'Relief' for Family After Sex Offender Charged in Riley Fox's Murder

Girl's father originally confessed to the 2004 crime.

ByABC News via GMA logo
May 27, 2010, 1:00 PM

May 28, 2010— -- The Fox family of Illinois finally has some closure after an imprisoned sex offender was charged with the 2004 murder of 3-year-old Riley Fox, a crime that Riley's father originally confessed to committing.

"It's been a terrible ordeal for the family because even with DNA clearing Kevin in 2005, many people persisted in the belief that he was guilty," Kathleen Zellner, the Fox family's attorney, said. "So this is a tremendous relief."

Scott Eby, 38, was charged on five counts of first-degree murder and one count of predatory sexual assault Thursday in the long-unsolved murder.

Eby 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, including forgery and a string of burglaries. He has been in and out of prison since 1988.

"Apparently, [the police] received a tip that led them to go to the prison where he is currently incarcerated," Zellner said. "They spoke to him, 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."

The dramatic announcement brought an end to a six-year nightmare involving the sexual assault and drowning of the girl who was found face down in a creek in the Forsythe Woods, about 2 miles from the Fox residence in Wilmington, Ill.

"I have never dealt with a case this heart-wrenching," Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow said at a news conference. "While nothing can bring back Riley Fox, we hope that the events that led to today can bring some closure to the family."

After Riley's murder, the police zeroed in on Kevin Fox. 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.

But after a 14 hour interrogation, Kevin Fox confessed to the crime.