Missing Joliet bartender found shot to death in Kankakee County

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Kaitlyn M. Kearns | Will County sheriff’s office

A 24-year-old woman who went missing after leaving her job tending bar early Monday in southwest suburban Joliet has been found dead, and her death is being investigated as a homicide.

After an overnight search, Kaitlyn Kearns was found dead with a single gunshot wound to the head in a rural area of Kankakee County, according to the Will County sheriff’s office. Her 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee was also located.

Kearns, of Mokena, was pronounced dead at the scene, and her death is being investigated as a homicide, according to the sheriff’s office. The exact location where she was found in Kankakee County was not provided.

She was reported missing about 2:45 p.m. Tuesday by her father, according to the sheriff’s office.

Kearns was last seen about 1:30 a.m. Monday leaving her job at Woody’s Bar, 1005 E. Washington St. in Joliet, the sheriff’s office said. She was driving east on Washington Street in the 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee with Illinois license plate ZX33462.

On Wednesday, Joliet detectives turned the search over to the sheriff’s office, which is leading the investigation.

“Detectives believe that there is no threat to the community and that Kaitlyn was the intended target of this homicide,” according to the sheriff’s office.

Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff’s investigation division at (815) 727-8574; or the dispatch center at (815) 727-8575. Anonymous tips can also be sent to crimestoppersofwillcounty.org.

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