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Arrest made in 1992 cold case murder of Illinois teen

David Chereck Cook County Sherriff via CBS Chicago

Last Updated Jul 25, 2014 11:40 AM EDT

CHICAGO - A 71-year-old man has been arrested in California in connection with the 1992 strangling death of an Illinois teenager.

Cook County authorities say Robert Serritella was arrested this week in Los Angeles County.

The mother of 15-year-old victim David Chereck told CBS Chicago she was relieved to hear the news about the arrest of a suspect in the 22-year-old case but said she was angry that it took so long.

David Chereck was last seen walking home from a bowling alley in Skokie, Ill. on New Year's Day 1992. His body was found the next day in a forest preserve. His coat and shoes were missing and he had been strangled with his scarf, reports CBS Chicago.

According to the station, Serritella was named a suspect early on in the investigation. The man reportedly called police two days after the murder, claiming he saw a white car like his own at the bowling alley the day the teen disappeared. He also reportedly admitted to talking to David Chereck the night he disappeared. Before Serritella could be questioned further, he reportedly fled to California and police lost track of him.

Authorities say that over the course of the investigation, they gathered additional information, re-interviewed witnesses and analyzed reports that led to Serritella's arrest this week.

Gerald Palacios, a former Cook County Forest Preserve Police detective who worked the case, called the arrest the best news he's heard in years, reports the station.

Now retired, Palacios said he always knew Serritella was the killer, but said there was never enough evidence to charge him.

Serritella is reportedly being held without bond in Los Angeles County. He was scheduled to appear in court there Thursday.

  • Crimesider Staff

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