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  1. #1
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    WI - Amber Creek, 14, raped & murdered, Racine County, 9 Feb 1997

    It's a little late to start a thread for Amber Gail Creek now that an arrest has been made, but when cold cases are solved, I think it's important to note them as they might provide clues to unsolved cold cases.

    Here's some background:

    On February 9, 1997 the body of a then unidentified white female was found by a stream in a wildlife area in the Township of Burlington, Wisconsin. Burlington is located in the southwest corner of Racine County. The Racine County Sheriff’s Department was able to identify the victim as Amber Gail Creek of Palatine, Illinois. Amber frequented the Palatine, Rolling Meadows, and Chicago areas of Northern Illinois. The Racine County Sheriff’s Department is asking that anyone who knew or had any contact with Amber (Amy) Creek or knew any of her acquaintances to please contact the Racine County Sheriff’s Department Toll Free 1-800-242-4202. Call the Racine County Sheriff’s Department at 262-636-3227.
    The Racine County Sheriff’s Department’s investigation has led investigators into the city of Chicago. The Sheriff’s Department has information that Amber Creek was seen getting into a vehicle with a white male driver, in the vicinity of Columbus-Maryville.
    http://racineuncovered.org/2014/01/r...lved-homicide/

    On the trail of a killer
    BY JEFF WILFORD Journal TimesJuly 06, 1998 12:00 am
    It is Thursday, July 2, 17 months after the body of a young girl was found in Karcher Wildlife Area; one week after the girl was identified as Amber Gail Creek, who was 14 when she died, of Palatine, Ill.; one day after the task force to catch her killer was assembled.

    “Today's her birthday, by the way," Hanrahan adds. “Sixteen, she would've been."

    Amber's body was found in Karcher Wildlife Area on Feb. 9, 1997. She was nude from the waist down. She had been beaten, strangled, sexually assaulted and had a plastic bag put over her head.

    The killer seemed to taunt investigators. The girl's body appeared posed when it was found and the word “hi" was written in ink on one of her hands. A $5 price tag, from a Golden Books store in Schaumburg, Ill., was stuck to her arm.

    Little was known about her at the time. Who she was, where she came from, where or when she died were all mysteries. Investigators dubbed her Jane Doe.the person who killed her.
    Internet Search Helps Identify Body Found in Racine County
    June 27, 1998
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  2. #2
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    Amber Gail Creek

    Police arrest suspect in 1997 cold case murder of Wisconsin teen
    Published April 06, 2014
    FoxNews.com
    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.

    “My investigators and I sifted through thousands of reports, and spent thousands of hours over the years trying to solve this senseless murder of a child. Today by far was the best moment for my investigative team as we informed Amber’s dad that we caught her killer,” Schmaling wrote in an email to the Racine newspaper. “It was an emotional exchange for everyone in the room.”
    Report: Arrest made in 1997 slaying of Palatine girl
    Article updated: 4/6/2014 9:18 PM

    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 in Chicago.

    Between Dec. 13 and Jan. 23, 1997, Amber ran away six times, according to DCFS officials.

    The case drew national attention, and was featured on a 1998 episode of the television show "America's Most Wanted."
    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/04/06...isconsin-teen/

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  3. #3
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    Heartbreaking story, heartbreaking life. May you rest in peace, Amber.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for posting this Bessie, I was about to, but saw you beat me to it!
    There will be a presser this afternoon. This is local for me and I have been waiting for something to break in this case. When cold cases like this are solved it gives us hope for the many, many, other cases that we hope will be solved one day.
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  5. #5
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    You're welcome, jezy. Will you be listening to the PC later? It would be great if you could give us a recap. TIA if you can.
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  6. #6
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    I am reading different info re: the Presser. Some sites have said today (Monday) now some are saying tomorrow (Tuesday). Regardless, I will recap!
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  7. #7
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    Thanks, Jezy!
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  8. #8
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    "The killer seemed to taunt investigators. The girl's body appeared posed when it was found and the word “hi" was written in ink on one of her hands. A $5 price tag, from a Golden Books store in Schaumburg, Ill., was stuck to her arm."

    snipped from up thread.

    I am very curious to see who else her killer may have been linked to. These types of cases get me.

  9. #9
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    We have a name.
    UPDATE: An arrest has been made in the 1997 slaying of Amber Gail Creek.
    James P. Eaton, 36, of Palatine, Ill. is now in police custody at the Racine County Jail.
    The Racine County Sheriff's Office said they were able to recover fingerprints and DNA from a plastic bag found at the crime scene. The Wisconsin Crime Laboratory confirmed the fingerprints on the bag as Eaton's.
    Eaton is being charged with first degree intentional homicide and hiding a corpse. He will be held on a $1 million bail.
    http://www.620wtmj.com/news/local/Ne...254341091.html

    He's from Palatine, and so was Amber. She probably knew him.
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  10. #10
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    More details with press conference video

    Illinois man arrested in connection with 1997 Racine death of Amber Creek
    UPDATED 12:01 PM CDT Apr 08, 2014

    Schmaling said authorities had "solid, clear and overwhelming evidence" that Eaton was responsible for the slaying. His deputies sifted through thousands of reports, and spent thousands of hours over the years trying to crack the case, he said.

    Eaton has been charged with first-degree intentional homicide and hiding a corpse.

    Creek, a 14-year-old from Palatine, ran away from a state-run juvenile shelter in Chicago on Jan. 23, 1997. She then attended a party at a motel in Rolling Meadows, Ill., the week of her death. She was last seen leaving the party and getting into a luxury car that had a placard reading "mayor" and was driven by a white man in his 30s.

    Read more: http://www.wisn.com/news/racine-offi...#ixzz2yJdxyZG5
    Eaton wasn't in his 30's, so who was the guy driving the car?

    Palatine man charged in '97 murder of girl, 14
    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.
    Last edited by bessie; 04-08-2014 at 01:40 PM.
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  11. #11
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    James P. Eaton, 36
    Charged with first degree intentional homicide and hiding a corpse.
    Held in Racine County on $1 million bail

    Palatine man charged in teen’s 1997 slaying
    Amber had been a ward of the state for a few weeks when she ran away from a juvenile shelter in Chicago on Jan. 23, 1997.

    A few weeks later, on Feb. 9, her body was found in a hunting area of the Karcher Wildlife Refuge in Burlington. She'd been sexually assaulted and suffocated.

    Reports at the time said she had been propped up against a tree, naked from the waist down, with a palm turned up and the word "Hi" written on it. She'd had a black bag wrapped around her head and a receipt from a Schaumburg bookstore in her other hand.

    It wasn't until about 17 months later that the remains were identified as Amber's.
    "We don't have any answers yet," Amber's aunt, Nora Mowers, said Monday. "My sister (Creek's mother) can't stop crying long enough to talk to anyone. We don't know how we feel. It's elation. But there's no closure. Not at all. Not yet. Our family's been through so much. ... I'm just really, really happy they got him."
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  12. #12
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    Thank you Bessie, I was at work all day and missed the presser, and was unable to update as planned.
    I expected the presser to be yesterday, when I was off, but as you know it was postponed.
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  13. #13
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    No problem, Jezy. I'm just glad it's official and we have a name. Now I'd like to know, who is this person? And what has he been up to all these years? I hope we'll hear that others have come forward to speak up very soon.


    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...ber-Creek.html
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  14. #14
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    His bond was reduced from $1 million to $500K.

    [snipped]
    James P. Eaton, 36, could face a mandatory life sentence if convicted of first-degree intentional homicide, said Racine County District Attorney Rich Chiapete. He sought to have the bond for Eaton, who is also charged with hiding a corpse, remain at $1 million, but the court commissioner ordered that bond be reduced to $500,000.

    [snipped]
    Eaton has recently worked in an operations unit of PrivateBancorp Inc. in Chicago, company spokeswoman Amy Yuhn confirmed. She declined to say whether Eaton is still with the company.
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...,5637388.story
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  15. #15
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    In a statement, Racine County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy John Hanrahan, who has been involved in the investigation since 1997, said, “Robert Creek is an exceptional man who did everything possible to get help for his daughter. He desperately reached out to DCFS to help Amber. Not only was the care and security they provided her extraordinarily inadequate, their failure to report Amber missing until well after she was found murdered is simply incredible.”


    Robert Creek had tried to help his daughter overcome her drug and alcohol problems but he eventually gave up custody to DCFS in December 1996, according to the Chicago Tribune. The paper reported that after Amber went missing, he spent more than a year driving around the city and suburbs searching for her.
    http://www.hlntv.com/article/2014/04...-cigarette-dna
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