NIU campus 'on edge' after remains found

October 26, 2010 4:31:45 AM PDT
Security has been heightened on the campus of Northern Illinois University days after human remains were found in a park where an art student was reported missing.

The remains have still not been identified. They were found last week in Prairie Park near the DeKalb, Ill., campus of NIU. Police said some items possibly belonging to freshman Antinette 'Toni' Keller, 18, were found in the same area. She was last seen on October 14 when she took a sketchpad and camera into Prairie Park, a nature preserve.

Over the weekend, her case was reclassified as a death investigation. Since then, police have offered no updates in the case. Classmates are frustrated with the lack of information.

"It hurts because we care about her so much. We'd like to know for certain. We don't like the way they're treating us. It's not fair to us," said Matthew Schultz, Keller's friend.

"Everyone's on edge. I wish things would stop happening to NIU. The shootings then this. It's continuous," said Keith Gortowski, NIU freshman, referring to the 2008 Valentine's Day shooting that killed six and injured others.

"I think it is difficult whether you're observing it from the outside, but we have a great deal of confidence in the law enforcement in this community," said

The dorms remain open to residents only. NIU officials have beefed up security by limiting access to dormitories and increased the police presence on campus.

Keller, who is from Plainfield, Ill., and graduated from Neuqua Valley High School, lived in Neptune North Residence Hall.

"I [saw] her in the hallway. I didn't see her that much. I'm praying for her family and just hope the best for her family," said Sharron Feagis, NIU student.

"It is really an eye opener for everyone for everyone that all of this is happening on campus, and it could have been you," said Dominique Riley, NIU student.

Students are planning a vigil on Tuesday night. Some parents reportedly plan to rally on the campus Monday night demanding an update in the case and information from the university about the plan to keep students safe.

Police established a hotline --(815) 753-4NIU/ (815) 753-4648 -- in the case, and they are asking anyone who may have seen anything around the time of her disappearance to call.


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