Father arrested in 3-year-old's death

October 27, 2004 (WILMINGTON, Ill) Riley's body was found in a creek bed about four miles from her home on June 5th after she'd been missing for several hours. Officials say she was sexually assaulted and drowned.

"The forensic examination revealed that Riley Fox was alive at the time she entered the creek. Additionally, the autopsy revealed that Riley Fox suffered non-lethal head injuries and a sexual assault took place," said Patrick O'Neal, Will County coroner.

For months, Kevin maintained that Riley was kidnapped while he slept. Originally, he told officials that he put her to sleep on the couch Saturday and woke up to find her missing and the front door wide open on Sunday morning.

At memorials and vigils for Riley, Kevin appeared to be a grieving father.

"I thought she might have, you know, just by chance go over to a friend's house but she wasn't over there," said Kevin Fox in June 2004.

It wasn't until last night that he made a videotaped confession.

"Last night sheriff's detectives interviewed Mr. Fox in regards to the disappearance and murder of his daughter. Mr. Fox gave a statement that has led detectives to believe that he killed his daughter after placing her in a nearby creek," said Paul Kaupas, Will Co. Sheriff.

Police say the confession came after 12 hours of questioning.

"These detectives, I want to say, and it's their instincts, their investigative instincts that led to the statement coming down," said Will County State's Attorney Jeff Tomczak.

Kevin Fox is being held in the Will County Jail. He will appear in court on Thursday and be formally charged with first-degree murder. Prosecutors have not said if they will seek the death penalty against Kevin.

Community shocked by new allegations

"My men lost a lot of sleep over this. This is a small community. Everybody knows everybody," said Lt. Wally Evans, Wilmington Police Dept.

Hundreds of volunteers scoured Will County in search of the girl and then later dedicated a park in Riley's memory. Many members of the close-knit community came to the Village Hall to hear the charges. A gasp could be heard when the sheriff announced the allegations.

"It's been a long summer. I see a lot of faces in here, a lot of sad faces. Months ago we came together as a community. Now we're going to have to come together as a community again, one more time," said Lt. Evans.

Many residents feel they were betrayed. However, those who know the Fox family have a hard time believing Kevin Fox, 34, had anything to do with his daughter's murder.

"We should have had some way of knowing that we didn't have to panic and be scared for our kids. The whole community, I just can't believe it. That we were so betrayed," said Diana Naylor, neighbor.

Since Riley's murder, Kevin Fox has lived with his parents. Ron May is a neighbor.

"He was a loving father, totally. I mean, that's just him, the way he was," said May.

"You hear rumors and everybody's got speculation but once you hear it, there's been arrests, it's like it just hits you. All I can think of is the baby can rest in peace," said another resident.

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