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Dwight president advises 'operate as normal'

DWIGHT – While the homicide of two women Saturday in their home remains unsolved, some residents have become concerned for their own safety.

“I have received a few phone calls from people asking if it’s safe to go for walks or take the kids outside,” Village President Jared Anderson said Tuesday. “My opinion is to operate as normal, because I haven’t received any messages from the police that we should do otherwise.”

Anderson said he hasn’t been told anything else about the investigation into the slayings of Donna Denker, 60, and her daughter, Kelli, 30.

“I’ve known the family all my life. They were an asset to the community. Donna was a good mom and a good grandma,” Anderson said.

At 4:38 a.m. Saturday, a 911 call brought police to the Denkers’ house at 200 W. North St. where a male said he’d been shot. A 23-year-old man was shot and remains in stable condition, according to police.

The bodies of Donna and Kelli Denker also were discovered inside the house. Autopsies performed Monday showed the women were shot to death.

In a news release from Dwight police Tuesday evening, police called the shooting an “isolated incident.” It states police are making progress with some leads from the public and ask the public to continue to provide police with any information they may have on the crime.

“We have no reason to believe that the public or community is in any danger, but as a precaution, we always encourage residents and community members to report any suspicious activity to police,” Dwight Chief Tim Henson said in the release. “We are working around the clock with our law enforcement partners to locate the offender who committed this heinous crime.”

The victims have been cremated and will be buried in a private ceremony. A memorial Mass is at 11 a.m. Thursday at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. A memorial fund for Kelli Denker’s son, Jack, has been established at the Dwight Bank Branch of Bank of Pontiac. Donna Denker also is survived by two other grandchildren, a daughter and a son.

John Denker, Donna’s husband, died in 2012. According to her obituary, Donna Denker was retired from a center that treats developmentally disabled people and was active with St. Patrick’s Catholic Church.

“She was known for making special homemade fishing lures. One of her greatest joys was being her grandchildren’s biggest fan at each of their sporting events,” her obituary said.

Kelli Denker was a graduate of Dwight High School and worked as a Dairy Queen manager. She was an avid blood donor for the American Red Cross, according to her obituary.

Police are asking anyone with information on this incident to contact the Dwight police hotline at 815-584-3132.

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