Racine Co. sheriff: Fingerprints tie Ill. man to 1997 slaying

James P. Eaton (Racine Co. Sheriff's Office)
James P. Eaton (Racine Co. Sheriff's Office)

RACINE, Wis. (AP) – Wisconsin authorities have arrested a 36-year-old Illinois man after saying his fingerprints match those on a bag used to suffocate a teenage runaway 17 years ago.

Racine County Sheriff Chris Schmaling said Tuesday that James P. Eaton of Palatine, Ill., was arrested Saturday in Chicago. He’s being held in Racine on $1 million bail on charges of first-degree intentional homicide and hiding a corpse.

Eaton’s accused in the death of Amber Creek, a 14-year-old from Palatine, Ill. Her body was found in a Racine County marsh in 1997. She’d been beaten, sexually assaulted and suffocated with a plastic bag.

The sheriff says DNA recovered from her body matched DNA from a cigarette Eaton recently discarded at a Chicago-area train station.

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