Riley Fox, 3, was sleeping on the couch in the living room next to her 6-year-old brother with their father asleep in his bedroom when she was abducted from the home. The case made headlines in Wilmington, Illinois, and the community grieved when the young girl’s body was found later that day, on June 6, 2004, drowned in a nearby creek. She had been bound with duct tape and sexually assaulted.
Investigators initially zeroed in on her father, Kevin Fox, charging him with first-degree murder, but after he was in jail for several months, DNA testing excluded him from the scene of the crime and the charges were thrown out. For years, the case remained unsolved with no arrests.
When the FBI took over the case in 2009, investigators learned of Scott Eby, who lived about a mile from the Fox home and who was out of prison on parole at the time of Riley Fox’s murder. He had been burglarizing homes in the area when he broke into the Fox home, found 3-year-old Riley sleeping on the couch and decided to molest and abduct her, the Chicago Tribune reported.
After FBI agents questioned Eby and asked him for a DNA sample, he confessed to the crime in a long letter. Where is Scott Eby today?
Eby Pleaded Guilty & Is Serving a Life Sentence at Pontiac Correctional Center
On November 10, 2010, Eby pleaded guilty to five counts of first-degree murder in the death of Riley Fox and one count of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, according to a press release by the Will County State’s Attorney. The State’s Attorney said they examined the possibility of the death penalty but after consulting with Fox’s parents decided against it:
Kevin and Melissa Fox firmly expressed the desire that their daughter’s brutal and callous murderer endure the torture of drawing every remaining breath in his miserable existence inside the cold dank walls of an Illinois prison cell.
More than six years after Riley’s death, these parents are seeking the same certainty and closure in their personal lives that the citizens of Will County demand from their justice system. Today’s guilty plea eliminates every avenue for appeal and guarantees that Scott Wayne Eby will never walk free to prey upon another innocent child.
Eby, 49, is currently serving his life sentence at Pontiac Correctional Center, where he was admitted in 2006, public records show. The Pontiac Correctional Center is a maximum-security prison for men in Pontiac, Illinois, established in 1871, which currently has an inmate population of 1,065. Because of Eby’s guilty plea in the murder case, he is unable to file for an appeal and will live out the remainder of his life in prison.
Eby Was Already In Prison When DNA Matched Him to the Riley Fox Crime Scene & He Attempted to Kill Himself When He Was Caught
Eby was already in prison with a 14-year sentence for raping his sister in 2005 at the time the FBI investigated his involvement in Riley Fox’s murder, the Chicago Tribune reported. After receiving a tip, FBI agents investigating Riley Fox’s murder decided to interview Eby in May 2010 and asked him for a DNA sample.
Several days after the request, Eby wrote a 10-page confession and wrote that he wanted to take the “coward’s way out,” the Chicago Tribune reported. He said he deserved to be tortured and killed and that he didn’t understand “how the wires got crossed in me.” He blamed drug and alcohol abuse and insecurities for his actions and wrote, “I know I am the lowest of the lowest kind of slime there is on earth.”
Eby tied a bedsheet around his neck and attempted to hang himself. He wrote in his letter that he had a “reasonably normal childhood” and his parents were both very good to him. “My parents didn’t raise a monster, I became one over the years and it’s no one’s fault but my own,” he wrote, according to the Tribune. He added, “Keeping a secret like that inside of you eats at the very core of your being day in and day out.”