Post by SeabiscuitChick on Oct 6, 2008 8:39:52 GMT -5
Mother Of Two Disappears Into Thin Air
Authorities have finished searching portions of the Calumet-Saginaw Channel in Romeoville, Ill. in the hunt for missing mom Stacy Peterson. Law enforcement officials say they may return to the canal, but want to focus resources on other aspects of the search right now. Additionally Drew Peterson has acknowledged that he transferred over $200,000 to his son Stephen in the days after Stacy went missing. Peterson's attorney, Joel Brodsky, says Peterson did this because he feared Stacy ran off with another man and he didn't want her to have access to the money.
Stacy Peterson, the 23-year-old fourth wife of longtime Bolingbrook, Ill. cop Sgt. Drew Peterson, vanished on Sunday, October 28, 2007. Cops say that Stacy may have left the house in a jogging suit and was supposed to be headed to a relative's home.
She never made it.
Sgt. Peterson, 53, claims he received a phone call from Stacy on that Sunday at 9 p.m. But, no one else heard from her after a Sunday morning phone call with relatives. Stacy's family has asked the Illinois State Police to look into her disappearance since her husband was until recently a local cop, a 29-year veteran of the local police department.
As Stacy has been gone since late October, family, friends and cops are stepping up their searches. The Illinois State Police say that they have pinpointed nine different locations in their investigation and sent a team of investigators and canines to each. So far, their searches have yielded no new clues.
Family and friends have organized several searches in the woods and waterways near the Peterson home in Bolingbrook. They initially called in the Texas-based search team Equusearch to join the hunt. Equusearch, working with dozens of local volunteers, had set-up their command post at a church near the Peterson home, doing ground and water searches in the woods in and around the Petersons' Bolingbrook home, following the Illinois State Police lead. They also launched their drone airplane, often used in these kinds of searches, in an effort to highlight suspicious areas for future searching.
But with no new leads, money and resources are running out. Stacy's family continues to search. Because of cold weather, waterways are freezing and volunteers are few and far between.
As the hunt for the missing mother of two gains momentum, new details of Sgt. Peterson's past have publicly emerged.
Previous Wife's Death Investigated: Ruled Homicide
Stacy's family says she would never leave her children behind and they fear the worst. Drew Peterson's third wife, Kathleen Savio, died in March 2004. The death was initially ruled an accidental drowning after she was found in the empty bathtub of the home she shared with Sgt. Peterson. At the time of her death, Kathleen and Sgt. Peterson were divorced and settling their assets and the custody of their two children.
A week and a half after Stacy disappeared, Will County (Ill.) Coroner Patrick O'Neil spoke publicly about the Savio death.
He said that, at the time, he would have preferred to classify Kathleen's cause of death as "undetermined" rather than "accidental," but in 2004, coroners in Illinois deferred to jury panels to rule on deaths. In this case, the jury then determined that Kathleen's death was an accident.
Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow says that because of Stacy Peterson's suspicious disappearance, they have formally reopened the investigation and exhumed Kathleen's body. The exhumation, which took place in the early morning hours of November 13, was conducted largely under a maroon tent at Kathleen's cemetery plot. Authorities say it was done with great respect and even included a short graveside prayer ceremony conducted by a local police chaplain.
The Savio family, reacting to the news, told AMW that the exhumation is "bittersweet because we will have to bury Kathleen again." They also told us they are elated that Kathleen will finally see some long-awaited justice. Authorities say the Savio death is rife with inconsistencies, including that the gash on the back of her head may not have been sufficient to render her unconscious. If she wasn't unconscious, cops say she would not have drowned accidentally.
Investigators looked at Kathleen's remains to find any previously unseen broken bones or subcutaneous bruising that would result from choking and other injuries. In a November 9 press conference, Glasgow also cited the inconsistencies surrounding the draining of the bathtub's water and the blood evidence left behind. In official court documents, Will County authorities said that the evidence on hand is "consistent with the 'staging' of an accident to conceal a homicide."
The family also asked for an independent examiner to have access to Kathleen's remains. Forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden, the former Chief Medical Examiner of New York City, performed the examination at the behest of the Savio family. He was able to study the exhumed body, and AMW was with the Savios as they received word from Dr. Baden that he believes Kathleen was murdered.
The emotional development did not come as much of a shock to the family, but it was still long-awaited and welcome news.
As we told you, Drew Peterson told cops he had an alibi in the days surrounding the death of his third wife. Now, reports coming out of Chicago say that Stacy told a clergy member in August that her husband claimed to have killed his ex-wife Kathleen Savio and made it look like an accident.
Cops: Husband Is Suspect In Wife's Disappearance
Illinois State Police Commander Carl Dobrich announced that the former Bolingbrook police officer is indeed a suspect in Stacy's disappearance.
Responding to that revelation, the Bolingbrook Fire and Police Commission suspended Drew Peterson without pay and relieved him of his duties as a Bolingbrook Police Officer. Peterson resigned shortly thereafter, and the commission was forced to guarantee that he would receive the $72,000 annual pension his years of service have earned him.
The previously reticent Peterson opened the floodgates when he went on both NBC's Today and Dateline NBC, and the camera-shy suspect spoke with AMW Correspondent Jon Leiberman. Peterson also has been keeping the media camped outside his home scurrying for soundbites as he travels to and from his driveway.
Jon says Peterson was calm, cool, collected, and even cordial during their November 15 conversation. Jon started off by asking Peterson if he wanted his wife back. Peterson responded, "Whether or not I want Stacy back now is questionable. It would take a lot of talking for me to take her back." Jon told Peterson it sounded like he was angry with his wife. Peterson replied that he was. "I'm angry with Stacy," he said, "because I have this circus surrounding me and my family."
Jon confronted Peterson point-blank: "Did you have anything to do with the death of Kathleen or the disappearance of Stacy?" he asked.
Peterson said very clearly, "I had nothing to do with either."
Responding to similar questions from Matt Lauer on Today on November 14, Peterson told him that it wasn't unusual for his wife to ask for a divorce and that it was "based on her menstrual cycle." Peterson insisted that he thinks Stacy has left him for another man and laughing, asked her to "come home."
Police have searched the Peterson home twice now. They have served four separate search warrants on Drew Peterson. Investigators have impounded their cars for further investigation and sent divers into a nearby retention pond in an effort to track down clues on the case. Sgt. Peterson and his brother -- among others -- also spent hours testifying in front of a grand jury at the Will County Courthouse on several November Wednesdays.
State's Attorney Glasgow also revealed that the Peterson children have all been taken to a Child Advocacy Center and questioned about their mother's disappearance. He added that the Illinois State Police is handling the missing persons investigation as if it were potentially a homicide.
Betty Morphey, Drew's mother, told AMW that her son is "wonderful." She told us, "My son is completely innocent and I just can't believe that this is happening."
On November 18, 2007, AMW's Jon Leiberman took the search for Stacy Peterson to a whole new level, going airborne to scour the woods and waterways near Bolingbrook. Jon, alongside Drew Peterson's close friend Ric Mims, looked down from above the flat Illinois landscape. Ric told Jon his friend was smart, but a man that, "you wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley."
Ric said Peterson is a gun collector and a martial arts enthusiast. The mission shed new light on areas that need to be searched and on suspect Drew Peterson. "No one is really looking for Stacy by air," Jon said, "and we need to do what we can to bring her home." Ric told AMW that his friend Drew is an adrenaline junkie; loved working on the police department's SWAT team; loved the excitement of running a bar and, Ric adds, "...chasing the ladies. He loved chasing the ladies."
Ric told AMW that he is having a harder and harder time believing Peterson, a man he has known for nearly 30 years. Ric held nothing back during the flight, even pointing out an abandoned roadway that Peterson allegedly parked with one of his former girlfriends for make-out sessions.
Ric told Jon that if Drew Peterson had stashed a body anywhere below, he would put it "someplace it wouldn't be found." He reminded AMW that Stacy is only 5'2" and 100 lbs. -- not very big. He added that he hopes Stacy is found, saying, "I'm praying that she will be."
Ric told AMW that he has stopped communicating with his old friend and said, "My gut feeling is that something horrible has happened."
Ric dropped this bombshell as well: that when Drew Peterson's third wife, Kathleen Savio, was found dead in a bathtub in 2004, Drew told cops he had an alibi-- his fourth wife. Ric says, "He mentioned to me that he was with the kids and Stacy was his alibi. I told him 'it sucks to be you now, because Stacy is gone and they are re-opening the case."
Also, a neighbor recently told AMW that a chlorine barrel was missing from the Peterson's home. As AMW first reported, cops asked searchers to be on the lookout for a large blue barrel that could hold a human body.
State Police are on the hunt for a container in any color that could hold a human body. What's more, police confirm to AMW they are investigating the theory that Drew Peterson had help disposing of Stacy's body, and they don't believe Drew's timeline of events in Stacy's disappearance. Police have spoken to someone they believe could have helped Drew move a container out of his home, but that person has not testified in front of the sitting Grand Jury.
In December, authorities actively searched a very specific body of water in the Peterson investigation. The Illinois State Police and the United States Coast Guard were at the Calumet-Saginaw Channel in Romeoville pulling objects from the area which police describe as a "known dumping ground." Cops have returned to the site on several occasions.
ISP investigators told AMW that the extreme searches are a result of "information that has been developed over time." They say they are pulling up vehicles, containers and any debris from the canal that looks like it may be relevant to the investigation into the disappearance of missing mom, 23-year-old Stacy Peterson.
Police are discounting earlier stories that on October 29, 2007, around 3:30 a.m., two men approached two truck drivers at a truck stop in Bolingbrook, Illinois.
Illinois State Police detectives say that the trucker's story is "unfounded." They say they are continuing to investigate additional accounts from people who came forward because of the first story. But, so far, cops have not been able to confirm any ties between Drew Peterson and the Bolingbrook Truck Stop.
In May 2008, authorities issued an arrest warrant for Drew Peterson. A Will County judge signed off on the weapons violations charges. Allegedly, one of the guns seized in November 2007 from the Peterson home was found to be in violation of Illinois state law. The rifle, which Peterson's spokesperson say he used as a member of the BPD SWAT, is shorter than the 16" required. If convicted, Drew Peterson faces up to five years in state prison.
This is a LOCAL shop, only for locals, we'll have no trouble here!!-Edward