Waukegan police chasing 'strong, viable lead' in unsolved Staker murder

Waukegan Police Chief Keith Zupec said his agency is chasing a "complicated," but "strong, viable lead" into the 30-year-old unsolved murder of 11-year-old Holly Staker.

Zupec told Fox 32 News recently the agency still regularly receives tips about the case that has haunted investigators ever since the girl's body was found inside a Waukegan apartment in 1992 where she had been raped, strangled and stabbed 27 times, ultimately resulting in her death.

"It's not as simple of a lead as, 'Hey, this is who did it,'" Zupec told Fox 32 during a recent interview ahead of the 30-year anniversary of the girl's death. "But a strong, viable lead."

In 2014, a DNA sample collected at a 2000 homicide matched DNA collected from Staker's murder scene. However, authorities still don't have an ID on that DNA.

Zupec did not elaborate on what type of lead police were tracking and if it involved DNA evidence.

In recent years, law enforcement agencies have been successfully cracking long-cold cases by submitting DNA samples to various genealogy databases and tracking down suspects who are connected by relatives who submitted DNA samples to those sites. The infamous Golden State Killer was arrested and charged using this method in 2018.

Staker's case is equally infamous in Illinois where authorities charged and received convictions the same man three times for the girl's murder, only to have all three convictions overturned.

In 2015, Juan Rivera received a $20 million wrongful conviction settlement from Lake County following his release from prison a third time.

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