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Article updated: 10/24/2010 7:42 AM

Police: Remains likely NIU student

Antinette Keller

Antinette Keller

 
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By Tania Karas

Human remains and items consistent with the belongings of a missing Northern Illinois University student have been found in a DeKalb park near the campus, police said late Saturday.

The DeKalb County Major Case Squad has reclassified their investigation into the disappearance of 18-year-old Nequa Valley High School graduate Antinette "Toni" Keller as a death investigation, according to a DeKalb police.

The remains and items were found in Prairie Park, located south of Illinois Route 38 in DeKalb. Keller's family was notified of the discovery early Saturday evening.

The remains, however, have not yet been positively identified, according to DeKalb Police Chief Bill Feithen, spokesman for the major case squad.

"We have individuals that we are obtaining information from and interviewing in search of additional information as we also continue to process the crime scene," Feithen said.

He declined to comment on whether there are any possible suspects in connection with Keller's disappearance.

Friends reported Keller missing to university police on Friday, Oct. 15. She was last seen around noon the previous day in Neptune Hall, where she lived on campus. Keller told friends she was leaving to go for a walk south of campus, police said.

"She had indicated that she was going to the park to do some drawing or sketching that day," Feithen said.

Keller, an art major at NIU, lives in Plainfield. As of late Saturday, more than 11,400 people had joined a Facebook page called "Missing Antinette Keller." On the page, many NIU students shared their condolences to Keller's family, as well as fears that human remains were found so close to their campus.

NIU officials have implemented heightened security measures in response to Keller's disappearance. In a Saturday evening press release to students, Dr. Brian Hemphill, vice president of student affairs and enrollment management, cautioned students to be extra careful as they move about the campus and the DeKalb community.

Part of Prairie Park remains cordoned off as police continue the investigation into Keller's disappearance.

According to a DeKalb press release, investigators are actively pursuing leads in the case and are seeking information about any suspicious activity or persons in Prairie Park on or about the time of Keller's disappearance.

Anyone with information related to the case is urged to call (815) 748-8407 or (815) 753-8477 or Crime Stoppers at (815) 895-3272.

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