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Illinois State University freshman biological sciences major Madison Finch was shot and killed at a New Year's Eve party in LaHarpe, Illinois, officials say. 

The suspect, Antonio L. Sanchez, 17, was charged with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of aggravated battery in the shooting, according to officials. Sanchez’s case first was heard in court Tuesday in Carthage, where he is being held on no bond in the Hancock County Jail.

His first preliminary hearing is set for Jan. 23. A judge will also hear a motion for Sanchez to be tried as an adult.

His hometown is unavailable. 

Court records allege Sanchez put a gun to 19-year-old Finch’s head and shot her from behind with a .22-caliber pistol at the party. Finch was pronounced dead at 5:22 a.m. Jan. 1. 

Illinois State Police and Hancock County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Sanchez at approximately 3:30 p.m. Monday, according to officials. Sanchez could face between 20 and 60 years in prison on each murder count if convicted. 

ISU officials state the "community is saddened by the death of Madison Finch."

“We always encourage anyone impacted by something like this to reach out for help,” ISU Director of Media Relations Eric Jome said in a statement. “Losing a member of the Redbird family is always difficult and the University extends its condolences to Madison's family and friends.”

Finch was home on winter break visiting family over the holidays. An obituary submitted to the Voice by Banks & Beals Funeral Home stated she was a 2017 graduate from Illini West High School.

Finch had just completed her first semester at ISU.

KEVIN SCHWALLER is a senior journalism major and News Editor and columnist for The Vidette. He can be reached at vidette_kschwal@ilstu.edu. Follow him on Twitter at @kevschwa.

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