Woman denies falsely triggering manhunt in Gliniewicz case
A Vernon Hills woman denies she gave false information that led to an intense hunt for men who purportedly shot and killed Fox Lake police Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz.
Kristin B. Kiefer, 31, of the 0-100 block of Tanwood Court, appeared for an arraignment hearing Wednesday before Lake County Circuit Judge Victoria Rossetti. Kiefer pleaded not guilty to felony and misdemeanor disorderly conduct charges, in which she is accused of filing a false police report and obstructing justice.
Rossetti set Kiefer's trial for Jan. 19. Kiefer has been free since posting 10 percent of $100,000 bail after her bond hearing Sept. 3.
On the day Kiefer appeared in bond court, prosecutors said Kiefer told police she was traveling north on Route 12, south of Route 120, late in the evening Sept. 2 when she had car trouble and pulled to the side of the road in Volo. There, two men -- one black and one white -- approached her near a cornfield and asked for a ride to Wisconsin, she told police.
Her description of the suspects set off a massive manhunt because it matched descriptions of two of the men who police said were believed to have killed Gliniewicz a day earlier, authorities said.
Outside court, defense attorney Gal Pissetzky said the claims against Kiefer are "way out of proportion and overblown."
"I think Kristin will be vindicated in the end," Pissetzky said. "The (accusations) will not stand in court."
Lake County Assistant State's Attorney Stella Veytsel, who's prosecuting the case, declined to comment.
Prosecutors 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 is accused of calling Fox Lake police from the car and telling them the two suspects ran into the cornfield.
Police immediately questioned her story, but Kiefer insisted she was telling the truth, according to information presented by prosecutors at the bond hearing. Her insistence resulted in 85 law enforcement officers, two helicopters and several canine units descending on Volo late that night for a massive search of the cornfield, authorities said.
Officers tested the door handle on Kiefer's car for fingerprints and DNA, then confronted her with the negative results, prosecutors said. Kiefer eventually admitted to making up the story, according to authorities.
Police said Kiefer told investigators she lied because she wanted attention from the family employing her as a nanny in Vernon Hills. Authorities said Kiefer chose the Volo location because she was aware of Gliniewicz's death in nearby Fox Lake.
At Wednesday's hearing in Lake County court, Rossetti agreed to modify a curfew imposed on Kiefer while she's free before trial. Instead of being confined to her home from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., Rossetti adjusted the hours to 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. at Pissetzky's request to help accommodate Kiefer's work hours.
"She is not a danger to society," Pissetzky told Rossetti. "She has a job. She is fully employed."
Pissetzky declined to say whether Kiefer still is a nanny for the Vernon Hills family.
In another modification of the curfew established by Lake County pretrial services, Rossetti agreed to let Kiefer stay out until midnight when she attends a wedding in Arlington Heights next month.