A news conference to detail the arrest of an Illinois man suspected in the murder of a 14-year-old Palatine girl who went missing in 1997 has been postponed until Tuesday, Racine County (Wis.) authorities said this morning.
The Racine County Sheriff's Office initially called a new conference for 1 p.m. today to discuss their breakthrough in the 17-year mystery surrounding the slaying of Amber Gail Creek, whose body was found Feb. 9, 1997, in the Karcher Wildlife Refuge, located in Burlington, Wis.
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However, the sheriff's office said they are delaying their news conference until Tuesday morning because the Fond du Lac County Sheriff's Office will be announcing developments later this afternoon in the 1990 abduction and murder of 18-year-old Racine County resident Berit Beck.
"Out of respect for the Creek family and the Beck family -- and for the benefit of our ongoing respective investigations -- we have decided to postpone our media briefing regarding the arrest of a suspect in the rape and murder of Amber Creek," the sheriff's office stated in a news release.
"Both cases are extremely important and warrant independent exposure to generate investigative leads without unnecessarily confusing the public or diminishing the significance of each."
The sheriff's office has not publicly named the suspect in Amber's killing or detailed the circumstances of his arrest, and Lt. Steve Sikora said the man will not appear in court today. The Journal Times newspaper in Racine reported Sunday that the suspect is a 36-year-old Illinois man.
Amber's body was found a little more than two weeks after she ran away from a Department of Children and Family Services facility in Chicago. Unable to identify her, she was buried as "Jane Doe" thanks to donations from community members in Racine County. About 16 months later she was identified as Amber.
Authorities at the time said Amber ran away from the Columbus-Maryville Center in Chicago in late January 1997. She was last seen Feb. 1 or 2, 1997, at a party at a Rolling Meadows motel.
Described as a chronic runaway, Amber was a ward of the state at the time of her disappearance. She spent the first six years of her life living with her mother in Lake Zurich, then was taken to live with her father in Palatine.
In December 1996, her father took her to the Palatine police station and told them he didn't want her living with him anymore, authorities said. DCFS took custody and when they couldn't find a foster home for her, placed her in the Columbus-Maryville Center.