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DNA match by Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation leads to arrest in '97 cold case

A discarded cigarette butt led to a DNA match in a 1997 homicide involving a 14-year-old female runaway. Jason P. Eaton, 36, was arrested Saturday in Illinois.
by Matt Dinger Modified: April 10, 2014 at 12:00 pm •  Published: April 9, 2014

A fingerprint search by Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation lab workers on a 1997 Wisconsin cold case homicide led to the arrest of the suspected killer though there is no evidence to suggest that he’d even been to Oklahoma.

James P. Eaton, 36, of Palatine, Ill., was arrested Saturday in Chicago. He is accused of killing Amber Creek, a 14-year-old runaway from Palatine.

Two weeks after she was last seen, the girl’s body was found by hunters in a marsh in the town of Burlington, Wis. Creek had been beaten, sexually assaulted and suffocated with a plastic bag.

She had a human bite mark on her neck, and her body was left posed with an upraised hand that had the word “Hi” written on her palm.

In June 1997, an agent working for the Wisconsin Department of Justice sent fingerprints taken from the plastic bag to state and federal law enforcement agents.

Laboratory workers from the OSBI handling cold cases had retained the prints and asked the case agent if he’d like them to run the prints through the FBI’s new database.

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by Matt Dinger
Court Reporter
Matt Dinger was born and raised in Oklahoma City. He has worked in OPUBCO's News and Information Center since 2006, and has been assigned to the breaking news desk since its formation in fall 2008. He specializes in crime and police reporting.
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