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Riley Fox Murder Suspect Fit For Trial

Scott Eby

Scott Eby has been charged as a suspect in the 2004 murder of Riley Fox. (Credit: Illinois Department of Corrections)

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JOLIET, Ill. (CBS) - A psychological exam of a convicted sex offender charged with the 2004 rape and murder of a 3-year-old Will County girl has determined the suspect is fit for trial.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Steve Miller Reports

Will County Circuit Judge Richard Schoenstedt ruled Tuesday that prosecutors can bring to trial Scott Eby, 38, on first-degree murder and sexual assault charges in the death of Riley Fox.

Riley’s mother, Melissa Fox, declined to comment on the judge’s decision. But her attorney told the Chicago Sun-Times the ruling wasn’t a surprise to family members.

Riley Fox

Riley Fox's body was found in Forked Creek in Wilmington, Ill., on June 6, 2004. (Credit: CBS)

Riley Fox vanished from her Wilmington, Ill., home on June 6, 2004, and her body was later found in Forked Creek four miles away.

Authorities first accused the girl’s father, Kevin Fox. He spent eight months in jail before DNA evidence showed he was not her killer, and allegedly linking Eby to her death.

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.

But police apparently didn’t think anything of the shoes or other evidence, and instead focused on Kevin Fox, who was arrested following a lengthy interrogation.

Authorities said at the time that Fox told investigators he decided to make his daughter’s death look like an abduction after he thought he accidentally killed her by hitting her in the head with a door.

But Fox claimed detectives coerced him into saying he had hit Riley’s head, accidentally causing her death.

Finally, DNA testing — obtained by his own defense team — proved Kevin Fox did not sexually assault Riley. He was released on June 17, 2005, and the case went unsolved for nearly five years.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)