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Death of 15-year-old Wyanet student being investigated as a homicide, Peoria coroner says

Cole Daniel Rinehart’s death is being investigated as a homicide by the Bureau County Sheriff’s Department, according to Peoria County’s coroner.

Coroner Jamie Harwood said Rinehart’s cause of death is blunt force head trauma caused by another individual. Sheriff Jim Reed confirmed there is an ongoing investigation, though he declined to disclose the nature of the investigation at this time.

Rinehart died on Sunday, Jan. 30, at OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria. Rinehart was transported via Life Flight from OSF St. Clare in Princeton the preceding day after an altercation in Wyanet with another 15 year-old boy, according to the Bureau County Sheriff’s Office.

Rinehart was a student at Bureau Valley High School.

“I have been an educator for 30 years and I have had the privilege of teaching and knowing about 600 children, “ BV teacher Laurie Bitting said. “When I think about certain students, I can’t always remember if they were a great reader, excellent at math, or if they loved science but what always stays with me, is what kind of person they were.”

“Thinking back over the year I spent with Cole, what I remember most is how incredibly sweet Cole was. Cole was quiet but always attentive and interested in anything that we were talking about in class. He walked through the door each morning with a smile on his face and he was such a happy young man, “ Bitting said. “Polite and respectful are also qualities that I remember about Cole and that speaks volumes about his parents and the way in which he was raised.”

“Even though Cole and I were in the same building in Manlius, our paths didn’t cross during the school day but the loss I feel is great, “Bitting said. “I know in my heart that Cole was loved by many and my deepest condolences go out to his family. I will remember him always as that cheerful, smiling 3rd grader, who struggled to keep his glasses pushed up on his nose. May God welcome him with open arms.”

Funeral plans have been set for Rinehart. A visitation will be from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 6, at Grant-Johnson Funeral Home in Princeton.

A funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Monday, Feb. 7, at Grant-Johnson Funeral Home. Memorials may be directed to Cole’s family in his memory and online condolences may be sent to

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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