Scared Monkeys Discussion Forum

Missing, Exploited and True Crime => Finally Solved => Topic started by: Nut44x4 on April 08, 2014, 04:10:33 PM

Title: Discarded Cigarette Breaks Open Cold Case of Runaway Murdered in 1997 WI
Post by: Nut44x4 on April 08, 2014, 04:10:33 PM

A cigarette carelessly tossed away at a train station cracked open an ice-cold case: the 1997 murder of a 14-year-old Wisconsin runaway.

The rape and slaying of Amber Gail Creek went unsolved for more than 17 years because even though police collected fingerprints and DNA from the crime scene, they never found a match.

That changed two months ago when Racine County sheriff's investigators learned that a state database had linked the latest prints on a plastic bag over Creel's head to a Palatine, Ill., man named James P. Eaton, officials said.

Police began tailing Eaton, whose fingerprints wound up in the system for minor infractions. They were nearby when the 36-year-old flicked away a partially smoke cigarette as he waited for a train that was late, authorities said.

DNA obtained from the cigarette matched the genetic material covered from Creek, and Eaton has been charged with first-degree homicide and hiding a corpse.
 ::snipping3::  video

Creek ran away from a state-run juvenile shelter in Chicago on Jan. 23, 1997, and was last seen leaving a party at a Motel 6 in Rolling Meadows, Ill., and getting into a luxury car with a placard reading "mayor."

Her body was found a couple of weeks later in a Racine County marsh — a plastic bag over the head and the word "Hi" written on the back of an upraised hand — but it took more than a year to identfy.

Police said she had been sexually assaulted, strangled and suffocated.
 ::snipping3:: ::snipping3:: more...

Title: Re: Discarded Cigarette Breaks Open Cold Case of Runaway Murdered in 1997 WI
Post by: MuffyBee on April 08, 2014, 07:26:16 PM
This is really great news Nut!  Seventeen years is a long time to wait for justice, but at least James Eaton will finally have to answer to this crime.  The article says he's 36 years old now, so he would probably have had many more years to enjoy life.  Except his past has caught up with him.  It doesn't look like he's going to be having much fun now.  JMHO  I wonder if he thought he had gotten away with Amber Creek's murder?  It doesn't appear he was ever picked up or questioned about it before, because there wasn't a match.  I love advancing technology!  Surprise, surprise, surprise! 

Title: Re: Discarded Cigarette Breaks Open Cold Case of Runaway Murdered in 1997 WI
Post by: MuffyBee on April 08, 2014, 07:30:39 PM
Insert Quote

Amber Gail Creek

Title: Re: Discarded Cigarette Breaks Open Cold Case of Runaway Murdered in 1997 WI
Post by: MuffyBee on April 08, 2014, 07:32:56 PM,0,3486673.story
Palatine man charged in '97 murder of girl, 14
April 8, 2014

A Palatine man has been charged in connection with the 1997 murder of 14-year-old Amber Creek, authorities announced today.

James P. Eaton, 36, is accused of first-degree murder and hiding a corpse, officials said. He is being held on a $1 million bond in Racine County, Wis., where Amber’s body was found in a remote wildlife refuge.

Authorities said Eaton had never been a suspect in the cold case until this February, when authorities in Oklahoma alerted them that fingerprints taken from the bag found around Amber’s head matched Eaton’s, which were stored in a national fingerprint database because of a past minor arrest.

Authorities then conducted surveillance of Eaton and were able to obtain his DNA from a cigarette that he discarded at a Chicago-area Metra station, officials said. That DNA was matched with evidence taken from the victim.

Police did not elaborate on how Eaton first encountered Amber or the circumstances of her killing.

"Our investigation is ongoing," said Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling.

"We believe there are people out there who have knowledge of Mr. Eaton and his involvement in this crime," he said. "We ask those people to search their hearts, do the right thing for Amber and her family, and come forward."

Palatine police Cmdr. Dave Daigle said his department had no role in the investigation into Amber's murder since she was reported missing out of Chicago. Regarding Eaton, Daigle said: "We have never arrested him. The only contact we’ve had is he received a speeding ticket and he was a victim of a burglary to his motor vehicle."

Amber's partially clothed body was found on Feb. 9, 1997. A bookstore receipt was stuck to one hand, the word “Hi” was written in black ink on the other and her head was wrapped in a black garbage bag.

The body in the woods was not identified as Amber’s until June 1998 via dental records and an online missing child database. The cause of her death was ruled as asphyxiation. The lag in her identification and other missteps in the case led to changes in policies affecting children in the state’s care.

Title: Re: Discarded Cigarette Breaks Open Cold Case of Runaway Murdered in 1997 WI
Post by: MuffyBee on April 08, 2014, 07:37:16 PM
Police arrest suspect in 1997 cold case murder of Wisconsin teen
April 6, 2014

The cold case murder of a 14-year-old runaway has been solved, according to local authorities in Wisconsin.

The partially nude body of Amber Gail Creek, of Palantine, Ill., was found in a wildlife refuge in 1997 with a taunting message written by the killer on her hand.

Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling said Saturday that his deputies have taken a 36-year-old Illinois man into custody for the “senseless and brutal” crime, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

Amber’s body was found on Feb. 9, 1997, near a stream in the Karcher Wildlife Area by two hunters. She was naked from the waist down.

She was suffocated with a black plastic bag, according to investigators who worked on the crime at the time, the Racine Journal Times reported Sunday.

She had been beaten, sexually assaulted and her body was left posed with an upraised hand that included a greeting, “HI,” written in ink on her palm, the newspaper said.

The killer also stuck a $5 price tag, from a Golden Books store in Schaumburg, Ill., to her arm.
The girl, who was also known as Aimee, ran away from a home for abused and neglected children in Chicago two weeks before her body was found.

A missing persons report on the Racine County sheriff’s website said Amber was last seen getting into a “vehicle with a white male driver” in the vicinity of the home.

It took investigators 16 months to determine her identity.

Her case drew national attention at the time, including a profile on “America’s Most Wanted,” which aired Dec. 12, 1998.

Title: Re: Discarded Cigarette Breaks Open Cold Case of Runaway Murdered in 1997 WI
Post by: MuffyBee on April 08, 2014, 07:41:26 PM
Conference on 1997 slaying of Palatine girl postponed
April 7, 2014

Amber's body was found a little more than two weeks after she ran away from a Department of Children and Family Services facility in Chicago. Unable to identify her, she was buried as "Jane Doe" thanks to donations from community members in Racine County. About 16 months later she was identified as Amber.

Authorities at the time said Amber ran away from the Columbus-Maryville Center in Chicago in late January 1997. She was last seen Feb. 1 or 2, 1997, at a party at a Rolling Meadows motel.

Described as a chronic runaway, Amber was a ward of the state at the time of her disappearance. She spent the first six years of her life living with her mother in Lake Zurich, then was taken to live with her father in Palatine.

In December 1996, her father took her to the Palatine police station and told them he didn't want her living with him anymore, authorities said. DCFS took custody and when they couldn't find a foster home for her, placed her in the Columbus-Maryville Center.