A 30-year-old woman has been arrested for filing a false police report, after allegedly lying about seeing two of the three suspects in the killing of a Fox Lake police officer, prompting an intense search that lasted about five hours in neighboring Volo.
Kristin Kiefer of Vernon Hills allegedly told police she was driving on Route 12 in Volo around 9:20 p.m., when she pulled over for car trouble, and saw two men in a nearby cornfield, Lake County Sheriff’s Det. Christopher Covelli said. Kiefer allegedly claimed the men – one white, one black – asked her for a ride to Wisconsin, and one of them tried to break into her car, but the men fled the scene when they thought she was calling police.
Thinking the men might be the suspects in the killing of Fox Lake Police Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz, about 145 law enforcement officers, 11 K-9 units, and three air support units set up a perimeter, and combed through the cornfield for about five hours, but found nothing. Covelli said the K-9 units picked up no trail, and helicopters — which were in the air almost immediately — saw no signs of movement in the cornfield.
As the search grew more intense, Kiefer learned investigators planned to swab her car for DNA evidence, and that’s when she confessed the whole thing was a hoax.
“It’s very frustrating, and it’s especially frustrating for those officers that are out there, that have been out there tirelessly non-stop since this happened, trying to locate these perpetrators. To have all those resources redirected is just … it’s a waste of time, it’s a waste of resources,” Lake County State’s Attorney Mike Nerheim said.
While Kiefer initially maintained her statement was accurate, Covelli said she later admitted she had been lying, “as she wanted attention from a family where she is employed as a nanny.”
“Throughout the interview with Ms. Kiefer, she maintained that her account of what happened was accurate, and the truth. As further conversations with her progressed, Kiefer admitted that she had fabricated the entire story,” Covelli said.
Police said Kiefer admitted choosing the location because of its proximity to Fox Lake, where authorities have been searching for three men suspected of fatally shooting Fox Lake Police Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz on Tuesday.
“It’s very disappointing that our resources could have been used somewhere else this afternoon and this evening, and several hours were wasted here today,” Covelli said.
Kiefer was charged with two counts of disorderly conduct for falsifying a police report, and her bond was set at $100,000 at a hearing Thursday morning in Waukegan. She was released Thursday afternoon, and her attorney told CBS 2’s Audrina Bigos that evidence will show his client did not mislead police.
“We want the public to continue to send in any tip, any information they think might be helpful. We want the public to continue to do that, but I do also want the public to know that anybody that knowingly provides false information to the police, or knowingly obstructs this investigation, is going to be aggressively prosecuted,” Nerheim said. “This redirected the entire focus of this investigation for about five hours.”
At the bond hearing, prosecutors said Kiefer made another false report in Cook County last year, when she claimed to have information about a missing person.
“Apparently there was a missing person’s case where she allegedly provided information knowing the whereabouts of the person that was missing, and that turned out to be false,” Nerheim said after court.
Kiefer was not charged in that case.
The incident Wednesday night happened less than 10 miles from where Gliniewicz was slain. Known to the community as “G.I. Joe,” Gliniewicz was shot and killed Tuesday morning, after radioing that he was investigating suspicious activity, and had begun chasing three suspects.
Despite all the time and effort wasted on the search in Volo on Wednesday night, Nerheim said he’s confident police will remain undeterred in their efforts to find Gliniewicz’s killers.
“They’re all professionals, and they’re going to do their job,” “They’re human beings, so I’m sure they’re frustrated. I’m sure that those people that are out there … you know, there were 40 officers that went down due to heat stroke, so I’m sure they’re frustrated, but they’re going to stay focused, and they’re professionals, and they’re going to keep working until they find these people,” he said.
Lake County Major Crimes Task Force Cmdr. George Filenko said investigators have received “significant video” evidence in the case, which came from a home security system in the area. He said that video has been turned over to Homeland Security for processing.
Filenko also said police expect to make “significant progress” as the crime lab finishes processing “some significant evidence” collected at the scene. He would not specify what type of evidence has been recovered, but did say a gun was recovered after the shooting. It’s unclear if the gun was Gliniewicz’s sidearm, or the murder weapon.