Children's advocacy center dedicated to Jeanine Nicarico in Wheaton

September 17, 2013 (WHEATON, Ill.)

They've endured immeasurable pain over the years, but this is a day of great joy for Pat and Tom Nicarico.

"When we drove up to this new building, just thinking about it now, it puts tears in my eyes again," said Pat Nicarico, Jeanine's mom.

The building is the new DuPage County Children's Advocacy Center which is named in honor of Jeanine Nicarico, Pat and Tom's youngest daughter who was abducted and murdered 30 years ago.

"We owe our children, the most vulnerable, a life free of violence and fear," said Dan Cronin, chairman, DuPage County Board.

This center is for the most vulnerable, children who are victims of physical and sexual abuse. This is where they are brought , where they are comforted and delicately questioned.

"In an environment conducive to children, where they feel comfortable and where they are able to express horrible things that have happened to them," said Bob Berlin, DuPage County State's Attorney.

Horrible things happened to this ten year old girl in 1983, and what followed, a quarter century of trials, retrials, and ultimately the confession of a cold-killer that left a little girl defined by how she died.

Her family has tried very hard over the years to have Jeanine remembered by how she lived. The mission here, to help other children, goes a long way to that end.

"I just hope that having Jeanine's name on the building will help them get through, that there is a future for them and that they can be happy and be little children, like she was," said Pat Nicarico.

Every spring the Nicarico's host a run to raise money for the Jeanine Nicarico Memorial Literacy Fund, designed to promote reading by giving grants to schools and educators.

That's a big part of a little girl's legacy, and the new children's advocacy center builds on that in a different way.

Jeanine would be 40 were she alive today.

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