The Rape and Murder of Riley Fox
Jumping the Gun
June 6th, 2004 a little girl named Riley Fox was abducted and murdered in the small town of Wilmington, Ill., southwest of Chicago. Three year old Riley Fox vanished, and her father became the prime suspect. Kevin Fox, her father was home alone with his two children, 3-year-old daughter Riley and son Tyler, 6. His wife gone that weekend for a walk in Chicago to raise breast cancer awareness. His son Tyler woke Kevin and told him that Riley was gone. Kevin began searching for her himself, but after 40 minutes not finding her he called the police.
By the time Melissa, Riley's mother found out and rushed home from Chicago, almost the entire town was helping search for Riley. "Everybody was so supportive. I mean, I still, I can't thank everyone enough ... It was really unbelievable, " Melissa said. Kevin, a painter, doted on his precious daughter, saying she had "big brown eyes, the way she would look at you, and her smile. She just made your heart melt." He and his wife were high school sweethearts growing up in this close knit community.
With Melissa in Chicago, Kevin made plans to go to a street festival in Chicago with a brother of Melissa's, his mother-in-law keeping the kids for the evening. He was questioned on how much alcohol he had saying. "I had some beers. I was definitely not wasted." Kevin got home with the kids, who were both asleep around one AM.Kevin said he put Tyler on a chair in the living room and Riley on a couch, putting a yellow blanket over her. He then went to bed and did not awake until Tyler, his little boy woke him to tell him Riley was gone.
That afternoon, two female volunteers found Riley's body face down in a creek in the Forsythe Woods around two-and-a-half miles from where Riley lived. The police were called, but it would be awhile before Kevin and Melissa would find out about their daughter's horrible death. First they were brought in for questioning, then later told Riley had been sexually assaulted, bound, gagged with duct tape, then drowned.
Since Riley was found outside of Wilmington, the investigation was changed over to the Will County Sheriff's Office. Riley's parents and the rest of the family all agreed to be questioned and provide DNA samples,which is a normal procedure. Tyler their son was questioned with his parent's permission, who police hoped could offer clues being asleep beside Riley. The family believed an intruder came into their house and kidnapped Riley, although investigators didn't think the house showed forced entry and they thought it would take a great deal of planning or convenient for the killer to sneak inside and take Riley at such an opportune time when her father was asleep and her mother not home. The also questioned why Kevin would wait 40 minutes after finding his daughter missing before notifying the law. Kevin said it never once occurred to him she had been kidnapped.
Will County Sheriff's detectives grew more suspicious of Kevin, the last to see Riley alive. They filmed him at his daughter's funeral and they took special interest in a security video from a gas station located between the Fox home and the creek where she was found. Investigators believed it showed a car similar to Kevin Fox's Ford escape passing the station near the time of the murder and for whatever reason the public support for the family changed after a TV report showed the parents as indifferent to the death of Riley, causing rumors to start started. Melissa never once suspected her husband.
Another incident we all are familiar with by now was the fact a man fighting for political victory and being pressed to solve a case as the State's Attorney Jeff Tomczak was with Election Day was approaching. Asking the foxes to come to the station, immediately separating them, Kevin was taken into a very small room and interrogated the next 14 hours. Kevin said detectives told him they had reason to believe that he had killed Riley. He denied all they accused him of took a lie detector test being told he had failed it.
What a Web We Weave
The investigators said Kevin said he woke up in the middle of the night went to the bathroom, where he accidentally hit Riley with the door, causing her to stumble and hit her head on the bathtub. Assuming he accidentally killed her, he panicked and supposedly did something to make it look like she was sexually assaulted. Investigators said he put duct tape over Riley's mouth, drove her in his car to the river and walked down the side of a small bridge and dumped her into the river.
Kevin Fox was charged with first degree murder.
Tomczak said he would be seeking the death penalty. "The young child in this case died a terrible death," Tomczak said, "And for that reason, the penalty deserves to be death."
Hal Dardick, who covered the Fox case said that the decision to seek the death penalty is usually reached over weeks or months, not days. Tomczak has consistently denied that his decision was motivated by the impending election, which he ultimately lost to some other politician.
Insisting to his family that his confession was false and that after 14 hours, Kevin believed it was his only way out of that room. He could take no more and just wanted out of the room and the ones doing this know it often is the case.
After a single meeting with Kevin at the Will County jail, Attorney Kathleen Zellner agreed to take his case. She said she did not want to defend people she thought were guilty and she believed him innocent. She said she thought because Kevin had no history of child abuse, his confession was coerced, being a classic case of false confession. She said the trauma made Kevin vulnerable to what she calls psychological manipulation by interrogators. Detectives showed him pictures of Riley's dead body and refused to let him speak to his father or a lawyer and made graphic threats. The investigators said they would "have me raped every day I was in there if I didn't say anything."
Kevin's account of the interrogation was exaggerated and false police said, saying again he had failed the polygraph test. Fred Hunter, with years of experience working for both Zellner and Will County authorities, offered an answer for this. The validity of any test results after what they put this man through for all those hours are going to be tainted," The interrogators know this I am sure.
DNA tests came back negative for blood and semen. For saliva, the test read "inconclusive" which in forensic is a cause for hope. Inconclusive means it hasn't been read, and one reason for that could be that the state lab's equipment might not have been sophisticated enough to pick up on what little DNA existing.
Another testing, called Y-STR testing, was possible and could be the right kind of testing for this case. Y-STR testing checks the Y-chromosome, nearly identical in males of the same lineage and can be tested in small amounts.That partial profile may not be enough to completely identify a criminal, it is enough to eliminate a suspect with 100 percent certainty.
For ." Dr. Karl Reich, who runs a private Chicago-area lab called Independent Forensics, told Zellner the word "inconclusive" was actually a cause for hope. So Zellner, Kevin's attorney convinced the Will County prosecutor to send the samples to a lab in Virginia, telling Kevin the chances of getting anything from such a small sample were slim.
On June 16, 2005, with eight months in jail, Kevin learned the results of the DNA test. Kevin Fox, possibly facing the death penalty, was released with all charges dropped.
Now Zellner would put a massive lawsuit on behalf of the Foxes against Will County, claiming the investigators were not just guilty of innocent mistakes leading to Kevin's arrest, but out to convict him from the beginning. FBI records showed that "all additional DNA analysis were discontinued" when Kevin offered his confession. The FBI said a Will County investigator told them to stop, despite the "inconclusive" finding. The only piece of evidence that could set Kevin free.
He came so close to possibly being given a death penalty for the murder of his daughter, when all the horror of losing her and in the way it had been was enough to destroy a parent.
Riley Fox and Family
Evidence suggesting that an intruder was in the house had been completely ignored by the police, not even checking the back door completely open. The lock had been broken and a window opened from inside. None of this was ever finger printed nor the blanket that covered that child.
Professor Ann Burgess who has worked with the FBI profiling killers, testified on behalf of the Foxes that cases involving intruders are not as rare as many think. "There are many cases where an intruder comes in and and takes a child. DNA analysis from the same lab that cleared Kevin Fox cleared Patsy and John Ramsey in the murder of their daughter, Jon Benet. The detectives once discounted the intruder theory as too, in the Ramsey case. A lead investigator even wrote a book saying Jon Bennet's death was an accident staged to look like a murder.I think they murdered that woman. Stress can cause cancer and if they didn't put stress on that poor woman. Look at all her last years were. Justice should be done here too, and that poor little brother was even mentioned at one time and no doubt checked out.
Before the jury, Zellner used the tape of interrogation to reveal how badly the police wanted Kevin to be the murderer. Kevin shook his head no 168 times to his involvement in his daughters murder. The interviewer on the tape settled with the Foxes out-of-court and denied any wrongdoing, but the Will County detectives went to trial, thank God.
The jury awarded Kevin Fox and his wife Melissa $15.5 million in their civil rights case against Will County. I saw on the news they will not get that much(maybe about half) and that is easy enough to believe. My question is why these detectives, the interrogator and many policemen are not behind bars right now? They lied and tried to kill an innocent man, plain and simple and it goes on all the time while they let real criminals walk right by them, and nothing happens to them. Judgment day is coming forall like this to be sure, they only think they are getting by with it.
Riley's murderer was caught and charged for the rape and murder of this precious 3 year old baby. Scott Eby, 38 was sent to prison for a separate 2005 charge of criminal sexual assault. According to the Illinois sex offender registry, and has an extensive criminal history. He was charged on five counts of first-degree murder and one count of predatory sexual assault in the long-unsolved murder of Riley.
Do you think the law should have to answer for mistakes like this?
All's well that ends well?
The police received a tip leading them to go to the prison where he is currently incarcerated. They got a DNA sample, the state lab cooperated in quickly getting the test result. They returned to the prison within 24 hours and they were able to get a statement from him confessing to the crime. Our judicial system and most of our government are rotten to the core.
Zellner said they were so focused on her client that they did not look at anyone else, including Eby, who was on parole and living a mile away when Riley was killed. Would they check for a local sex offender, with 100,000 they have lost I guess they saw no use to.
State's new Attorney James Glasgow said his decision to free Fox made him unpopular in the law enforcement community. "What I want to point out to you is, the system works," Glasgow said. "When everybody does their jobs, innocent people aren't convicted."
I would like to ask Mr. Glasgow when that is that everyone does their job? Why is it so many times they let trails get cold or completely erased in many of these child abduction cases because the first thing they do is waste days and even months looking at the parents. Well you know who they are and where they are. Have a brain and look at all the evidence instead of many times hiding it and make the people pay that do these things. These are crimes.just like any other and should be made punishable, not paid off with money that is not even yours.
I don't know why I get involved in hubs like this but I am finding it harder and harder to believe the way this world really is. There is not enough money in the world to bring this baby back or not think of what she went through, but they won't take him out and shoot him down or shoot him up (lethal injection) or whatever he deserves for doing this. Will he be treated like Kevin, we know better, he has been proven guilty so now he has all the rights and if they do ever punish him it will be after years of making this family wait for their baby's justice. Our law is dirty, unjust and needs cleaned out!