On Oct. 18, Stacy and Drew Peterson would have been able to celebrate their eighth wedding anniversary together, maybe slipping off on a romantic Caribbean getaway as they had in the past.
Only Drew Peterson has been locked up since 2009 on charges he murdered the woman he left for Stacy. And the last anyone saw of Stacy was exactly four years ago today.
That’s because she took off on a tropical trip of her own with some other guy, never to be seen again. At least that’s the way Drew Peterson told it. Not that anyone — particularly the police — seemed to buy his story.
Instead, within weeks of Stacy’s disappearance, Illinois State Police Capt. Carl Dobrich declared that the missing mother was the victim of a “potential homicide” and that Drew Peterson was the sole suspect in a massive criminal investigation.
But four years later, Stacy remains missing and Drew Peterson, though jailed on charges he murdered his previous wife, Kathleen Savio, faces no charges in connection with harming Stacy.
The state police did not respond to a request for an update on the case, but Pam Bosco, a friend of Stacy’s family and their spokeswoman, said the family is in regular contact with investigators.
“We have our meetings with the Illinois State Police,” Bosco said. “They’re very active and sincere in this being an active investigation.”
Stacy was only 17 when she and Peterson started sleeping together — occasionally in the basement of his Bolingbrook home while Savio, who was his third wife, and their children slept upstairs.
Stacy gave birth to their first child together in July 2003 while Peterson was still married to Savio. The courts granted them a peculiar “bifurcated divorce” which cleared the way for Peterson to marry Stacy but still allowed him and Savio to continue their bitter struggle over property and money.
That struggle looked to be wrapping up with Savio coming out way ahead of Peterson when she mysteriously turned up drowned in her dry bathtub in March 2004. Mysterious to some, but apparently not the state police.
Since Drew Peterson was a Bolingbrook cop, and Savio died in his jurisdiction, the state police took over the investigation. The state police quickly determined Savio perished in a freak bathtub accident and effectively closed the case.
Drew and Stacy — who provided her husband with the alibi that he was with her and could not have killed anybody — went on to have another child and live in suburban anonymity in their home on a cul-de-sac less than a mile from the bathroom where Savio died.
But after Stacy vanished, the state police suddenly developed an interest in Savio’s death. Her body was exhumed from its grave and new autopsies were performed. Then, a year and a half after Stacy supposedly abandoned her two children and the two Savio bore whom she adopted, the state police arrested Peterson in connection Savio’s death.
Peterson’s trial was supposed to start in July 2010 but was postponed due to a last minute prosecution appeal of which hearsay statements can be used as evidence. Peterson’s self-proclaimed lead attorney, Joel Brodsky, has repeatedly failed to get the accused wife-killer released while the appeals are sorted out. Another of Peterson’s attorneys, Joseph “Shark” Lopez, said it is impossible to tell when — or if — Peterson will go to trial.
“We’re all waiting for the (Illinois) Supreme Court to say something, yay or nay,” Lopez said. “When the Supreme Court’s ready to decide, they’re going to decide.”
When told that today was the fourth anniversary of Stacy disappearing, he asked, “Are you buying the cake?”
“Where he needs to be”
Bosco said Stacy’s family does not derive any satisfaction from the thought of Peterson languishing in jail, but are glad he’s there.
“I think that’s where he has to be for safety. We all feel safer,” she said.
“That’s where he needs to be until this goes to trial,” Bosco said. “It’s just a very logical decision. One (wife’s) dead, one’s missing, supposedly dead.”
And while Stacy’s family lives with the uncertainty of whether she ever will be found, they wait to see what happens with the case of the wife before her.
“The two of them are tied so closely together,” Bosco said of Stacy and Savio. “We’d be happy if the Kathleen case goes ahead like it should.”