East Dubuque Police Chief Defends Early Investigation of Chyenne Kircher Case

by Katie Wiedemann, Reporter

EAST DUBUQUE, Illinois - Just as soon as Chyenne Kircher disappeared in 2011, her teachers and friends helped spread the word.

In November, 2011 Chyenne's Art Teacher Kathy Stierman said, "it seems like sometimes kids slip through the cracks and we want to make sure the whole community, the whole tri-state area knows are still looking for her. "

At the time, police said evidence led them to believe Chyenne ran away from home, like her handwritten note had indicated.

East Dubuque Police Chief Steve O'Connell said, "we weren't investigating the family for anything. We were using them as a tool. As a resource. "

In the immediate days after after she vanished, investigators used a K-9 unit to search the area behind the family's home. O'Connell says the dogs did find her scent in the yard.

"All we knew is that they were tracking her, but the dogs can't tell us how old that track is, " said O'Connell.

In March, 2013 Jo Daviess County developed a new investigative team called the Critical Incident Response Team. Chyenne's case became their number one priority.

O'Connell said, "I requested they do a case review. We said, bring all your investigators together, review what we've done and see if we missed something. "

O'Connell won't say exactly what that team discovered that led them to arrest Abbas. But he says he hopes Chyenne gets the justice she deserves.

"She was a unique girl. She's had a different personality. A unique personality. And I liked Chyenne. I talked to her a lot," said O'Connell.

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