Woman seeks clemency in 1987 kidnapping death of Kankakee publishing heir Stephen Small

Written By SUN-TIMES Posted: 07/08/2014, 09:12am
Array Nancy Rish, charged as an accomplice in the September 1987 murder wealthy media heir Stephen B. Small, is escorted into the Kankakee County Courthouse during her trial. | Sun-Times Files

A woman convicted in 1988 as an accomplice in the kidnapping and killing of a prominent Kankakee businessman goes before Illinois Prisoner Review Board to seek clemency.

Nancy Rish was 26 when publishing heir Stephen B. Small was kidnapped Sept. 2, 1987 and buried in a field.

His wife received a phone call seeking $1 million in ransom, but the call was muffled and she couldn’t understand the instructions, so the ransom never was paid.

Small was placed in a wooden box under several feet of dirt. Small had a breathing tube leading to the surface, but the ventilation system failed and he suffocated.

His body was found in the box about two days after he was abducted.

Rish and her boyfriend, Daniel Edwards, were convicted. Edwards has now abandoned his appeals and says he acted alone and kept his plans from Rish.

While Rish was sentenced to life in prison, Edwards received a death penalty that later was set aside in 2003, when then-Gov. George Ryan commuted all death sentences to life in prison

Contributing: Associated Press

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