Chippewa Falls residents propose 'Lily Alert'

A memorial is placed on a bridge overlooking water.
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

When Illiana “Lily” Peters went missing on April 24 in Chippewa Falls, Wis., no AMBER Alert was sent out because her case did not fit the strict criteria. In Minnesota and Wisconsin, there must be information about a suspect or a vehicle that could lead to the child being found, which the Chippewa Falls Police Department did not have.

After Lily was found dead by authorities along a creek trail in downtown Chippewa Falls on the morning of April 25, residents questioned if there should have been another option besides an AMBER Alert to spread awareness of missing child cases who do not fit the threshold needed to alert community members.

Chippewa Falls resident and father Eric Henry said that many people only learned about the case the morning after Lily was reported missing.

“Just the fact that so many people wanted to show support and help find this missing child, it just led me to the question, why weren’t we given the opportunity?”

Grow the Future of Public Media

MPR News is supported by Members. Gifts from individuals power everything you find here. Make a gift of any amount today to become a Member!

Henry started an online petition calling for the creation of a “Lily Alert,” which has garnered more than 60,000 signatures.

“There were probably people walking around out and about,” Henry said. “And they would have had no idea that that child was actually missing and being looked for.”

In the online petition Henry says that a different type of alert is needed with less regulation so community members can respond quicker to missing children. Henry has reached out to local and statewide politicians about the petition, but said the goal is to get as many eyes on it as possible.

A $1 million cash bond was set on Wednesday for the 14-year-old boy prosecutors say strangled and sexually assaulted Lily.