A man who confessed to the 2004 sexual assault and murder of a 3-year-old Illinois girl has died in a state prison, according to state records.
- Scott Eby, 52, who admitted to the sexual assault and murder of a 3-year-old Illinois girl in 2004 has died in a state prison
- Eby was an inmate at the Menard Correctional Center and died on Thursday; His victim, Riley Fox, was found in a creek near her home
- Her case gained national attention because her father, Kevin Fox, was initially wrongfully accused, spending eight months in jail before being cleared by DNA
Scott Eby, 52, an inmate at the Menard Correctional Center, died on Thursday, according to an online inmate notification system.
The death of Riley Fox, whose body was found in a creek near her home, generated national headlines at the time because her father was wrongly accused in case.
Riley’s father, Kevin Fox, spent eight months in jail before being cleared by DNA evidence.
Investigators said he’d confessed to accidentally killing Riley and then tried to make it look like a kidnapping. Kevin Fox died earlier this year in a car crash in Arkansas.
In 2010, Eby, then a convicted sex offender, confessed to kidnapping Riley Fox from her Wilmington home, sexually assaulting her, stuffing her in the trunk of his car and drowning her in a creek. Wilmington is about 60 miles from Chicago.
Authorities were led to Eby from DNA evidence collected from the crime scene along with other clues, including a pair of Eby’s shoes pulled from the water with his name written in them.
Eby lived near the Fox family. He was not charged until 2010 after someone tipped off FBI agents reinvestigating the case.
Kevin Fox’s former attorney, Kathleen Zellner, called Eby´s death ‘some measure of justice for Riley’ in a Sunday statement. ‘I hope he rots in hell,’ she said.
She wrote in a social media post, ‘Finally justice for Riley!’
‘It is ironic that Kevin Fox and Scott Eby both died in 2023. Kevin’s death was a terrible tragedy for him and his family,’ she said.
‘He was a kind, gentle man who loved his children above all else.’
In 2007, a jury awarded Riley Fox’s parents, Kevin and Melissa Fox, $15.5 million in a civil suit charging false arrest and malicious prosecution.
The award was later reduced to $8 million in damages after they accused Will County investigators of fabricating evidence.
Details on the circumstances of Eby’s death were not released. The Will County State’s Attorney’s Office confirmed the death to media outlets but did not offer further details.
An Illinois Department of Corrections spokesperson didn’t return email and phone messages left Sunday.