EDMOND, Okla. – It was a brutal murder in 1997 that left the family of a teenage girl in agony all these years.
Police found 14-year-old Amber Creek’s body in 1997.
Someone beat, sexually assaulted and suffocated her before dumping her body in a Wisconsin marsh.
Back then, investigators sent fingerprints around the country, but no one found a match until one Oklahoma woman got her hands on them 17 years later.
“Just wanting to I.D. that print if at all possible,” said Stacy Hirschman.
Hirschman has only been working with the Oklahoma Bureau of Investigations for two years, but she was able to do what agents have been working to do for years.
She matched a fingerprint from plastic bound around Creek’s face, to James Eaton.
36-years-old now, Eaton would have been just 19-years-old when Creek’s body turned up in the marsh.
“Definitely was like, okay, let me look at it again. Let me look at it again. Is it really it?” said Hirschman.
She made her call to the investigator in Wisconsin.
Hirschman said, “He was quiet for a bit. He was stunned. He said he almost fell out of his chair when I told him.”
Police caught up with Eaton in Chicago.
They watched him for days until he threw out a cigarette at a train station.
They matched his saliva to DNA on Creek’s body.
“Today is a fantastic day to make a wonderful announcement,” said Sheriff Chris Schmaling in Racine County. “Create some closure for the Creek family.”
The victim’s family called the Oklahoma criminalist to say thank you.
Hirschman told them she was just doing her job.
“Hopefully, the family can have some peace,” said Hirschman. Maybe, she says, police can get answers out of Eaton to find out what led to Creek’s death.