The body of 14 year-old Lydia Chaplin was found Thursday morning alongside a road in rural Whiteside County. She was a freshman at Erie High School. Investigators at first thought it might have been a hit and run, but the real cause of death proved to be quite different.
Police say Lydia Chaplin was attacked by four dogs, including three pit bulls a short distance from her home. Authorities belive she eventually died of hypothermia. The dogs were impounded Friday morning.
For Lydia's friends at Erie High School it was an extremely difficult day as they learned more about her sad death.
When Principal Tim McConnell received the call that Lydia was dead, the news hit everyone hard. But he says there are several counselors available to help kids mourn their lost friend.
"If students are having a hard time...we have them writing letters and drawing pictures... It seems to help them get through the day," says Principal McConnell.
Erie High School also went through the death of a student last year. So they have a well-tuned crisis response plan in place.
"Unfortunately we've been through this before. Just talking to friends and sharing emotions really helps them out," says Principal McConnell.
Lydia's body was found along a county road in Whiteside County at around 7:30am Thursday morning not long after her parents found her missing from her bed. The Whiteside County Sheriffs Department had assumed that Lydia was struck by vehicle after sneaking out of the house Wednesday night. Whiteside Sheriff, Robert Schipper says it was a sad, tough case.
"We handle all kinds of cases...many of the officers are fathers themselves," says Sheriff Schipper.
No charges have been filed against the dogs owners.