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Wisconsin convict a suspect in 1970 murder

A 73-year-old prisoner is suspected of raping and strangling Donna Willing, 9, of Milwaukee.

Family Photo via AP

A 73-year-old prisoner is suspected of raping and strangling Donna Willing, 9, of Milwaukee.

MILWAUKEE — Prosecutors will argue Monday that a convicted sex offender should go to trial in the 1970 rape and strangulation of a 9-year-old Milwaukee girl.

With physical evidence in the case lost or destroyed, prosecutors say they will contend that, under the state’s sex offender law, Robert Hill, 73, must remain in custody indefinitely because he is a sexually violent person.

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Hill, a neighbor, once confessed to killing the girl, Donna Willing, but has since recanted, officials said.

After years of trying to help solve her sister’s killing, Virginia Davis said she is preparing to go to court to face the man police believe is responsible.

Only 4 years old at the time, Davis knew little about the crime. The subject remained off-limits for the next four decades in a family that hoped to forget the pain.

But Davis needed answers. At 15 she went to the library to read news coverage about her sister’s death. ‘‘I didn’t feel so lonely, I didn’t feel so empty, I didn’t feel like I had a million holes anymore,’’ said Davis, a mother of three who lives in suburban Milwaukee.

Davis clearly remembers the afternoon of Feb. 26, 1970. Her mother wanted Donna to go to the bakery for bread.

Donna left the house at 5:15 p.m. A witness saw her get into a green car. Less than two hours later, a man discovered her bruised and bloodied body under a car in his garage about a mile away.

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