Murder of Riley Fox
Riley Fox (March 31, 2001 – June 6, 2004) was a 3-year-old girl from Wilmington, Illinois, who was murdered on June 6, 2004. After Riley's father was initially accused and then cleared by DNA evidence, paroled convict Scott Eby confessed to the crime and was convicted.
On June 6, 2004, the night of the disappearance, Riley's father Kevin Fox had picked up his children from their grandmother's house around 1 am. Too tired to carry his children up to bed, he laid Riley on the couch and Riley's older brother Tyler on the living room chair. He then went to his room, watched TV and went to sleep around 2:30. The next morning he was awakened by Tyler, who told him that Riley was gone. After searching and checking with neighbors, he called police.
Discovery of body
Later that day Riley was found dead in Forsythe Woods County Forest Preserve, a public park a few miles from Wilmington. She was found face down in a creek, having been bound, gagged, and sexually assaulted before being drowned.
The girl's father, Kevin Fox, was initially charged based on a coerced confession. He spent eight months in jail before being cleared by DNA evidence showing that someone else had committed the crime.
Fox's attorney Kathleen Zellner was responsible for discovering that DNA evidence existed and getting it tested. Police had found a pair of mud-covered shoes at the scene with the name Eby written inside, but did nothing with this evidence. They ignored other important clues as well, such as on the night Riley disappeared, a nearby house was burglarized. The Fox family later won a $15.5 million jury verdict (later reduced to $8.5 million) in a federal civil rights lawsuit against Will County Sheriff's Office and the detectives who had coerced Kevin Fox's confession.
Scott Eby was later charged on five counts of first-degree murder and one count of predatory sexual assault after DNA evidence linked him to Riley. At the time he was charged, Eby was serving two consecutive seven-year sentences.[further explanation needed] Eby confessed that he burglarized a nearby home, then cut through a screen door of Riley's home. He found Riley on the couch, put her into his car, and drove her to the park where he assaulted her in a restroom. Then he drowned her in a nearby creek. He received a life sentence without the possibility of parole. He had been on parole and living about a mile from the Fox's home at the time of the crime.
- "Riley Fox Murder: Killer Left Signed Shoe At The Scene, Police Missed It For Six Years". The Huffington Post. 16 June 2010. Retrieved 24 September 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
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- "Kevin Fox". Law Offices of Kathleen T. Zellner. Retrieved 22 September 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Sancho, Miguel (11 June 2010). "Exclusive: Riley Fox's Parents Speak Out After Alleged Killer Found". Retrieved 24 September 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Schmadeke, Steve (7 April 2010). "Court upholds finding that police framed Kevin Fox in rape-murder of daughter, Riley Fox, 3". tribunedigital-chicagotribune. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 22 September 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
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