Keri Lynn Wyant was born October 18, 1971 in Galesburg, Knox County, IL. She was the oldest of five children.
1985 - 1988 (14 - 17 years old) she sometimes lived with her parents and sometimes with aunts and uncles that were nearby. She attended Stark County High School in Illinois, but didn’t graduate. When she turned 19, she left her parent’s house with only a suitcase of clothing. Keri slept on friend’s couches or rented rooms. She supported herself by working as a waitress in multiple restaurants such as Gustavo’s Tacos, Market Street Cafe, Taco House, Hardee’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, and BJ’s. She lived in diﬀerent areas: Galva, Galesburg, Abingdon, Peoria, New Athens. She even worked for the Carnival for a bit that would go to several small-town fairs.
On June 1, 1991 (19 years old) police were called by a homeowner in Galesburg, IL at 7:19 pm because Keri was carrying a large suitcase and was asking residents in this neighborhood if she could stay there because she had nowhere to go. Police did show up and helped her make contact with someone who could come get her.
On August 24, 1992 (20 years old) she entered an inpatient treatment program at Zellers Health Clinic in Peoria, IL. The clinic was one of the leading treatment facilities for those recovering from trauma. After leaving the clinic, she returned to Galesburg and moved into an apartment at 253 Linnaeus Avenue.
On September 28, 1992 (Just a few weeks before her 21st birthday) police responded to a 911 call. Keri was strapped to an alter about to be sacrificed with a knife by her neighbor and his associate. Thank goodness for an elderly man who also lived in that apartment who called 911 when he saw what was going on. She moved out of that apartment and went back to working with the carnival.
Early 1994 (23 years old) she came to Kewanee, IL via bus and called her a friend to help her out. She was pregnant. Keri went to live at her friend’s mom’s house for a few months. April 1994 Keri finally put together enough money for an apartment at 12 Fairview in Kewanee. She didn’t want to live alone since she was in the last trimester of her pregnancy so her friend went to live with her. (For the friend’s privacy, we are not releasing her name)
May 22, 1994 Keri gave birth to her son William. She took William to see her grandmother (her mom’s mother). She told her grandmother that she was probably going to marry William’s father.
June 17, 1994 Keri filed a harassment report with the police department. Unfortunately, much of the report has been purged from the system making it impossible to see who the report was against. Shortly after this she went missing. Her friend kept William. The carnival was in a nearby town, so her friend took William thinking maybe Keri was working with the carnival again. But she didn’t see Keri there.
May 1, 1995 (11 months after Keri went missing) scattered bones, clothing, and jewelry were found in a cornfield in rural Thomasboro, IL. Keri had a ring that had her son’s birthstone in it.
Thomasboro is about 2 hours and 19 minutes away from Kewanee where she was last living. The cause of death was ruled trauma to the skull.
Her friend raised William. William lost his life on October 30, 2001 when he was hit by a car while riding his bike. He was only 7 years old.
In 2020 Keri was identified using genetic genealogy solving the 25 year year old mystery of who is Champaign Jane Doe.
However, much of Keri’s life is a mystery because she did not stay in touch with her family for the most part after leaving their home at 19. It’s also been so many years since she went missing, that maybe people she knew have forgotten.
Maybe someone out there does know something about what happened to Keri?
Special thanks to the following people: Detective Dwayne Roelfs, Detective Michael Wertz, Detective Casey Donovan, and retired Detective Tim Beckett for all their help on this case. Genealogist Charles McGee, Genealogist Jean Grier, and retired CSI Yolanda McClary for working with DNA and genealogy in this case.