Northern Illinois University officials today announced that the DeKalb County Major Case Squad has assumed lead of the investigation into the disappearance of NIU student Antinette “Toni” Keller.
The decision to activate the DeKalb County Major Case Squad at this stage of the investigation was made jointly by law enforcement officials from NIU, DeKalb and Sycamore police, the county sheriff and the Illinois State Police. It is based on the fact that all of these agencies are already involved in this investigation in some capacity and that the scope of the search has expanded and has now been focused beyond the university campus.
“The safety and security of the students, faculty and staff of NIU and the surrounding DeKalb community are always the paramount concern of the NIU Department of Public Safety. The best and most efficient way to accomplish this objective in this case is by combining the resources of all of the agencies with jurisdictional interests through the utilization of the DeKalb County Major Case Squad,” said Donald Grady, Chief of NIU’s Department of Public Safety.
Dr. Eddie Williams, Chief of Operations at NIU stated “We all commend and appreciate the efforts that have been taken by NIU police and all law enforcement professionals, and want to reiterate that NIU has confidence in the ability, talents and resources of all of our law enforcement professionals in DeKalb County, along with the Illinois State Police, as we all continue to work closely together as the investigation proceeds. The No. 1 priority for all law enforcement officials involved remains finding Toni,” Williams stressed.
The DeKalb County Major Case Squad will consist of sworn officers from NIU, City of DeKalb, City of Sycamore, DeKalb County Sheriff and the Illinois State Police and is organized to provide a coordinated response to cases such as this.
“The DeKalb County Major Case Squad is committed to a coordinated effort and is combining our individual resources to locate Toni,” said DeKalb Chief Bill Feithen, designated as the incident law enforcement public information officer for the DeKalb County Major Case Squad.
Keller, a freshman from Plainfield who lived in the Neptune North residence hall on campus, was last seen early afternoon Thursday, Oct. 14. She reportedly told friends that she was going for a walk in an area adjacent to West Lincoln Highway behind the Junction Center retail complex.
NIU campus police were alerted to the disappearance at 6:09 p.m. Friday, according to NIU Police Chief Donald Grady, and immediately began searching for Keller. A national all-points bulletin – also known as a “BOLO,” or “Be On the Look-Out” – also was issued that night.
Over the past week, officers from NIU, the DeKalb Police Department, DeKalb Fire Department, DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department, Sycamore Police Department and Illinois State Police have participated in the investigation and search efforts.
Should anyone have pertinent information about Toni Keller, please contact the DeKalb County Major Case Squad at 815-753-TIPS or 815-748-8407.