Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Five years later

By David Heinzmann

First of all, my apologies. I was supposed to post a couple days ago but I’m still getting used to this new schedule and I’ve been traveling around a bit—a family wedding in Peoria over the weekend, and now I’m sitting on the banks of the Pelican River near Rhinelander, Wisconsin, drinking the brown liquor, smoking cigars and staring into the embers of a fire while the intoxicating smell of DEET provides some comfort against the mosquitoes swarming in the moonlight.

So I’m a little out of touch with the news and this will be a bit of a holiday post.

If you’ve been following the Blagojevich trial closely, you may have already treated yourself to the audio from the wiretaps—they’re well worth it. If not, you really should spend some times playing around here.


Meanwhile, a couple of years ago my colleague Steve Mills and I wrote about a Lake County murder case in which DNA testing appeared to clear a father with a criminal past who was charged with murdering his 8-year-old daughter and her friend on Mothers Day 2005. When we wrote the story, Lake County prosecutors dismissed the finding, saying that semen found on the girl could have come from her playing in the woods in a spot where unknown people may have had sex. Lawyers for the accused father, Jerry Hobbs, said that was crazy, but the man has remained in jail for another two years awaiting trial.

Well, the source of the semen is no longer unknown. It matched a Marine who was a friend of the family of the second girl murdered. The Marine, is being held in Virgina currently on unrelated abduction charges. Lake County prosecutors still aren’t saying much, other than that the investigation is finally being reopened—years after they learned that DNA didn’t match Hobbs.


This is an extraordinary case, especially coming so close on the heels of an arrest in the eerily similar Riley Fox case down in Will County.

16 comments:

Sara Paretsky said...

Dave this is such disheartening news. It comes on the heels of an NY Times story on John Conroy, the reporter who kept the Burge story alive for 20 years, but who was laid off in 2007. The Times explains that police and pols are getting away with torture and slime because investigative journalists have been laid off in such large numbers and no one else keeps the heat on. Kudos to you and Steve for doing your job on this one, even if Lake County ignored you. http://tiny.cc/rt3n7

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