(CBS) — A 36-year-old man from Palatine was in custody in Wisconsin, on Tuesday, charged in the 1997 slaying of 14-year-old Amber Creek, whose beaten and nearly frozen body was found in a Racine County wildlife refuge.
James P. Eaton was charged with first degree murder and hiding a corpse, and was being held on $1 million bond on Tuesday, Racine County Sheriff’s police said Tuesday. He was arrested Saturday in Chicago, according to Racine County Sheriff James Schmaling.
“This is a day that we have been waiting for for nearly 17 years to occur,” Schmaling said.
Amber was a troubled teenager, a habitual runaway, and a ward of the state when she disappeared in January 1997, but the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services waited more than a month to report her missing.
Hunters found her body in a marsh in Burlington, Wis., on Feb. 9, 1997, but it took more than a year to identify her remains. Her body was found with one hand raised, and the word “hi” written on it. An autopsy determined she had been beaten, sexually assaulted, and suffocated.