crimesider

Antinette "Toni" Keller Update: Person of Interest Held in Louisiana

Antinette "Toni" Keller (Personal Photo)
Antinette "Toni" Keller Update: Person of Interest Held in Louisiana
Antinette "Toni" Keller (Personal Photo)

DEKALB, Ill. (CBS/WBBM) A person of interest is being held in Louisiana in connection with the murder of Northern Illinois University student Antinette "Toni" Keller.

PICTURES: Antinette Keller Missing

CBS affiliate WBBM reports the man has not been charged, and therefore, his name has not been released. But it has been revealed that he called police to notify them of a fire in the same DeKalb park where Keller's severely burned remains are believed to have been found.

Keller, 18, of Plainfield, disappeared on Oct. 14 after telling friends she was going for a walk in a wooded area south of the NIU campus.

What police believe to be her remains were discovered two days later. The charred remains, which have yet to be positively identified, were found near items believed to belong to Keller.

The discovery of the remains was not announced until Saturday.

Despite the lack of charges so far, Keller's relatives were relieved to learn of the arrest.

"On this one, my heart stopped a little bit," the Keller's family spokeswoman Mary Tarling told WBBM. "It's odd; there's no prep for something like this, and just to know that there's a human being that at some point we're going to look at that could do this. It's hard, it's hard."

Right now, the person of interest is being held in Louisiana, charged with obstruction of justice and driving a stolen vehicle.

He is awaiting extradition to DeKalb County, west of Chicago, where police intend to question him in connection with what police believe was the murder of Toni Keller. The extradition is "pending," DeKalb Police Chief Bill Feithen told the station.

On Tuesday, despite the uncertainty of the body's identity, Feithen said the probe into Keller's disappearance had become a "homicide investigation" largely because of the items found near the remains.

That night, hundreds of students - many holding candles - gathered in a darkened room at the campus to remember Keller and show their concern for the art student, her family and friends.

COMPLETE COVERAGE OF THE ANTINETTE "TONI" KELLER CASE ON CRIMESIDER