It had all happened so quickly-had seemed to make so much sense in the moment. At the small brick and concrete station, just off Main Street, police put Kevin in one room and Melissa in another. What's more, investigators would be able to place the car along the route that led to Forsythe Woods, where Riley's body had been found. That morning in the Will County jail, Zellner watched the interaction between the two brothers closely. Experts on interrogation and false confessions say that's not uncommon. He answered all the questions and even volunteered to give DNA samples if it helped solved his girls murder. Zellner also re-examined the bathroom door that had supposedly hit Riley. Not fair! God Bless and stay safe. But it slowly dawned on him that the whole thing-the supposed sympathy of the detectives, the "friendship" of "Scott," the seemingly cordial questioning-had been a ruse. His blotchy face shines with tears. Very sad. On a recent April evening, however, their attentions are devoted to gentler undertakings: their new baby girl, Teagan, who was born on March 8th. In addition, Corke serves as a recurring guest-anchor on FOX News @ Night (weeknights . At 12:20 a.m. on October 27th, according to the detectives' summary of events, detective Richard Williams arrived to administer the exam. "But Scott said not to worry, that they just needed to ask us a few questions before they told us whatever they wanted to tell us.". "When I reached out to Kevin and said, I believe you,' I think they got pissed." Three years later, in 2000, with Kevin having found work as a union painter and Melissa as a waitress, the two were married. Why did Kevin call the nonemergency line instead of 911 the morning of Riley's disappearance? The FBI would be returning the DNA evidence within a week, he said. But Zellner, who has viewed a copy of the videotape, says it's too fuzzy to make out a license plate or even to positively identify any vehicle. Three miles away, a Wilmington police cruiser returned to Kevin and Melissa's house. The detective shook his head. Now he was free. A videotape captured the session, conducted by a forensic interviewer named Mary Jane Pluth, who works for the Will County Children's Advocacy Center.  After Riley's father was initially accused and then cleared by DNA evidence, paroled convict Scott Eby confessed to the crime and was convicted. The questions started out easy, but quickly became pointed. "I felt like a zoo animal.". . Next. "Any charges of politics are baseless," Tomczak said in a statement the day after Fox's arrest. Set just off a playground around the corner from the house where she disappeared, the garden includes a statue of a young girl with butterflies alighting on her raised hands. It is heartbreaking to see such a devoted and doting father go through the seemingly never-ending and painful ordeal of losing his daughter and his entire family. All. Kevin Corke is an American journalist and is presently a White House Correspondents' Association for Fox News in Washington D.C. Corke has covered four U.S. administrations (Bush, Obama, Trump, Biden). As the day wore on, local merchants pitched in with food and pop. After a brief reunion with Melissa and Tyler, Kevin emerged from the jail with his arms raised in triumph and stood before a mob scene of cameras and well-wishers. His little girl had seemed to hold a special place in his heart. . She'd be a great big sister.". After the bailiff called the court to order, Tomczak laid out what he called cold, hard evidence of the father's guilt, including a confession. Ultimately the detectives went with a far less experienced examiner-Richard C. Williams, a Cook County detective who, according to the Fox lawsuit, had conducted only about 90 tests. "For some reason," she says, "I had this terrible feeling that I was never going to see her again.". The Fox family wanted Kevin's immediate release. It wasn't always this way. (Today, Fox's legal team says that the results were at best unreliable.) They agreed to tell their story to Chicago, they say, in hopes of calling attention to the injustices they believe they have suffered and to breathe new life into an investigation that, even authorities admit, has not yielded any promising leads for months. Par for the course. Despite the elimination of all charges against Kevin, some still wonder how a child could be abducted from under a father's nose. (The DNA was subsequently retested at a different laboratory, and the results again excluded Kevin.). she quotes him as saying. . This time there were no cameras or tape recorders. Mark M. Strothmann, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Wilmington, quoting Mark 10:14. He had suffered threats and the ridicule of guards, according to his lawsuit. Kankakee, IL (60901) Today. Pluth pursues. He took his friend and Melissas brother along while leaving the children in the care of Melissas mother. See what happens, when you dont look close enough, mistakes are made. . Melissa begged her husband, "Please hold me, hold me.". "But she was right.". Melissa, who was also told that Kevin had failed, demanded to see the results. Kevin says Swearengen's tone changed abruptly. The estranged couple was in the middle of a . They first tested where Kevin said he had left the body-according to his confession, he had placed it in the water at the base of the Kahler Bridge, slipping once as he made his way down the muddy embankment. Kevin and Melissa have visited it many times, as they have Riley's grave in Wilmington's Oakwood Cemetery. the friend asked. ", Shortly after the bond hearing, Tomczak, Will County Sheriff Paul Kaupas, and other authorities held a press conference outside the Wilmington police station. Already, the shocking news had been splashed across the front of every local newspaper-Fox was being charged with an unspeakable crime, murdering his three-year-old daughter. But he agreed with Zellner. All told, Kevin was interrogated that night for more than 14 hours; only 20 minutes were taped. After all, the boy could be crucial in helping the parents find their daughter's killer. Some people still thought he was a murderer. In one resolved in December 2001, she helped free three men who had falsely confessed to the 1986 murder and rape of a Rush University medical student named Lori Roscetti. Subscribe to one or more of our free e-mail newsletters to get instant updates on local news, events, and opportunities in Chicago. Find a suspect, any suspect, and nail him/her. Eighteen of those children were stolen from the home. Dawn has a reported annual income of $10 - 19,999 and a current net worth value of greater than $50,000 - $99,999. In late June, Kevin and Melissa consented to letting the authorities question Tyler. Kevin says he was incredulous. Menu. The entire time, detective Edward Hayes, who would become the lead detective on the case, watches from the other side of a one-way mirror. Once, he nods. June 6, 2004: Kevin Fox of Wilmington reports his 3-year-old daughter, Riley, missing about 8 a.m. Hikers find her body about 3:30 p.m. in nearby creek after massive search. Did he take Riley somewhere?" "I swear to God I didn't do it." I pledged the same fraternity. Ke 11 Share "They'd come back with their legs scratched up and bleeding," recalls Kevin. On 27 October 2004, investigators from the Will County, Illinois Sheriff's Office coerced a false confession from Kevin Fox to the sexual molestation and murder of his four-year-old daughter following a polygraph "test" administered by polygrapher Richard Williams. Many other people assumed he was guilty. Nonetheless, since Kevin's release, a fresh group of investigators has taken over the case, though nothing promising has turned up. Her husband, Kevin, stayed home with her son, Tyler and her three-year-old daughter, Riley. The original defendants included Will County detectives Hayes, Swearengen, Guilfoyle, Ruettiger, and two others. 77/48F. he recalls saying. As Glasgow spoke, Kevin began to weep. From 1997 to 1999, more than 50,000 children in the United States were abducted by persons other than family members, according to a 2002 study funded by the U.S. Department of Justice. During that town hall style session, Mayor Ben Dietz delivered a state of the city speech to the more than four dozen people in attendance, laying out . By the end he has answered "no" approximately 178 times. The delay enraged the family. They later portrayed his statement as an attempt to provide a possible alibi. Almost a year later, Fox was freed from the Will County Jail, and his murder. When it was over, Williams told Kevin that he had failed. Sensing his shyness, she took matters into her own hands. "He changed more diapers and fed and bathed the kids way more than the average father.". He's a local resident. Pat Barry insists that Tomczak knew nothing of the meeting, and that, no matter how questionable the timing appears, politics had nothing to do with it. When Judge Dan Rozak dismissed the case, the courtroom exploded into applause and cheering. Kevin Fox and his family paid little attention to the politics of the race. They tricked me.' According to the sheriff's summary, this is what he said: He came home at about 1:30 a.m., ate a snack, and then watched television, including an adult video. Kevin Fox was cleared of the charges when a DNA test excluded him from the assault and killing. Get your help from the State's Attorney so you can go home to your family. Beyond the walls of the sheriff's building dawn was arriving. Their lenses, the family later learned, were trained not on the ceremony, or the casket, but on the mourners, including Kevin Fox. Corke is a Harvard University Kennedy School of Government graduate and was recognized as a Littauer Fellow for his devotion to public service, leadership, and academic achievement. If he slipped in the mud, why were his clothes not muddy? In early October, Chad, a stockbroker, approached Zellner, who coincidentally worked across the hall from Chad in Naperville. "He kept saying, The DNA will clear me,'" Chad says. Chad was on the phone to his father, desperately urging Kevin and Melissa to leave. Now, just a handful of minutes after giving his statement, he sat behind a Plexiglas window with a phone in his hand, shaking his head and crying as his older brother, Chad, and Kathleen Zellner watched helplessly and offered what comfort they could. Little did he know that a few hours later, he would be waking up to the worst nightmare of his life and that his beloved daughter would be taken away from him forever. When the FBI began its investigation in 2009, it was two years after a jury awarded Fox and his then-wife, Melissa Fox, $15.5 million for the Will County Sheriff's Office investigators' false. He then ran next door, where Riley's best friend lived. Select the best result to find their address, phone number, relatives, and public records. A break in the case could well tip the scales. "What kind of Cracker-Jack-box cops don't have the decency to tell the parents of a murdered little girl that their daughter is dead?" "You're overcome by grief. He claws his sweatshirt hood over his head. According to the summary, Kevin thought of driving to his mother-in-law's house, or perhaps taking Riley to the hospital. Kevin Fox, Rileys father, was affected a lot as he was still in mourning when he was seen as the prime suspect and even put in jail for the same. Mass of Christian Burial 10:30 a.m. Interment private. She screamed when she realized what she had found. Kevin had been up since 4:30 that morning and had spent much of his day working at a painting job. Kevin worked as a union painter to earn a living, while Melissa got a job as a waitress. ", They were greeted at the door by Swearengen. When Kevin returned to his home in Wilmington, Illinois, around 1am on June 6, 2004, after picking up his children from their grandmother's home, he was exhausted. Kevin was shocked beyond words when the police recovered Rileys body but tried his best to assist in the investigation. He locked the front door and retired to his room. he asks. "If I finish the sheet, you are being charged with first-degree murder with 30 years to life. The Las Vegas trip was to attend a friend's wedding and had been planned and paid for months before Riley's death. ", Kevin says that Swearengen suggested the same "accident" scenario that he had proposed to Melissa nearly nine hours earlier. Since the prelude to Kevin's confession was not videotaped-a law requiring interrogations be videotaped would not go into effect for several more months-the purported promise pits detectives' word against Kevin's. The order, it would later be revealed, had come from detective Ed Hayes. 79/63F. Though the police denied using force, Kevins attorney had the DNA from the crime scene tested against Kevins own DNA. "We think you know more than you're telling us," Kevin says the detective told him. But this family's response-and I have to say when I met Kevin I understood-was that it isn't conceivable that someone like Kevin Fox could hurt anybody. Kevin and Melissa were high school sweethearts, and through they fell out for a bit after Melissa got pregnant for the first time, they soon moved in together and gave birth to a beautiful boy, Tyler. Kevin likes to keep his private life under wraps, and hence his present whereabouts are unclear. Sun and clouds mixed. To his family, the event seemed staged, a dog-and-pony show orchestrated by Tomczak. "The only way to guarantee that Kevin Fox would not be executed was to find DNA that excluded him with 100-percent certainty," she says. Guilfoyle, meanwhile, began banging handcuffs on the table in front of Kevin. I knew it wasn't true. Harder still was the family portrait with Riley in her princess dress and white satin slippers. ), The exam began at just before one in the morning and took a little over an hour. , Inc. holds real estate brokerage licenses in multiple provinces. At 8:32 a.m., detectives turned on the video camera and began to tape Kevin's statement. And, most telling, how could detectives ignore that Kevin had not provided a single piece of information that only the killer would have known, such as the whereabouts of Riley's capri pants? But the case that had shattered the Wilmington community was far from over. He looks away. What did he want to do on his first night out, he was asked. Before that, she was a television news reporter for ABC and FOX affiliates in North Carolina and Illinois. Hayes made Kevin watch as he filled out an arrest sheet for first-degree murder. Yet, despite the overwhelming implication of guilt produced by the hearing, a number of troubling questions lurked within the prosecutor's case. However, there are no details about his exact age and birth year. ), The detectives then took Kevin back to the interrogation room and resumed the questioning, according to the lawsuit. Just before he was booked and taken to jail, Kevin says, the last thing he heard was the sound of the detectives in the hallway, laughing and congratulating themselves. but we firmly believe, and the sheriff firmly believes, that [the detectives] did a good job . The girl appeared "lifeless," and Kevin thought she was dead. Fox Born: July 26, 1947 in Joliet, IL Died: April 8, 2021 in New Lenox, IL Age 73 of Wilmington, formerly of Joliet, passed away Thursday, April 8, 2021 at Silver Cross. Dimitre Dimitrov, 64, allegedly killed his wife, MaryAnn Dimitrov, and himself at the Holly Tree Racquet Club in Wilmington last Tuesday evening. But when she looked for confirmation from two detectives who stood in the room-including Todd Lyons, a burly, bald Wilmington investigator to whom Kevin had delivered papers when he was a boy-they "just stared at us," she says. "I can make a deal for him. But the parents believed they had cooperated in every way possible, including providing DNA samples, consenting to searches, and answering questions. She initially hired Ernie Rizzo, the big, blustery, and controversial private eye. 28, 2008. While I was very interested in reading this well-written story; it breaks my heart to think of the Fox family losing their daughter and then on top of such a nightmare, the family has to be tortured even more! . But if he felt out of place as the ceremony began, his discomfort melted at the sight of his two children now making their way down the aisle. Tomczak, 44 at the time, had earned his law degree in Chicago, but settled in Will County with his wife, who today is a judge there. Police have tested the DNA found in Riley against every male in the Fox family, as well as numerous people in the neighborhood, including several previously convicted sex offenders, with no luck. "Because I think to myself what Riley would be doing right now. Virtually none of the principals involved in the case has gone untouched. Months went by with no breaks in the case. Elsewhere in the building, in a small, cramped room with a low ceiling and a one-way mirror about the size of a cereal box, Kevin sat in a corner, facing a group of detectives, including an intense man with strawberry-blond hair and a flushed complexion: Ed Hayes. Also added were the polygraph examiner, Richard C. Williams, Pluth, Kaupas, and a jail guard. Almost immediately after his arrest, Kevin and Melissa brought this multi-count, multi-party lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. We thought, This is the night. "I don't know," Tyler says. . But now that I have a wonderful wife, and the two most beautiful children in the world, you get to finally follow me and make a family. In early May, U.S. District Judge John W. Darrah rejected those arguments with one exception (a claim against Sheriff Kaupas). Suspicion hung over her family as time went by. The murder of Riley Fox has since turned into a mystery extraordinary for reasons beyond the heartbreaking death of a little girl. Glasgow seized on the charges, suggesting his opponent would be soft on crime. Later, when speaking about his experience after getting out of jail, he said, I still had people coming up to me and saying I was a child killer, child molester and threatening to shoot me and my dog. Melissa added to this by saying that people ceased to trust them, and children werent allowed to have sleepovers at their house. A tip came in claiming that video surveillance cameras at the town's Mobil station might have captured a car like that at four in the morning of Riley's disappearance. Parenting takes a level of intelligence and refuse to pass laws that require logical IQ before they become a parent. As for the long-awaited DNA evidence originally taken from Riley, the news was not good for Kevin. The authorities have not mentioned the videotape in court, though they did bring it up during the interrogation before Kevin confessed. When the FBI began its investigation in 2009, it was two years after a jury awarded Fox and his then-wife, Melissa Fox, $15.5 million for the Will County Sheriff's Office investigators' false. (Hunter says today that even if he had been available, he would have refused to give the test on that occasion because Fox's interrogation had been so lengthy and confrontational.) Twitter Lhamo. Riley Fox story: '20/20' unveils new details in Wilmington girl's death Braidwood mayor charged with DUI after 3-car crash Victim ID'd in deadly crash on I-55 near Wilmington In the cold, shallow, murky water of Forked Creek, Riley's body floated, face-down. The couple announced the birth of their son via social media to their friends and followers. "I felt as if I had aged five years since Kevin's arrest," he says. She had been following the case in the media, and she urged Chad to get his brother to talk to her. "I felt helpless and frustrated.". How do they sleep at night? 1:07. We've got to get this to the laboratory so that we can process it quickly.'" "They made me sit in a room for 45 minutes," Melissa says, still furious at the memory. . "He said, I can't find Riley.' "We felt like we were finally going to find out what had happened," Kevin says. Trying not to panic, Kevin searched the house. If the car turned out to be the Fox vehicle, Kevin's alibi that he was asleep all night would be seriously undermined. . Tomczak, now in private practice in Joliet, was added in July 2005. The timing was less than ideal for the couple. A father of two, he made a failed run for Congress in 1994, but in the 2000 race for Will County state's attorney, the Republican Tomczak beat the incumbent Democrat, James Glasgow. A Wilmington crime scene investigator arrived within minutes. The parents' doting nature meant that Riley and Tyler rarely strayed far from their sight. Instead, she marched up the marble stairs and past the groom. ." But as the summer wore on, they came to believe that the investigation was dragging. Both stations share studios on Shipyard Boulevard in Wilmington, while WSFX-TV's . Melissa reeled. A social media outcry has occurred in the wake of the death of Tibetan farmer and social media influencer Lhamo, who was attacked by her ex-husband during a live stream and died of . "Something didn't feel right," Chad recalls. He struggles to catch his breath between sobs. As far as Glasgow knew, the little girl's rape kits had not contained sufficient genetic material to yield a usable profile. . To accommodate the expected crowds, Riley's viewing, five days after the murder, was held at the town's largest church, St. Rose Catholic. By the afternoon, more than 500 people were scouring the area, some on horseback, others on bicycles or all-terrain vehicles. Select the best result to find their address, phone number, relatives, and public records. Not only was he not being charged with involuntary manslaughter, as he believed he'd been promised, but he was now facing first-degree murder, a charge that carried the possibility of the death penalty. The lab had said the results would arrive around 6 p.m. Tall and striking, with dark brown shoulder-length hair, Zellner has made a name for herself by winning wrongful conviction cases. He yelled, Your fucking husband killed your fucking daughter and he doesn't love you or her. He planned to drive the kids to Chicago in the morning to catch Melissa at the finish line. He laid Riley on the couch and placed his son, Tyler, in the chair in the living area before going to his room to watch TV. Will County sheriff's detectives had taken charge, assuming jurisdiction because the crime scene was in a forest preserve. Riley Fox was sexually assaulted, bound with duct tape, and drowned in a creek in Wilmington, Illinois. 21244 W Highway 113 Rte #113, Wilmington, IL 60481. "He admitted duct-taping the child's mouth. Her mouth had been covered with duct tape, and adhesive residue on her arms led authorities to surmise she had been bound. As to the question of who would confess to a crime so heinous if they didn't do it, Steven Drizin, a leading authority on false confessions, says that is the least mysterious part of the story. The murder of his daughter remains unsolved. Thus, he contacted the police on the non-emergency phone line (an action that would later raise suspicion against him). According to the sheriff's summary of the interrogation, when Curt Fox told the detectives that he wanted them to stop questioning his son, Swearengen replied, "Kevin is 27 years old and he came to the investigation office voluntarily." Phone: (910) 343-3900. . WILMINGTONRoger J. Johnson, 62, of Wilmington, passed away Sunday, Feb. 26, 2023 at his home. As if in anticipation of unavoidable criticism, Tomczak had earlier stopped at the defense table where Kevin Fox's attorney, Kathleen Zellner, was seated. associates & neighbors include Melissa Rossi, Curtis Fox, Kevin Fox, Chad Fox and Carly Fox. After returning home with his children at around 1 am, Kevin put his kids in the living room and went to bed at 2:30 am. But early Sunday morning, Tyler woke up Kevin to tell him that Riley was missing. With the case against Kevin collapsing, the new Will County State's Attorney Jim Glasgow held an immediate court hearing. Kevin Corke is an American journalist born on 6 February. From that moment, Melissa says, she never doubted Kevin. Three-year-old Riley Fox of Wilmington, Illinois, was kidnapped from her home early in the morning on June 6, 2004, as her brother and father slept nearby. Kevin Fox in Illinois We found 15 records for Kevin Fox in undefined. Chad Fox looked on the rumors as confirmation that Kevin-still not represented by a lawyer-was a suspect, perhaps the only suspect. The band broke into song. Melissa got the word when she called Kevin to arrange to meet the family at the finish line. Chief Mickler currently resides in Wilmington with his wife, Rebecca, and their two sons. She was wearing the same "princess dress" she had picked out and worn as a flower girl in Chad and Stacy's wedding. Will County detectives spent considerable time and effort establishing that other local owners of dark Ford Escapes were not in sight of the video camera that morning. . May 7, 2021 3-year-old Riley Fox was found inside a creek a little distance away from her home in Wilmington, Illinois. She adored her father. I made you drive me around when you got your license. "We put all our faith in them. The couple had gone gambling in Las Vegas. Visitation Friday, March 28th, 3 to 9 p.m. Funeral Saturday, 9:45 a.m., to St. Symphorosa Church. "Hurry back. Even so, as time passed and word spread that Riley Fox was missing, a search was mounted. He recalled that his father "took Riley somewhere" during the night. The Kevin Fox they knew was a wonderful father, devoted to his wife and son and daughter. A steady drizzle fell, while inside, mourners wept to a slide-show collage set to the songs "My Girl" and Sarah McLachlan's "Angel." He spent eight months in prison before he was released and ultimately cleared through DNA evidence. (Williams refused to comment because of the pending litigation. Five months later, a gallery of stunned observers packed the hearing at the Will County Courthouse in Joliet. "Say it was an accident. she thought. Tickets to see Kevin James perform in Joliet at the Rialto Square Theatre go on sale this Friday at 10 a.m. . Carmel Cemetery in Morris at a later date. In less than an hour, it seemed the whole town had turned out. During his stay in jail he had lost more than 20 pounds. If you pass it up, you will spend your life in prison. He recanted almost immediately, but spent eight months in jail before DNA evidence led to his release. Some expressed bitter feelings of betrayal to reporters. "We didn't want to turn it into another JonBenet Ramsey case. Par for the course. Fewer than 20 new single family homes were built last year in the villages of Coal City and Diamond. Maryland Man Arrested After Crashing Stolen Vehicle. "I felt like I had nothing to hide," he says, and he worried that hiring an attorney might make him look guilty. . Even though Kevin was freed of all charges, he claimed that the false imprisonment had a massive impact on his life. When pressed about the car, Kevin recalls, he became exasperated and suggested sarcastically that someone must have snuck into his house, stolen his keys, taken the car, and returned it later. Gone were any underwear and capri pants. In hindsight, the couple believe that either the police "were just completely overwhelmed by the fact that there was a murder in Wilmington and they had no idea what to do," Melissa says, "-or they were watching to see how we would react." He'd barely had time to grab a bite to eat all day. Then they drove to the Will County courthouse, where Kevin had first been charged with murdering his daughter. "He watched everybody search for his child the whole day," one woman, a ten-year resident of Wilmington, told the Chicago Sun-Times. Powered by WordPress.com VIP. The media played a role in this suspicion. The two had clashed on nearly everything, from elections to court cases to ethical conduct. Tomczak did not return calls requesting an interview, but in court pleadings he has denied any wrongdoing, including any suggestion that Kevin Fox's arrest was related to his re-election campaign. According to a statement he later gave police, he picked the kids up and drove them home at around 1 a.m. Then, too tired to make up their beds, he laid them down in the living room-Riley on the couch and Tyler on a chair with a footstool. Joyful Fox Danced Over DNA News; . But after the initial testing by the state crime lab, with its inconclusive finding on saliva, the DNA had been sent to the FBI lab in Quantico, Virginia, which had a nine-month backlog. 10 a.m., Rebecca, and controversial private eye, detective Richard Williams arrived to administer the exam at! Possible alibi had supposedly hit Riley. ' '' Chad says, consenting to searches, and nail him/her job! Social media to their friends and followers knew was a television news reporter for ABC and Fox in! Everything, from elections to court cases to ethical conduct at 8:32 a.m., St.. A great big sister. `` out easy, but spent eight months in prison merchants pitched in food... I felt as if I had aged five years since Kevin 's arrest then took back. Says the detective told him with murdering his daughter while Melissa got word! They drove to the interrogation before Kevin confessed and opportunities in Chicago you 're us... 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