Police make arrest in 1997 murder of Amber Creek

CREATED Apr 8, 2014 - UPDATED: Apr 8, 2014

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  • James P. Eaton Image by Racine County Sheriff's Office

UPDATE:  A suspect has been arrested in the 1997 slaying of Amber Gail Creek.
 
"Over the last 17 years, we have dedicated thousands of hours to bring this tragic and senseless murder to some sort of resolution," Racine County Sheriff Chris Schamaling said. "I tell you ladies and gentleman, that day is here."
 
James P. Eaton, 36, of Palatine, Ill. is now in police custody at the Racine County Jail.
 
Schamaling said they were able to recover fingerprints and DNA from a plastic bag used to suffocate Creek, which was found at the crime scene. The Wisconsin Crime Laboratory confirmed the fingerprints on the bag as Eaton's.
 
An in depth investigation into Eaton led to surveillance of him, where investigators were able to recover a partially used cigarette he discarded at a train station in the Chicago area. The DNA taken from the cigarette matched Eaton's.
 
Eaton is being charged with first degree intentional homicide and hiding a corpse. He will be held on a $1 million bail.
 
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The Racine County sheriff will hold a news conference at 11 a.m. Tuesday about the 1997 murder of Amber Gail Creek.
 
The sheriff said he has solid evidence to support a recent arrest of a 36-year-old Illinois man, almost 17 years in the making.
 
Hunters found the body of then 14-year-old Creek in Racine County Wildlife Refuge. Creek had run away from her Illinois home, but police said she was found beaten and sexually assaulted.