Kaitlyn M. Kearns, who lived in unincorporated New Lenox Township, was found dead overnight in a rural area of the county, according to a sheriff’s news release. The Kankakee County coroner’s office determined she had been shot once in the head, the release said.
Kearns’ father had reported her missing Tuesday, police said. She was last seen early Monday after working at Woody’s bar, 1005 E. Washington St., in Joliet, according to the news release.
Will County Sheriff’s Office SWAT officers executed a search warrant Thursday morning at the Outlaws Motorcycle Club clubhouse, which is nearby, in connection with Kearns’ death, Will County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Kathy Hoffmeyer said. Officers took a vehicle from the clubhouse after the search, Hoffmeyer said.
Kearns left Woody’s sometime around 1 a.m. and was at the clubhouse after that, Will County Sheriff Lt. Dan Jungles said.
“We’re still trying to piece everything together,” Jungles said.
Hoffmeyer said authorities had one person in custody late Thursday afternoon for questioning.
Friends and family knew Kearns as “Katie,” a hard-working, fun-loving girl who had three jobs both to make money – and to be around people she loved.
“She’s like one of the sweetest people in the world, but she also has that sassy side that makes everybody laugh,” said her friend Natalie, who asked to withhold her last name.
Her father, Kevin Kearns, and her older brother, Matt, expressed their gratitude to the media and everyone who helped in the search.
Kevin Kearns said his daughter had worked at Woody’s Bar for about one month.
When asked if he knew of any connection his daughter may have had with the Outlaws Motorcycle Club, Kevin Kearns said, “We don’t know anything. I have no clue.”
“The police are handling the investigation. It’s an ongoing investigation,” Matt Kearns said.
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