DeKalb Police have charged William Curl, 34, of DeKalb with killing 18- year old Antinette “Toni” Keller. Investigators say Curl was arrested in Louisiana last week after failing to appear for a scheduled interview and then fleeing to Mexico. Curl is charged with five counts of first-degree murder, criminal sexual assault, arson, obstruction of justice and unlawful possession of a motor vehicle in the death of the college freshman.
Keller was last seen after she told friends she was going for a walk in a DeKalb Park. Police found unidentified human remains in the park and items that are thought to be Keller’s. Police say that Keller did not know Curl.
Even though the homicide investigation is continuing, family and friends got together to celebrate Toni Keller’s life in a candlelight vigil at the NIU ballroom.
“I want to say I know you are sad,” said Keller’s cousin, Mary Tarling. “We are sad and it’s ok to be sad, that shows the love you have for Toni.”
“As friends of Toni we hold each other up as one of our family members are gone,” said Keller’s friend Brooke Bocek. “This has been so difficult for us and we love you Toni and miss you more than words can tell.”
At an earlier press conference DeKalb police said they’d found human remains which had been burned at the crime scene, along with items consistent with those Keller was thought to be carrying.
“Our investigation is proceeding to be a homicide investigation. Due to the state of the burned remains an autopsy is not viable,” said DeKalb Police Chief, Bill Feithen. “Forensic experts have identified the remains as human. Whether these remains can be Toni’s can take some time.”
The Prairie Park crime scene is still taped and DeKalb police are following up with interviews.
“We have continued to interview persons who we believe have information on this case,” said Feithen. “To date we have spoken to around 50 people, some more than once.”
Security at the NIU campus is predictably tight.
“NIU has responded by stepping up our security all over campus and we will try to make NIU as safe and secure as possible,” said NIU spokeswoman Kathy Bitner.
Even though there is heightened security around campus, some students at NIU still feel unsafe.
“I am basically not leaving my dorm,” said sophomore Lynita Hodge.
“Now it makes me more uncomfortable, because you never know what is going to happen,” said senior Stormy Surles.
“Regardless on where you live or how you think how safe you are, the sad truth is that bad things can and do happen anywhere,” said Feihen. “Toni reminds us of this.”
As the community struggles with Toni Keller’s mysterious disappearance, they try to move forward together.
WANT MORE LOCAL NEWS?
Get daily news headlines delivered to your inbox!Sign Up Today!