SHERIDAN – Authorities are processing what was found during a Sunday search of a 26-acre, undisclosed site in LaSalle County for evidence related to the Dwight double homicide and recent Grundy County burglaries.
The search site was near Sheridan, a village in the northeastern part of LaSalle County.
The exact location was not released for security reasons, but Illinois State Police spokeswoman Monique Bond said investigators had reason to believe the area had evidence related to the Denker murders in Dwight and burglaries in Grundy County.
“The investigators had some pretty significant leads and they wanted to follow up on them. I believe they had been in the area before, or not too far from there,” Bond said.
Dwight homicide victims Donna J. Denker, 60, and her daughter Kelli L. Denker, 30, were killed June 14 in their home and autopsies showed they died from gunshot wounds.
The search Sunday lasted about five hours, beginning at 8 a.m. and ending about 1 p.m. Sunday.
Bond said authorities are not releasing information about what was found, but said they are processing “what was recovered.”
“I’m not at liberty at this time to disclose [what was recovered],” she said.
Bond declined to disclose which “Grundy County burglaries” the search was related to. However, LaSalle County sheriff’s deputies were in the area south of Sheridan in June as they attempted to arrest former Morris resident Joseph R. Sipple, 27, on charges of possession of stolen property.
During the confrontation with sheriff’s deputies, Sipple shot and killed himself.
Last month, Dwight police Chief Tim Henson confirmed that Sipple was a former acquaintance of Kelli Denker, one of the victims in the Dwight homicides. Sipple was charged possession of stolen property, but has not been named a suspect in the homicide investigation.
Henson deferred comment about Sunday’s search to Illinois State Police.
In regards to the Denker investigation in general, Henson said Monday, “We’re waiting for things to come back that have been sent to the ISP crime lab for analysis. Once we have those results, we will move forward with the investigation.”
Helping with Sunday’s search were about 100 officers from the state police, the Morris police department, LaSalle County Sheriff’s Department, area fire departments, Dwight police department and MABAS Divisions 15 and 25.
Bond said Divisions 15 and 25 were “crucial” in the search because of their expertise in evidence recovery and their array of equipment, which is suited to search “a lot of acreage like the vast amount of land they were looking through.”