East Dubuque schools to release 500 yellow balloons for teen - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Balloon release planned in memory of murdered teen

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In between East Dubuque High School's junior varsity and varsity football games Friday night, 500 yellow balloons will rise into the night sky, in memory of Chyenne Kircher.

The East Dubuque, Ill. teenager disappeared nearly two years ago, as a 14-year-old. Police originally classified her as a runaway. However, a reinvigorated investigation in the past six months lead officials to charge her stepfather, 40-year-old Terry Abbas, with the girl's murder on or about Oct. 13, 2011. On Thursday evening, officials found human remains they believe to be Kircher's behind the home Abbas shared with Kircher, her brother and Kircher's mother Lori Lyons. That's at 480 Wisconsin Avenue in East Dubuque.

Abbas is in the Jo Daviess County jail on a $1 million bond, and the community is beginning the steps toward processing this shocking development and - eventually - healing.

East Dubuque School District superintendent Greg Herbst said the district will hand out 500 yellow balloons to people in between the two games Friday night, since yellow is a color that represents both missing children and hope. On the first anniversary of Kircher's disappearance, students released 200 yellow balloons.

He said school officials discussed whether to cancel the game but ultimately decided that, in a small town, football games are community events and Friday's games would likely act as a gathering place for healing.

East Dubuque's junior class will stand in the middle of the field for the balloon release. There are 63 students in the junior class. Kircher would have made 64.

Herbst said the event is open to the public. While the length of the junior varsity game, which starts at 5:30 p.m., can vary, he said between 7 and 7:30 p.m. would be a good guess for balloon launch timing.

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