New court documents reveal the potential murder weapon in a 1992 unsolved murder may have been destroyed by police in Lake County.
11-year old Holly Staker was raped and stabbed to death in Waukegan in 1992.
Juan Rivera spent 20 years in jail before DNA evidence cleared him in 2011.
Two years after the murder a neighbor found a knife buried under a bush and gave it to police.
According to court documents filed in Rivera’s civil lawsuit against Lake County police and prosecutors, Waukegan police destroyed the knife without telling defense attorneys it even existed.
Rivera’s attorneys say it could have contained DNA evidence identifying the real killer.
An attorney for Lake County said he does not believe his clients knew anything about the knife.