The Babysitter Murder: Could The Real Suspect Finally Be Tracked Down?

After a spectacular miscarriage of justice let the real killer walk free, police now believe forensics will zoom in on Holly Staker’s murderer.

Verity Partington
5 min readSep 5, 2022


Holly Staker, killed in 1992

Investigators have hinted that new analysis of forensic evidence could finally allow them to catch the killer who escaped justice for the shocking murder of 11-year-old Holly Staker in Chicago in 1992.

It was the 30th anniversary of the crime on August 17th 2022, and Waukegan Police Chief Keith Zupec told Fox 32 there may at last be hope for the little girl’s family in finding out who took her life.

The night of the crime

Holly had been babysitting two younger children on Hickory Street on the evening of her death. The child’s mother returned to find no sign of Holly and the back door to the apartment kicked in.

She called 911 and police arrived to find the partially-clad body of Holly lying on the floor of the children’s bedroom. She had been raped, strangled and stabbed a staggering 27 times by an unknown assailant, who had subsequently washed her blood off his hands at the kitchen sink.

An investigation began into the murder, and police received a tip on September 29th 1992 from a prison inmate. The informant said another prisoner by the name of Juan Rivera had been at a party in the area on the night of Holly’s murder and had seen someone he knew leaving, only to return shortly afterwards sweaty and scratched up.

But despite this testimony, investigators started to zero in on Rivera himself. They cast doubt on his claim that he had been at a party on August 17th and brought him in for intense questioning.

Even though none of Rivera’s fingerprints were at the crime scene, an electronic tag failed to place him in the Hickory Street apartment and phone records show he had been on the phone to a relative in Puerto Rico on the night of the murder, he signed a confession and was convicted of first-degree murder in 1993.

The facts don’t add up



Verity Partington

A writer and author of crime thrillers living in the UK. Partial to books, stationery, papercrafts and walking. You can find her books on Amazon here: https://a