3 yr old Riley Fox murdered child SOLVED/Confession

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By Rupa Mikkilineni
NEW YORK (CNN) -- One summer night in 2004, 3-year-old Riley Fox lay asleep on a couch not far from her 6-year-old brother on a chair in the living room. Their father was sleeping in a nearby bedroom.

The FBI joined the search for the killer of 3-year-old Riley Fox last month.

Just before 8 a.m., Kevin Fox was awakened by his son. The boy told his father that Riley was missing from the sofa.

Fox searched for his daughter for 40 minutes inside and outside their Wilmington, Illinois, home and then called police, according to authorities. His wife, Melissa, was in Chicago participating in a charity walk, and when she found out, she rushed home.

Nearly 500 volunteers, along with police and family, searched for the little girl.

Her body was found later that day in a river in Forked Creek, Illinois, just 4 miles from the family's home. She'd been bound and gagged with duct tape, raped and drowned, according to the Will County Sheriff's Office and the coroner's report.

It was June 6, 2004, the start of a horrific ordeal for the family.

Fox was arrested and charged with the killing, only to be exonerated by DNA evidence.

More than five years later, authorities have yet to capture Riley's killer.

Kathleen Zellner, Fox's attorney, said that the crime scene was brutal and that the theory is that Riley was snatched from her home, sexually assaulted and then thrown from the bridge overlooking the river where she drowned. Because her hands were bound and her mouth covered with duct tape, she was unable to swim or save herself, Zellner said.

According to Zellner, Fox says that the night his daughter disappeared, he had gone to a street fair while the children's grandparents looked after them. On his way home, about midnight, Fox picked up his two sleepy children from their grandparents and put them to bed in the living room of the 500-square-foot cement box family home. Riley often fell asleep on the sofa and her 6-year-old brother on the chair near her while watching TV, Zellner said.

Fox has said the front door was wide open when he awoke, Zellner said, as was the back door. He has said he locked the front door before he'd gone to bed.

The back door's lock had been broken weeks ago; they typically propped a stack of laundry baskets against it to keep it shut. According to the family, those baskets had been removed and placed on top of the laundry machine by someone other than family members.

"From the beginning, we believed that someone was already inside the house waiting when Kevin got home with the kids that night, " Melissa Fox said. "But it was clear that police were looking at Kevin suspiciously."

Indeed, five months later, Will County sheriff's officers arrested and charged Kevin Fox with the sexual assault and murder of his daughter. Zellner says the arrest came after authorities coerced a confession from him after 14 hours of relentless questioning.

Fox spent eight months in jail, but DNA evidence from the rape kit conducted on Riley's body finally exonerated him. There was no semen found during the autopsy, Zellner says, but saliva of an unidentified male was found on the duct tape covering Riley's mouth and elsewhere on her body.

The Foxes believe that the perpetrator was someone in the community who had been watching and targeting their daughter for some time.

"For weeks before her disappearance, I couldn't shake a feeling of uneasiness, strange noises at night outside our house, as if someone were lurking and watching us," Melissa Fox said.

Zellner believes that another big clue was a red car similar to a Chevrolet Cavalier parked outside the Fox home that night, before Kevin Fox and his children returned home.

"It's only been in the last few weeks that investigators have actively begun pursuing this case again," Zellner said, "even though Kevin was cleared nearly four years ago."

Last month, the FBI joined the investigation at the request of Will County State Attorney James Glasgow. FBI agents combed Riley's neighborhood and talked with neighbors and other potential witnesses.

"The FBI is bringing unprecedented resources and expertise to this investigation," Glasgow said in a statement. "We cannot allow this horrific crime against an innocent child to remain unsolved."

The family is offering a $100,000 reward, and the FBI is offering $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for Riley Fox's death.

Anyone with more information is urged to call the FBI's Chicago office at 312-421-6700.

New Charges In 2004 Riley Fox Murder (UPDATED)

Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow and the FBI are preparing to announce new charges in the 2004 murder of three-year old Riley Fox. Riley was taken from her Wilmington home after which she was raped and killed by drowning, her body found in a nearby creek. Prosecutors had originally charged Riley's father, Kevin Fox, with her murder as well as sexual assault before DNA evidence vindicated him in 2005 after spending over eight months in jail. Fox and his wife were eventually awarded $8 million in damages.

While a suspect has not yet been announced - it will be announced at a 2:30 p.m. press conference this afternoon - a source has told the Sun-Times the suspect is already in a state prison. Kathleen Zellner, an attorney who helped Kevin Fox, said, We know it was someone with absolutely no connection to the family." She also had harsh words for Will County authorities, saying, I think that it completely vindicates him and proves what we were saying all along that he is innocent and was victimized by the Will County detectives... The FBI - not Will County - solved this case."

Update: The Tribune reports the suspect is Scott Wayne Eby who is already serving a 14-year sentence for a 2005 sexual assault conviction.

JOLIET, Ill., May 28, 2010
Riley Fox Cold Case Solved, Authorities Say
CBS/ AP)   Prosecutors on Thursday charged an imprisoned sex offender with raping and murdering a 3-year-old girl whose father was initially blamed for her death.

Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow charged Scott Eby, 38, with first-degree murder and predatory criminal sexual assault of a child in the 2004 death of Riley Fox, who vanished from her home and whose body was later found in a creek four miles away.

Eby is doing time for raping his sister in 2005, says CBS News Correspondent Cynthia Bowers.

According to the criminal complaint, the 6-foot-2, 230-pound Eby held the bound girl under water until she drowned.

Her death gained widespread media attention, both during the search in Wilmington, Ill., where authorities say Eby lived, and after authorities accused her father, Kevin Fox.

Kevin Fox was charged after he implicated himself under intense questioning. But he later said he only did so in exchange for leniency and after losing hope during an overnight interrogation that lasted more than 14 hours.
Fox spent eight months in jail in the killing before DNA evidence gathered from the girl and from duct tape placed over her mouth showed he was not her killer. Glasgow, whose predecessor charged Fox, cleared the father after taking office.

The FBI says it was able to establish a DNA link between Eby and Fox's murder, Bowers reports.

"While nothing will bring back riley fox, we hope the events that led to (Eby being charged) will help bring some closure to the family," the FBI's Michael Kosanovich told reporters.

Fox and his wife, Melissa, were awarded $12.2 million in damages after they accused Will County investigators of fabricating evidence. A federal appeals court last month upheld Kevin Fox's claim he was falsely arrested but reduced the award to $8.6 million.

Glasgow told reporters Thursday there was no indication Fox and Eby ever knew each other, and the prosecutor stressed: "Kevin Fox is innocent in this case."

"I've never dealt with a case this heart-wrenching that took this long to get a resolution," Glasgow said, crediting the FBI with cracking the case since entering it over the past year or so.

Glasgow refused to discuss what the father told investigators during questioning that led to him being accused. But Glasgow called Fox's statements "significant" and insisted that "most prosecutors would have been hard-pressed to not file charges after viewing that videotape of Kevin Fox's statement."

Glasgow said he has four months to decide whether to seek the death penalty against Eby, who is serving seven-year prison sentences on each of two unrelated Will County convictions of criminal sexual assault.

Eby, an inmate at the medium-security Lawrence Correctional Center in Sumner, won't be eligible for parole until mid-2017, according to the Illinois Department of Corrections Web site.

Eby also has served prison time for burglary and forgery.

Riley Fox:Road To Vindication
ABC Nightline


Sex Offender Charged in 3-Year-Old Riley Fox's Slaying
Updated: 15 minutes ago
Michelle Ruiz Contributor

AOL News
(May 28) -- Six years after 3-year-old Riley Fox was abducted, sexually assaulted and drowned in a creek near her Illinois home, prosecutors who once blamed Fox's father for her death have filed first-degree murder charges against an imprisoned sex offender.

Scott Wayne Eby, 38, confessed to killing Riley in a crime that began as a burglary at her family's home in Wilmington, Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow said. Eby was charged Thursday with first-degree murder and predatory criminal sexual assault of a child. A year after Riley's slaying in 2004, Eby was convicted and sent to state prison on a 14-year sentence for the sexual assault of a female relative who is now 27.

Riley's parents, Kevin and Melissa, are "tremendously relieved" but have "mixed feelings," family attorney Kathleen Zellner told AOL News today.

"For Kevin, it's great thing to have his name finally cleared by having someone else linked to the crime," Zellner said. "At the same time, it was very difficult for them, because they learned details of what really happened to their daughter."

Glasgow tapped the FBI to assist in the investigation last year. He said a tipster to the federal agency led authorities to Eby, who was not an original suspect. He was living with his mother less than a mile from the Fox home at the time of the slaying, but authorities said Eby had no relationship with the Foxes.

After Riley's naked body was found facedown in the creek near her home, prosecutors focused on her father, ultimately charging him with his daughter's killing. He spent eight months in jail after giving a videotaped confession he later said was coerced by investigators. The charges against Fox were dismissed in June 2005, after Glasgow's election to the state attorney's office. He ordered DNA testing of the masking tape on Riley's mouth and found it did not match that of her father. The parents were awarded $8 million in a wrongful-arrest lawsuit.

"I have never dealt with a case this heart-wrenching," Glasgow told reporters. "While nothing can bring back Riley Fox, we hope that the events that led to today can bring some closure to the family."

The Foxes praised the FBI agents who assisted Will County officials in finding "the true killer," saying in a statement that "finally, there can be justice for Riley."

Glasgow addressed the legal missteps that led officials to target Fox, saying, "The FBI and my office feel comfortable in announcing Kevin Fox is innocent." He added that the charges filed against Eby prove "the system works."

"When everybody does their jobs, innocent people will not be convicted," Glasgow said.

Glasgow declined to say whether a DNA match was made between Eby and Riley. But he suggested the evidence against Eby was strong, saying his office had learned a valuable lesson after wrongfully charging Fox without DNA evidence, according the Chicago Sun-Times.

"We're not going to be in the situation we were in before with the DNA," he said.

Glasgow said he hoped Kevin Fox would work with his office to help it understand the circumstances of false confessions in an effort to avoid them in the future. Zellner said she found that statement "highly annoying."

"The statement that Kevin gave was not the product of anything about his personality. He is totally emotionally healthy and normal," Zellner told AOL News. "That was a law enforcement problem of people abusing their power in interrogations. They need to start by cleaning their own house."

At Thursday's news conference, Glasgow said he hoped the charges against Eby would bring peace to a community long haunted by the slaying of a young girl. Glasgow has four months to decide whether to seek the death penalty against Eby.

The case has "torn at the very fabric of Will County since 2004," he said. "It has torn at the hearts of everyone in law enforcement."


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