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Scott Eby, who admitted to rape and murder of 3-year-old Riley Fox, dies in prison

Man who admitted to murder of Riley Fox dies in prison
Man who admitted to murder of Riley Fox dies in prison 00:28

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Scott Eby, the man who admitted to the murder nearly 20 years ago of 3-year-old Riley Fox, has died in prison.

The Will County State's Attorney's office said Eby, 52, died Thursday. He had ben serving a life sentence at the Menard Correctional Center downstate.

On June 6, 2004, Riley vanished from her Wilmington, Illinois home – and her body was later found in Forked Creek four miles away. Her murder drew national attention.

Riley Fox Personal Photo

Her father, Kevin Fox, was originally arrested for the crime and spent eight months in jail until a federal appeals court tossed out the charges based on DNA evidence. The case went unresolved for five years after that, but the DNA evidence eventually led to Eby.

It was later revealed that key pieces of evidence were overlooked in the case, including shoes with Eby's name that were found in Forked Creek near the girl's body within hours.

There was also a burglary across the street from the Fox home the day Riley was reported missing. A window screen Eby admitted cutting had been entered into evidence as being torn during a storm. At that time, Eby had already been convicted of three burglaries.

Eby, also a convicted sex offender, pleaded guilty in November 2010 to raping and drowning Riley.

He said he was drunk and high on cocaine the night of the murder. He wanted to rob the Fox house, but when he saw Riley sleeping, he decided he wanted to molest her, so he took her from the home.

Eby issued the guilty plea in exchange for a chance to avoid the death penalty. He was immediately sentenced to life in prison.

"I still can't believe that people thought I was the monster in front of me now," said Kevin Fox to Eby in his impact statement at Eby's 2010 sentencing. "You deserve everything that is handed to you. From the time you killed Riley… I changed for the worst. I built up a lot of depression, and that depression turned to hate, which affected a lot of people in my life."

Kevin Fox died in a head-on crash in Arkansas earlier this year.

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