Body of Julie Peters identified; drowning likely cause of death

Matt Buedel GateHouse Media Illinois
Police and fire trucks were on the scene in Chillicothe Monday, where they found the car belonging to Julie Peters, missing since Sept. 28.

A widespread search for a missing Edwards woman came to a tragic end after 10 days Tuesday when a set of dental records identified a body found in the Illinois River one night prior.

Julie Peters, who would have turned 23 years old Thursday, was positively identified during an autopsy performed Tuesday afternoon, according to Peoria County Coroner Johnna Ingersoll.

She was reported missing after last being seen at a wedding reception at the American Legion in Chillicothe between 10:30 and 11 p.m. Sept. 28. Peters’ vehicle, a silver Chevy Impala, was pulled from the Illinois River on Monday night only a few blocks from the place where she was last seen.

An examination of the body showed no signs of trauma, and the autopsy found drowning to be the likely cause of death, Ingersoll said. Toxicology tests are pending, with results expected in two to three weeks. An inquest will be scheduled at a later date.

An investigation into Peters’ disappearance and death continues, said Peoria County Sheriff’s Capt. Mark Greskoviak.

“We had hoped to find her alive, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case,” Greskoviak said. “We still have unanswered questions, and this is still an active, open investigation.”

Groups of civilians had been meeting in Chillicothe to search for Peters throughout the week with coordination from police, but it was ultimately the sonar equipment of a team of researchers studying Asian carp that located the vehicle near the Walnut Street boat ramp Monday night.