GARY, Ind. (WLS) -- Eight years after a body was found in Gary, police said they have solved a murder that that stretched over two state lines.
The body was found in Gary, but police said Tuesday night that the murder was committed in Fitchburg, Wisconsin.
Gary's serial killer prompted police to take another look at all their unsolved female homicides. It generated a new lead for in an 8-year-old case and led to the arrest of a woman who investigators said had been terrorizing her family for years.
Erica Hill had been Jane Doe since her body was found in 2007, stashed in a Gary garage, beaten, strangled and burned.
"It pretty much bothered all the detectives and we went above and beyond. From here to Michigan, you name it. We did everything in the Midwest to get her identified," said Det. Lorenzo Davis, Gary Police Dept.
Det. Davis worked the case from the beginning, reaching out to the Lake County coroner's office to make an image reconstructing her partially burned face and putting it on the website for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. But time kept passing without leads.
"I mean, you never give up. You always figure that eventually one day something will happen," Det. Davis said.
Gary police re-released the sketch recently. It was seen by a relative of the victim who identified Erica Hill, and also detailed her sad life filled with abuse at the hands of her aunt.
Hill was 15, living with Taylin Hill, age 50, in Madison, Wisconsin. Investigators said she killed the teenager and dumped her body in Gary.
The new details led investigators to charge Hill with multiple counts of abuse and first degree murder.
They also hope other family members who may have been abused by Hill can start to heal.
"It was a sign of relief. It was also a sign that we can bring the family closure," Det. Davis said.
The family member who identified Erica Hill had been holding on to a terrible secret: Taylin Hill forced her to help dispose of the teenager's body.
Investigators said the relative, who does not face charges, had been fearful all these years of retaliation if she told, but decided she wanted to end the pattern of abuse.
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