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Private eyes suing Riley Fox’s parents over unpaid bills

Meliss(left) KevFox. Sun-Times file photo

Melissa (left) and Kevin Fox. Sun-Times file photo

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Updated: November 26, 2011 12:28AM

An Oak Forest security firm is suing the parents of slain 3-year-old Riley Fox for nearly $70,000, claiming the Foxes hired it to investigate the girl’s murder but never paid the bill.

National Investigators & Security Agency Inc. filed its lawsuit against Kevin and Melissa Fox this month in Will County.

The suit said the company began digging into the Riley Fox murder file on May 26, 2008, based on an oral contract with Fox attorney Kathleen Zellner. Melissa Fox later signed a written contract with the firm, according to the lawsuit, and its work continued until Dec. 4, 2008, when the FBI took over the case.

Riley Fox was found dead in a creek outside Wilmington in 2004. Kevin Fox, her father, was originally charged in her death but was released in 2005 based on DNA evidence. Scott Eby is now serving life in prison after pleading guilty last year to killing the girl.

Kevin Fox sued the county after he was released from jail, and a jury awarded him and his wife $15.5 million in damages in 2007. That award was reduced on appeal, though.

The security company said it signed its written contract with Melissa Fox in July 2008. It said she agreed to pay the firm’s $125 hourly rate plus expenses, and she gave the firm sole discretion in carrying out the investigation.

Company President Richard Grove also appeared on “60 Minutes” to talk about the case, according to the lawsuit, and the Foxes told the television program they had hired an investigator to solve Riley’s murder.

The firm said it warned the Foxes of their escalating bill three times, but they said they would “never tell NISA to stop work until the murderer was caught.”

In the end, the company said it performed 557.75 hours of work on the case, bringing the couple’s bill to $69,719. The firm, previously based in Tinley Park, said it has been trying to get the Foxes to pay since January 2009.

Late Monday Zellner said the two sides were in negotiations to settle the bill.

“Hopefully we will be able to resolve this to everyone’s satisfaction,” she said via e-mail.

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