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Report: Wis. police make arrest in 1997 slaying of Ill. teen

Amber Creek, 14, was found suffocated to death in a Wisconsin marsh in 1997; police there say they've made an arrest in her case. CBS affiliate WDJT

Wisconsin deputies have made an arrest in the cold case murder of an Illinois teen found suffocated in a Racine County, Wis. marsh, reports CBS affiliate WDJT.

Hunters discovered the body of Amber Creek, 14, in a remote wildlife refuge about 40 miles southwest of Milwaukee in February of 1997 with a black garbage bag wrapped around her head, reports the Chicago Tribune. The runaway from Palatine, Ill. had been beaten and sexually assaulted, and her body was left posed with an upraised hand with the word "Hi" written on her palm.

Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling emailed The Journal Times of Racine Saturday saying his deputies have arrested a 36-year-old Illinois man.

Schmaling says he has "solid, clear and overwhelming evidence" that the suspect was responsible for Creek's death. Police have released few other details.

Creek had been a ward of the state before her murder, reports the Tribune. Police described the girl as a habitual runaway, and state records portrayed her as a troubled teen who struggled with drugs, alcohol and depression, reports the paper.

Her body wasn't identified until June of 1998, reports the paper, and the delay in her identification and other missteps in the case reportedly led to changes in policies impacting children in the state's care.

After becoming a ward of the state in 1996, Creek reportedly ran away several times before leaving a juvenile residential facility on Jan. 23, 1997. Her partially nude body was discovered 17 days later, reports the Tribune.

A press conference set for Monday to discuss the case has been postponed until Tuesday, reports the Daily Herald.


  • Crimesider Staff

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