The recent announcement that an individual is in custody and charged in connection with the death of Toni Keller is welcome news to the NIU campus and the DeKalb community. Toni was a victim of a senseless act of violence, and we mourn her tragic death. Today’s news provides some comfort, but it does not bring Toni back to her family or NIU. Barbara and I continue to keep Toni’s family and friends in our thoughts and prayers.
On behalf of the entire NIU community, I want to extend our gratitude and thanks to the DeKalb County Major Case Squad investigators and the U.S. Marshals who took the suspect into custody in Louisiana. I am impressed by the exceptional police investigatory work that has taken place since Toni was reported missing to NIU police at 6:09 p.m. on Friday, October 15, 2010. The intense level of inter-agency cooperation present among law enforcement agencies allowed the suspect to be apprehended quickly, which gave the community a much needed sense of relief. Based on their investigative work and my faith in our judicial system, I am confident justice will prevail.
No community is immune or safe from predators. The personal safety precautions that the university previously established had to be activated as a result of this incident. It is unfortunate that our society today requires such a level of heightened awareness and personal alertness in order to remain safe. I encourage you to continue to follow the precautionary measures we recommend to ensure your personal safety and rely on your friends and family for support during this difficult time.
Toni Keller will forever be in our hearts and always a Huskie. May God grant peace and strength to the Keller family, Toni’s friends and the NIU/DeKalb community.
John G. Peters