DeKalb Man Charged In NIU Murder

DEKALB, Ill. (STMW) – A Dekalb man who fled to Louisiana and Mexico has been charged in the death of Northern Illinois University freshmen Antinette “Toni” Keller, who vanished earlier this month, DeKalb Police Chief Bill Feithen said Friday night.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Bob Roberts Reports

William “Billy’’ P. Curl, 34, was arrested by U.S. Marshals in Covington, La. and extradited back to Dekalb Friday morning. He was charged later in the day with five counts of first degree murder, criminal sexual assault and arson.

“This was a gruesome murder, and we now have charged a man in this horrible crime,” said Feithen. “We believe this was a crime of opportunity.”

antinette keller thumbnail DeKalb Man Charged In NIU Murder


“This was a gruesome murder,’’ Feithen said at a press conference.

Curl is being held in the Dekalb County Jail on $5 million bail. He has a court hearing Saturday at 8:30 a.m.

Keller, 18, an art student from Plainfield, disappeared Oct. 14 after she told friends she was going to Prairie Park south of campus. Badly burned human remains were found in the park two days later near some of her personal belongings.

Feithen described the incident as a “crime of opportunity’’ and said that Curl and the victim happened to be in Prairie Park at the same time. Feithen said Curl sexually assaulted Keller at the time of the murder.

Authorities said Curl, a longtime Dekalb resident, was well-known to police before the incident.

“We had many contacts with him,’’ Feithen said. He would not describe the nature of the contracts.

Contrary to published reports, Curl did not report a fire at the park, Feithen said. Rather, investigators first interviewed Curl because he had been known to frequent the park.

They became more interested in Curl when he failed to show up for a second interview.

Police issued a warrant for his arrest because they believed “he was in possession of material information about the homicide,’’ Feithen said.

Police believe Curl left Illinois Oct. 23. At some point, police alleged, Curl took his mother’s car without her permission, and ended up in Mexico. They said he came back to the U.S. on Monday.

Detectives flew to Louisiana to continue the investigation. They found Curl looking for work as a day laborer in Covington, Feithen said.

Curl was initially arrested Tuesday night in Convington on the warrant, which charged him with obstruction of justice and car theft. Authorities searched his hotel room, although police did not say if anything material was found. Curl waived extradition.

Dekalb County State’s Attorney John Farrell said the “wheels of justice turned for Toni Keller and her family’’ Friday.

“One simply cannot imagine the anguish they have endured the past two weeks,’’ he said. “The family has truly been an inspiration to everyone involved in this investigation.’’

Police are still looking for help from the public and said they are specifically looking for information about Curl’s presence in the park between Oct. 14 and Oct. 18.

“We had many contacts with him,’’ Feithen said. He would not describe the nature of the contracts.

After the murder, Feithen said Curl took his mother’s car without her permission, and headed south. He even crossed into Mexico, but came back to the U.S., authorities alleged. They found him looking for work as a day laborer, Feithen said.

Curl was initially arrested on a warrant charging him with obstruction of justice and car theft.

Keller’s remains were so badly burned officials couldn’t identify her body. But Keller’s belongings were found near the charred remains, leading police to declare her disappearance a “homicide’’ earlier this week.

More from Bob Roberts
  • Lukasz

    HANG HIM!!!!!!

  • Lukasz

    I take that back, he should be drawn and quartered! after spending a month in a stockade. I will personally donate the rotten fruit to throw at this loser.

  • t

    Hes a pervert. Thats why the cops knew of him according to the article that pervs the park. loser.

  • J

    I’m inclined to agree with Lukasz – I”m glad he was caught but what he did to this girl goes beyond just the horrendous crime of murder. I hope he gets a good punishment, Life is too good for him and he doesn’t deserve the death penalty

  • TIM

    WBBM, why do you print part of the article twice? see which sentences are repeat sentences!

  • Bob will

    If he’s convicted he better watch is back because there will be people after him. We should provide a bounty to the first prisoner that kills him

  • lday

    I second that

  • jstcnw

    Aren’t we rushing to judgment here? First they couldn’t identify the remains. Now they are charging the man with rape? Seems like they are rounding “up the usual suspects.”

    • Bobbi70

      I would think they must have SOME evidence to arrest him, extradite him, and charge him. We may NEVER know all that happened to this poor woman and I hope the jury is strong and not swayed by some high-priced lawyer.

    • Tom

      The only rush to judgement i’ll make is this. Your’e an idiot. The police know what they know due the evidence they’ve collected and the statement the suspect has made. Do you think the police are going to lay out the entire case to the media and thus the public at this stage of the investigation,

  • RON


  • Daniel Martin

    @Tom: There have been many cases in Illinois in the last 20+ years where law enforcement has charged an innocent person in a high-profile murder, releasing just enough information to lead an understandably outraged public to presume guilt. Is Curl guilty? Is Curl innocent? At this stage, we the public simply do not have enough of the facts about this horrible crime to be certain either way and should be careful before ruining a potentially innocent life. We have been here before.

  • Mt

    Tom- talk about an idiot! It’s DeKalb, take a moment and consider the national spotlight, the likelyhood remains that this is the guy but our justice system requires more burden than likelihood – I echo Daniel’s comment.

  • NIU Murder Suspect To Get Psych Evaluation « CBS Chicago – News, Sports, Weather, Traffic, and the Best of Chicago

    […] Two days later, police found badly burned human remains near some of Keller’s possessions in the park. Curl was charged in the case on Friday. […]

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