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Peoria man convicted of murder on 'strong circumstantial evidence' in case where victim's body was never found

A gavel rests on a judge's bench in a blurry courtroom. The text "WCBU Courts" sits on top of that photo.

A Peoria man was convicted this week of murder in a case where the victim's body was never actually found.

Allen Schimmelpfennig, 30, was convicted by a jury for the murder of 34-year-old Gabriel Cook in 2021.

Though no body was found, prosecutors said there was strong circumstantial evidence presented in the case.

Forensic pathologst Dr. Amanda Youmans said a large pool of Cook's dried blood found in Schimmelpfennig's storage locker suggested the victim would have needed immediate treatment to survive. There are no medical records showing Cook was ever taken to a hospital.

Peoria County prosecutors say detectives also found shell casings that matched a casing in Schimmelpfennig's apartment, and a motorbike that Schimmelpfennig and Cook had loaded onto a Jeep on the day Cook disappeared.

That Jeep, which belonged to Cook's grandmother, was found on fire later that day on Kickapoo Creek Road. Cook's contact with his family and loved ones also ended on March 8, 2021, the day he disappeared.

Sentencing is set for June 22.

Tim is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.