Nearly 20 Years Later, Girl’s Murder Investigation Begins Anew

WAUKEGAN, Ill. (CBS) — Waukegan police have re-opened the nearly 20-year-old investigation into the rape and murder of 11-year-old Holly Staker.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports, Waukegan police Chief Dan Greathouse tells the Lake County News-Sun the Staker murder is under review right now.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports

Staker was fatally stabbed and sexually assaulted while babysitting two younger children on Aug. 17, 1992.

After nearly 20 years, the Staker case is now cold. Investigators had always thought they had the killer, Juan Rivera, who had confessed after a long interrogation, but whose DNA was not a match.

Rivera was convicted three times – in 1993, 1998 and 2009 – but his conviction was overturned each and every time.

This past Friday, Rivera walked out of Stateville Correctional Center in Joliet after being locked up for 19 years.

Rivera’s 2009 conviction was “unjustified and cannot stand” because of a lack of evidence tying him to Staker’s rape and murder, the 2nd District Appellate Court panel said in its 3-0 ruling in December.

Lake County prosecutors decided not to challenge the decision.

  • Joe in Missouri

    And an $18 can of FOX pepper spray would have probably saved her life. But I bet that was illegal in the peoples republic of IL

  • Joe in Missouri

    This proves to me at least how cops will jail innocent people to make themselves look good. DNA evidence is proving how sloppy police work is and I really believe they knowingly put innocent people in jail to bolster their records.

  • Chivi

    I wonder how many died of old age and were innocent also. Can’t change the past but can try to improve the future. Lazy cops who don’t want to continue looking for a murderer will pin it on anybody and call it a day. Makes them look good if they solve a murder. They certainly don’t look good when an innocent person is incarcerated for so many years. Why don’t those cops come forward and say something? I’m sure many of them knew there were innocent people in jail. The onlooker cops should also be charged. “No tell” should not belong in the police department, teachers, firemen, government employees, city employees or politics!!!!

    • Joe in Missouri

      Many times police departments will fight tooth and nail against test because they are about anything but the truth.

      Then there are judges that keep people proven innocent by DNA testing in jail for years before releasing them The system is insane and it need to be changed from the ground up.

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