(CBS) — Authorities in Wisconsin were expected to reveal more information on Tuesday about the suspect arrested in the 1997 murder of a 14-year-old Palatine girl.
WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports police in Racine County have arrested a suspect in the murder of Amber Creek. Her badly beaten and nearly frozen body was found near Burlington, Wis., in 1997.
“Of course I feel relief that they caught the guy,” said Amber’s aunt, Nora Mowers. “We were at a point where we just kind of gave up and said it’s never going to happen. This came as a real shock.”
Amber was a troubled ward of the state and a runaway, but the investigation into her disappearance was so badly botched it led to reforms at the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.
All Mowers has been told about the suspect is that he is 36 years old now. That would have made him 19 when Amber was sexually assaulted and suffocated.
Her body was found with one hand raised, and the word “hi” written on it.
“What could make a 19-year-old do such a brutal heinous crime to a child?” Mowers said.
She believes this arrest will eventually bring some closure for the family.
“But right now, my questions are: who is this guy and why did he do this? And is she his only victim?” she said.
Mowers said the arrest brings back painful memories beyond just Amber’s murder.
“It reawakens a lot of things for the whole family. We’ve had a lot of tragedies in our family over the years,” she said.
Mowers’ brother died at age 46. A 2-year-old nephew died of carbon monoxide poisoning. Her own 19-year-old daughter died, and then her 28-year-old son.
“Our family has suffered, suffered, suffered,” she said. “I had closure on my children. We just never got that for Amber.”
Authorities in Wisconsin have yet to say how they tracked down the suspect, or what his motive might have been.