In what is believed to be the largest award of its kind in Illinois history, a federal jury yesterday awarded $15.5 million to Kevin Fox and his wife, after deciding that Will County sheriff’s detectives falsely arrested Fox in the sexual assault and murder of his 3-year-old daughter, Riley, reports the Chicago Tribune. The jury held Sgt. Edward Hayes, three sheriff’s deputies who worked as detectives under him, and the estate of a fourth deputy liable for false arrest, violation of Fox’s due-process rights, malicious prosecution and infliction of severe emotional distress to Fox and his wife.
Fox reported Riley missing on June 6, 2004. Her half-naked body was found about seven hours later in a creek nearly four miles from the family home. The second largest wrongful-arrest award, for $15 million, was handed down in 2001 in a case brought by a man who spent 15 years in prison before he was released. Fox spent eight months in jail before tests showed DNA from Riley’s rape kit did not match his genetic profile. The crime remains unsolved.