For a supposedly routine search, the FBI and Illinois State Police are sure investing a lot of time, effort and money.
A couple dozen federal agents and state troopers spent a fourth full day in Shorewood's Hammel Woods, poking around the park for some sign of missing mom Stacy Peterson.
A state police source close to the five-year-old Stacy Peterson case said on Monday the operation was just one of numerous searches conducted periodically in locations investigators believe Stacy's body may have been left.
But the agents and troopers—along with high-tech equipment and cadaver dogs—returned the next day, and then came back again Wednesday and Thursday, leaving many wondering just what exactly has been happening in Hammel Woods.
Cable news host Nancy Grace, for one, is convinced the feds and staties know more than they're letting on.
State police spokeswoman Monique Bond has done little to dispel these doubts, declining to even confirm troopers are looking for Stacy Peterson, or anyone else.
It wouldn't be the first time the state police lied about what was going on in Hammel Woods, according to Will County Forest Preserve officials. Before starting the search Monday, the state police passed off some story about going to the park to practice doing their jobs, two forest preserve officials said. A source said the state police later came clean and admitted they were searching for Stacy.
Stacy Peterson, who is the fourth wife of disgraced former Bolingrbook cop Drew Peterson, mysteriously disappeared on October 2007. Soon after she vanished, state police officials labeled her case a "potential homicide" and named Peterson the sole suspect in their investigation.
Throughout the last five years, Peterson has denied doing anything untoward to his missing wife. He has has also repeatedly insisted that Stacy, the mother of two of his six children, left him for another man.
Peterson, 58, has admitted that he does not know who this man is or where he and Stacy might have gone. Peterson has speculated his then 23-year-old wife and her mystery man may have taken off on a Caribbean vacation.
The state police have yet to charge Peterson with harming Stacy. But state investigators did arrest him in May 2009 for allegedly murdering his third wife, Kathleen Savio, who was found drowned in a dry bathtub in March 2004.
Soon after Savio turned up dead, the state police decided she was the victim of a freak bathtub drowning. But three and a half years later, when Stacy vanished, the state police were forced to re-evaluate their findings.
Within weeks of Stacy's disappearance, the state police concluded someone killed Savio and staged her death so it looked like an accident. Officials also secured a court order to pull Savio's body from its grave so additional postmortem testing could be performed.
Nearly five years later, a jury found Peterson guilty of murdering Savio. He faces 20 to 60 years in prison when he is sentenced Jan. 10.
One of Peterson's lawyers, Joseph "Shark" Lopez, was unimpressed by this latest effort by the FBI and state police. He also figured Peterson has heard about it by now.
"He probably saw it on TV," Lopez said.