Police searching for the suspected killers of an Illinois officer said early Thursday that the manhunt was diverted by a woman who lied about seeing two suspicious men near the scene of the murder.
Kristin Kiefer, 30, has been charged with disorderly conduct and falsifying a police report. Authorities said she was being held at the Lake County jail pending a bond hearing.
Police said they responded to a 911 call made by Kiefer at approximately 9:20 p.m. local time Wednesday in Volo, about 5 miles south of Fox Lake, where Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz was fatally shot Tuesday after he pursued three suspicious men into a swamp.
Kiefer told police she had pulled over to the side of the road with car trouble when she saw two men, one white and one black, near a cornfield. She claimed they tried to get into her car, but fled because they feared she was going to call the police.
Lake County Sheriff’s Sgt. Christopher Covelli says about 85 federal, state and local law enforcement officials responded to the scene after Kiefer’s report. They were joined by 11 police dogs and three air support units in the search, which lasted approximately five hours.
Police said Kiefer initially insisted that her account was true, but later admitted that she had lied. She said she was seeking attention from a family that employs her as a nanny and that she chose the location because it was close to where Gliniewicz had been shot.
The search for the suspects entered its third day Thursday, as teams moved out into subdivisions beyond the initial 2-square-mile perimeter.
“I’m not going to put a time limit on this. We’ve got a murdered colleague,” Lake County Major Crimes Task Force Cmdr. George Filenko, the lead investigator on the case, told reporters Wednesday. “We’re not gonna stop.”
Meanwhile, hundreds of people gathered at a Fox Lake park late Wednesday for a vigil in memory of Gliniewicz, who was endearingly known in the community as “G.I. Joe”
The officer’s widow, Melanie Gliniewicz, took to a stage in Lakefront Park surrounded by her four sons. She thanked the people attending the vigil and those offering their support and prayers.
“My world got a little bit smaller with his passing, and he will truly be missed by all of us,” she said, adding her husband was her “best friend, my hero, the love of my life for the last 26 and half years.”
A minister, Mike Johnson, said Gliniewicz died serving the community and was about helping others. He asked the crowd who among them would replace him.
Earlier Wednesday, longtime friend Tammy Rivette wiped away tears as she remembered the father of four sons who was “always helping people” and “always fair.”
“Even the criminals liked him,” she said.
Mayor Donny Schmit, a close friend for three decades, recalled how when Gliniewicz would respond after being told something: “Roger that.”
“Every morning he said he was vertical and caffeinated,” the mayor said. “These are the things about Joe I’m going to miss.”