CHICAGO, August 2, 2012 — Drew Peterson, a retired Bolingbrook, Illinois police officer, is finally on trial for the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio in 2004.
Drew Peterson drew national media attention when his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson disappeared in 2007. The mysterious disappearance of Stacy led to suspicions over the death of Kathleen Savio. The death investigation was reopened. Kathleen Savio was found dead, nude in an empty bathtub in her home. The death was originally ruled an accident.
Peterson’s first and second wives divorced him over allegations of abuse and serial adultery. Peterson had a stellar and troubled career as a Bolingbrook Police officer.
Peterson became a national media celebrity, appearing on various morning news entertainment talk shows declaring his innocence in the disappearance of his fourth wife and death of his third. At one point, a public relations firm was hired to book him on various shows. There was even an hour long special on a day in the life of Drew Peterson.
Once again Peterson is a person of national interest. Once again his dead ex-wife, Kathleen Savio, and his missing ex-wife, Stacy Peterson, will be household names, especially in Chicago metropolitan area.
There is something very strange in Will County. It is not the death of Kathleen Savio or the mysterious disappearance of Stacy Peterson. It is not the investigations and prosecution surrounding Drew Peterson. Those are fodder for the media, legal, and law enforcement experts, mystery novelists, true crime authors, and screenwriters.
The something strange has nothing to do with Drew Peterson at all.
The something strange has to do with Lisa Stebic.
In April of 2007, six months before Stacy Peterson disappeared, Lisa Stebic disappeared from her Plainfield home without a trace. The 37-year-old mother of two vanished into thin air. There was national news coverage of the disappearance and even a local media scandal. Her husband Craig Stebic refused to cooperate or talk to authorities investigating the case. He also refused to allow his children to speak with authorities.
Plainfield, like Bolingbrook, is located in Will County. The towns are about ten miles apart.
Craig Stebic lawyered up and clammed up.
In January of that year Craig Stebic filed for divorce, alleging his wife Lisa did not want to be married to him anymore. Though they lived separate lives, the couple shared the same home with their children. Four months later Lisa Stebic vanished. On the day she disappeared it was reported she filed court papers in Will County to have Craig Stebic evicted from the home they shared.
Craig Stebic was named and is still a person of interest in his wife’s disappearance. The Will County authorities, Illinois State Police, F.B.I., media, and entertainment media investigated the Stebic case. The case was featured on missing-person-type shows and was even the plot for a crime show.
In 2010 Lisa Stebic was listed as missing and presumed dead.
Except for the yearly anniversary of her disappearance, the Stebic case has gone unnoticed. The case is still open and the Plainfield police are still looking for any information regarding the case.
The Stebic case disappeared from media scrutiny around the same time Drew Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy, was reported missing. The Peterson disappearance shoved the Stebic disappearance aside. Lisa Stebic was gone and forgotten. Stacy Peterson was gone, reported on, and investigated.
Though the two cases are eerily similar, there is no indication the cases are related or that the Petersons and Stebics knew each other.
Craig Stebic and Drew Peterson were both described as abusive, controlling, and domineering husbands. Both men collected firearms, though that may be and probably is meaningless. There were alleged incidents of physical and verbal domestic abuse in their marriages. There is only circumstantial evidence in both missing persons cases. At one point, in 2009, Drew Peterson and Craig Stebic shared the same attorney.
The Will County prosecutor is responsible for both cases. Why was the Peterson case kept in the public eye and the Stebic case allowed to vanish?
Why did the media ignore Craig Stebic and give so much publicity over the years to Drew Peterson?
Will County state’s attorney James W. Glascow gained lots of mileage, notoriety, and political capital over the Peterson cases these past five years. He has been dead silent on the Lisa Stebic case. There are no media musings, no questions being asked, and no updates on the investigation. There is nothing but crickets.
Will County spent months, years, and money investigating and putting together a murder case against Drew Peterson and on searches for his missing fourth wife, hoping to garner another prosecution.
Will County authorities even had a controversial law passed in Illinois allowing circumstantial evidence to be admitted in murder trials. The Peterson murder case hinges on circumstantial evidence, as physical evidence is scarce. There is not a shred of known physical evidence tying him to the disappearance of his fourth wife, but he is not on trial for that.
With the media circus surrounding the Peterson trial, this would be a golden opportunity to reopen and publicize the Lisa Stebic case. The media have a tremendous opportunity to revisit the Stebic case and ask hard questions of and about Craig Stebic, Lisa Stebic, and her disappearance.
There are more questions than answers in this case.
The Stacy Peterson case was never solved. It appears that the Lisa Stebic case may never be solved, either. Lisa Stebic and Stacy Peterson disappeared months apart. Both disappearances occurred in Will County. Both cases are similar in nature. Both garnered national media attention.
Then the Stebic case vanished without a trace, just like Lisa.
Why is Will County investing so much capital gambling on Drew Peterson and so little on the Stebic case? That is something strange.
Peter V. Bella is a retired Chicago Police Officer, freelance journalist and photojournalist, cook, and raconteur. He likes to be the irreverent sharp stick that pokes, prods, and annoys. His opinions are his and his alone. Mr. Bella is a member of the National Press Photographers Association and the Society for Professional Journalists.
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