custody in another state on charges of obstruction of justice and unlawful possession of a motor vehicle. The charges are local, Feithen said, and the person’s extradition to Illinois is pending.

Feithen said he could not estimate how long extradition might take. He declined to say where the person is being held. He also declined to release any details about the person, including gender, age, where the person is from and whether he or she knew Keller.

Keller family spokeswoman Mary Tarling said the family was relieved to hear of progress in the case.

“We’re relieved for the sake of the safety of someone else’s daughter or son,” Tarling said. “Nothing can fix our situation, but it’s extremely comforting to us to think another family doesn’t have to end up in the same situation.”

Keller, an 18-year-old freshman from Plainfield, was last seen about noon Oct. 14 when friends said she was headed to Prairie Park. When she hadn’t returned by 6 p.m. the next evening, friends reported her missing. Police immediately began to search for her and interview her family and friends.

On Oct. 16, burned remains were found in the park, a 150-acre nature preserve with wooded areas. A week later, forensic experts confirmed the remains were human, and the search for Keller shifted to a death investigation.

On Tuesday, police reclassified the investigation as a homicide. Though experts still are attempting a positive identification of the badly burned remains, personal effects Keller was believed to have had with her were found nearby, Feithen said.

Police will continue to make frequent patrols of the park and surrounding area, but Feithen still urged the community to use caution.

“We’re done with what we need to do in there,” Feithen said. “People are still advised not to walk in secluded places alone.”

Feithen thanked the public for providing tips in the case. Police are pursuing more than 210 leads, he said, and continue to seek information. They are “especially interested” in information about suspicious people and activities, especially fires, spotted in Prairie Park between Oct. 14 and the morning of Oct. 18.

Tip line information
The DeKalb County Major Case Squad is asking anyone who might have seen suspicious activity or people in Prairie Park on or about the date and time of Keller’s disappearance to call 815-748-8407.

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