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Authorities processing what was found in search said to be tied to Dwight double homicide

Published: Sunday, Aug. 3, 2014 4:14 p.m. CDT • Updated: Sunday, Aug. 3, 2014 4:19 p.m. CDT

SHERIDAN – Authorities said Sunday they were processing what was found during a search in Sheridan that was held to look for evidence that may assist in the investigation of a double homicide in Dwight and recent burglaries in Grundy County.

At 8 a.m. Sunday in a 26-acre, undisclosed site in Sheridan, more than 100 law enforcement and fire officials took part in the large-scale ground search, according to a news release from Illinois State Police. 

"The search has concluded and the agencies involved are debriefing the results," ISP Spokeswoman Monique Bond wrote in an email to Shaw Media. "Investigators are processing what was found and there will be no further updates today. .... will keep you posted on updates next week."

When asked who was processing any items found, or for additional information on what was found, Bond said authorities were declining to further comment "at this time," and added that "most of the questions will be addressed when we are prepared to release more information on the investigations."

The search started about 8 a.m and wrapped up shortly after noon, Bond said, and was run out of a designated command center in Sheridan. The exact site was not disclosed for security reasons, and the area was blocked off and restricted to authorities only, according to the news release. 

The search was set for Sunday because it would be minimal disruption to the community, and the weather conditions were compatible, Bond said.

Law enforcement and fire officials are searching for any evidence in the investigation of Dwight homicide victims Donna J. Denker, 60, and her daughter Kelli L. Denker, 30. Both women died in their home June 14 and autopsies showed they died from gunshot wounds. 

Former Morris resident Joseph R. Sipple, 27, who shot himself in June while fleeing LaSalle County Sheriff’s Deputies, was found to be a past acquaintance of Kelli Denker. Sipple had charges of possession of stolen property but has not been named a suspect in the homicide investigation.

Sipple’s confrontation with the LaSalle County Sheriff’s Deputies occurred June 26 at a residence south of Sheridan in the northeastern part of LaSalle County.

Illinois State Police, Dwight Police Department, LaSalle County Sheriff’s Office and fire departments from MABAS divisions 15 and 25, and the Red Cross participated in the search.

Morris Police Chief Brent Dite and Fire Chief Tracey Steffes both referred requests for comment to ISP.

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