CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - FOX 32 has learned that investigators now believe they know who killed 17-year-old Nicole Bowers, who was murdered 15 years ago in downstate Morris.
FOX 32: There was more than one person, you believe, involved in the murder?
“Yes,” said Grundy County State’s Attorney Jason Helland.
For 15 years, nobody has been charged for the murder of Bowers. But now, investigators revealed to FOX 32 that they believe more than one person was involved in the crime, and they also believe they have identified the killers.
“Basically, we look at the time of the homicide, who had the intent and motive to kill at that time. And those individuals are the target of the investigation in this case,” Helland said.
Bowers disappeared on an August night back in the year 2000. Police initially viewed her as a runaway, but three years later, her body was found in a field two miles from her home.
Last August, police used the 15th anniversary of her disappearance to ask the public for help.
“In the last six months in the Nicole Bowers homicide investigation, there's been significant progress made,” Helland said.
Investigators say the case resembles the Palatine Brown's Chicken murders, where years after the crime, a former girlfriend of one of the killers finally decided she could no longer hide their secret.
“Over a period of time, individuals will confide in girlfriends, family members, and acquaintances, and often those relationships change,” Helland said.
The state's attorney says the targets do not include any of Bowers' relatives. He would not say whether the suspects are behind bars for other crimes, but he was confident they can't flee.
“We know exactly where they're at. And they're not surprised that they're being looked at,” Helland said.
Helland is running for re-election this year. He says his major goal, if he's re-elected, would be to prosecute the killers of Bowers.