Woman charged with falsifying report that led to massive Volo manhunt
A Vernon Hills woman admitted to making up story that launched a massive manhunt in Volo late Wednesday night -- but only after fingerprint and a DNA tests on her car showed she was lying, officials said.
Kristin B. Kiefer, 30, of the 0-100 block of Tanwood Court, was charged with one felony count and one misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct -- filing a false police report, records show.
Kiefer spoke softly in bond court Thursday morning, saying she takes home a salary of about $1,000 monthly as a nanny for a Vernon Hills couple.
Judge Christen Bishop ordered her held on $100,000 bail; Lake County jail officials confirmed Kiefer later posted 10 percent of her bond and was released that afternoon. The judge also ordered Kiefer to abstain from drugs and alcohol and follow a curfew established by Lake County pretrial services.
If the Vernon Hills woman is convicted of the most serious charge, the felony, she could face up to three years behind bars; Kiefer faces up to a year on the misdemeanor.
Prosecutors said in court Thursday Kiefer told police she was traveling north on Route 12, south of Route 120, when she had car trouble and pulled to the side of the road, where two men -- one black and one white -- approached her near a cornfield and asked for a ride to Wisconsin.
Assistant State's Attorney Louise Hayes said Kiefer told police that, after seeing the suspects, she went back to her car, and the black man tried to force open her driver's side door.
Kiefer called Fox Lake police from the car, saying the two suspects ran into the cornfield, according to Hayes.
Police immediately questioned her story, Hayes said, but Kiefer insisted she was telling truth. Her insistence resulted in 85 law enforcement officers, two helicopters, and multiple K-9 units descending on Volo late Wednesday night for a massive search of the cornfield.
The lie "completely redirected the focus of the investigation for about five hours," Lake County State's Attorney Mike Nerheim said.
Officers tested the door handle on Kiefer's car for fingerprints and DNA, then confronted her with the negative results, Hayes said. That was when Kiefer finally admitted to making up the story, Hayes added.
Lake County sheriff's detective Chris Covelli said Thursday Kiefer claimed she lied because she wanted attention from the family employing her as a nanny, and she chose that location in Volo because she was aware of the death of Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz in nearby Fox Lake Tuesday morning.
Kiefer is due back in court for a bond review Sept. 10 and was appointed a public defender.
"We want people to continue to call in tips and information when they have it," Nerheim said after Kiefer's bond hearing Thursday. "But anyone that knowingly provides false information or intentionally distracts from the investigation in Fox Lake will be aggressively prosecuted."
The three suspects accused of killing Gliniewicz remain at large, Covelli said.