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Arrest made in 1997 slaying of 14-year-old Amber Creek

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RACINE (AP) — Racine County Sheriff's deputies may have finally solved a cold-case mystery involving the slaying of an Illinois teen 17 years ago.

Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling emailed The Journal Times of Racine Saturday, April 5th saying his deputies have arrested a 36-year-old Illinois man.

Schmaling says he has "solid, clear and overwhelming evidence" that the suspect was responsible for the death of Amber Creek. The body of the 14-year-old Palatine, Ill., girl was found in the Karcher Marsh and Wildlife Area in Burlington in 1997.

The body was discovered by a sportsman in the wooded marsh. For more than a year, the body's identity was unknown. She was laid to rest with a "Jane Doe" headstone.

Eventually, a search of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's database and dental records helped to develop her identity -- but her killer remained at large.

Schmaling says he'll discuss details of the arrest and identify the suspect at a news conference on Tuesday, April 8th.

Investigators say Creek was suffocated with a plastic bag. The runaway had been beaten and sexually assaulted, and her body was left posed with an upraised hand with, "Hi" written on her palm.