Missing Edwards woman's car found with body inside in river

Vikaas Shanker GateHouse Media Illinois
Police and fire trucks are on the scene in Chillicothe, where they believe they've found the car belonging to Julie Peters, missing since Sept. 28.

As more than 150 people looked on Monday, Peoria County authorities recovered the car of missing 23-year-old Julie Peters from the Illinois River. The body of a woman was found in the car.

Authorities found Peters’ car at 5:50 p.m. Monday overturned and submerged in the river east of North Front and West Walnut streets. Inside was the body of a young, white female fitting the description of Peters, according to Peoria Coroner Johnna Ingersoll.

Ingersoll said no identification had been made late Monday, but preliminary indicators suggest that it is Peters.

“We hope to confirm the identification (Tuesday) using her dental records,” Ingersoll said.

The Edwards woman was last seen between 10:30 and 11 p.m. Sept 28, leaving the American Legion at 1043 N. Second St. She had left her two children with her mother while she attended a wedding reception. The vehicle was recovered from the river two blocks southeast of the American Legion post.

Family members reported Peters missing the night of Sept. 29. About two dozen friends and family conducted a search for Peters on Oct. 1, and others have helped. Community members also banded together via Facebook to help find the young mother.

Ingersoll said sonar equipment was used Monday to find the car.

Abby Maurer, a friend of Peters who helped organize a widespread search effort, said the car was found when Chillicothe ex-police Chief Steve Maurer, her father-in-law, met two researchers from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale near the discovery site.

One of the researchers, Wes Bouska, said he and Justin Rosenquist originally were doing hydroacoustic surveys of Asian carp in the river using sidescan sonar equipment. After meeting with Steve Maurer, who asked if they could use the equipment to locate a vehicle, Bouska and Rosenquist searched the water and found the car. After Steve Maurer boarded the boat and saw the car, they called authorities.