And they found one: from Trisha Kiefer, who stood on her Wilmington, Ill., front lawn a cigarette, waiting to tell agents about a creepy feeling she'd had about her ex-boyfriend -- Scott Wayne Eby, who ultimately pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in for killing the 3-year-old girl, the Chicago Tribune reported today.
Their lawyer called the tip vague and said Kiefer should have shared her suspicions with enforcement earlier. "I do not think that the Foxes owe her anything, quite frankly," attorney Kathleen Zellner told the newspaper in an interview. "We put out hundreds of posters on (Riley's slaying), and (Kiefer) lived right in town."
After that interview, according to the Tribune, Zellner changed her position somewhat, calling the situation delicate and saying on Friday that Kevin and Melissa Fox might reconsider giving Kiefer the reward. Zellner did not immediately return telephone and e-mail messages left by AOL News for comment today.
Kevin Fox originally was charged with the brutal 2004 slaying of his daughter. He spent eight months in jail before DNA evidence showed he was not the killer. Eby, 39, pleaded guilty in November to sexually assaulting and drowning Riley and was sentenced to life in prison.
Riley's slaying received nationwide attention, not only because of the horror of the crime itself, but because of her father's arrest. The Foxes later were awarded $8 million from a lawsuit for malicious prosecution and false arrest.
But the crime itself remained unsolved. In June 2009, long after Kevin Fox's release and without any leads, the state attorney's office asked the FBI to send agents through town to find new clues, the Tribune reported.
Kiefer spent about 30 minutes telling two agents about her brief relationship with Eby, which began about four months after Riley was killed, the Tribune reported. In particular, she mentioned a visit they made to the garden in town dedicated to Riley, and how Eby sounded when he described the murder.
"He said something like, 'Oh, wasn't that such a shame,'" Kiefer said, adding that the way Eby said it "sent chills up my spine," according to the Tribune.
Based on that tip, almost one year later agents interviewed Eby in prison, where he was serving time for raping a relative, court records show. He later wrote a letter to relatives admitting the crime and eventually gave FBI agents a full confession.
Read more at the Chicago Tribune.