Five people were convicted for the killing of Cateresa Matthews. They were later exonerated. On Wednesday, investigators say evidence points to a new suspect.
Cateresa Matthews was 14 when she was raped and murdered in November 1991. A year later, five teenaged boys were arrested, convicted, and sent to prison.
"It's a shame that the youth have very little remorse for the loss of life," Wilson Pierce, Illinois State Police, said in November 1992.
The reason they didn't show remorse is because they didn't commit the crime. In 2011, the "Dixmoor Five" were freed. Three of them had spent 18 years in prison. Their confessions had been coerced. They sued claiming they were railroaded by police who overlooked the real killer, a man they identify as a convicted sex offender from Dixmoor who was paroled shortly before Cateresa's murder.
"There were some mistakes made. We have to correct them, and we're not pointing fingers at anyone. We're just after justice for Cateresa," said Chief Ron Burge, Dixmoor Police Dept.
On Wednesday, Dixmoor's police chief and the Cook County Sheriff revealed that they've reopened the Matthews murder investigation. It's not as if they're starting from scratch; their focus in on the convicted sex offender. Their evidence includes DNA that reportedly links him to the slaying. They will not name the suspect, though the Dixmoor five civil suit does.
"We're being very thoughtful and strategic in how we are proceeding and we're not naming any one person or particular target," said Tom Dart, Cook County Sheriff.
Clearly after five wrongful convictions, investigators want to make sure all the I's are dotted and T's crossed with no room for error. But they are confident that the murder of a teenager, 22-and-a-half years ago, will be solved.
"I'm 99.9% sure that we will as a team wrap this case up and bring some justice to Cateresa Matthews," said Dart.
Neither Burge nor Dart would discuss the man they're looking at or his whereabouts, but they are saying they expect the case to advance in the next few months. The previously convicted sex offender was 33 when Cateresa was murdered.
In their civil lawsuit, the "Dixmoor Five" allege that while they were in prison for a murder they didn't do, the real killer was free and involved in other crimes.