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The Disappearance of Stacy Peterson: What Kathleen Savio Said

Stacy Peterson, age 23, has been missing since October 28. That Sunday night was the last time her husband, Drew Walter Peterson, said he spoke with Stacy. Since then, the strange alchemy that shoves some missing persons cases into the national spotlight and lets others fade has worked on this developing story, and many cable news networks do hourly updates on the case.

There are many reasons Stacy’s disappearance has attracted so much attention. Here are a few:

* Her husband Drew, from whom Stacy was estranged, is a police Sgt. with the Bolingbrook, Illinois PD, and he is a good 3 decades or so older than Stacy;
* Stacy sent foreboding e-mails to several people in the weeks leading up to her disappearance, and they pointed towards her husband should anything happen to her;
* Stacy was Drew’s fourth wife, and his third wife, Kathleen Savio, died under mysterious circumstances.

In 2004, shortly after her divorce from Drew Peterson, Kathleen was discovered dead in an empty tub in her home in Bolingbrook.

An investigation into Kathleen Savio’s death found no sign of foul play. There was a bit of blood in the tub, Savio’s hair was wet and there was blood in her hair, likely from a gash on her scalp. The inquest into her death concluded the gash had been from a fall in the tub.

Naturally, Stacy Peterson’s disappearance called Kathleen Savio’s death into question.

Kathleen Savio talked about her fear of her cop husband. Her family has said that she even wrote a letter to a State’s Attorney saying that if she died and it looked like suicide, her husband did it.

Kathleen also talked to friends and acquaintances about her troubled marriage.

Requesting anonymity, one such friend has corresponded with The True Crime Weblog.

Kathleen’s friend stated she knew Savio from a class they’d taken together in 2003. She wrote, “[Kathleen] started talking about her soon-to-be ex Drew [. . .] She stated that she thought that he’d hurt her. She told me that her marriage had broken up because of his ‘fooling around’ with ‘young girls’…”

Drew allegedly met the girls while working as some kind of mentor or teacher for the Bolingbrook Police Department’s police cadet program.

Kathleen’s friend continued: “Kathy stated that she’d called and told BPD about him with the girls, and, specifically one named Stacey, (that Drew had started fooling around with her when she was 16) but that they refused to do anything about it. She said that for awhile there would be a BPD car outside her house off and on, just parked across the street.”

Savio allegedly said these things to her friend in the fall of 2003.

After Drew Peterson moved into a home up the street from the place he’d shared with Kathleen Savio, Kathleen was asked how her soon-to-be-ex could possibly afford two $200,000-plus homes on a police Sergeant’s salary.

According to her friend, Kathleen smiled and said, “That’s a good question.” She wouldn’t elaborate any further on the question.

Kathleen’s former friend and colleague had a much more alarming story to relate about Drew Peterson — Kathleen Savio’s version of the story, at least:

She told me that he had told her that he could kill her and no one would ever know. I had to walk her to her car a couple of times after class because she was afraid, saying Drew was trying to intimidate her in their divorce settlement, and was stalking her. They owned a bar together in Montgomery, Il and were partners in a (printing) company in (I think) Lombard, Il. She knew that he’d try to do something to her. She told me that Stacy would come over to her house and ring the door bell, and want to ‘chat.’ We both felt like she was somehow trying to ‘become’ Kathy; almost like she wanted to take over her life, if that makes any sense. Stacey had enrolled at [Joliet Junior College] and was going to go into the nursing program as well…

According to the person who made the statement above, Drew Peterson was also investigated in the late 80s for “shaking down drug dealers for drugs” and money.

Those charges were dismissed, due to lack of evidence.

Drew Peterson’s late third wife allegedly had her own take on that: “Kathy said that no one would testify against him. Kathy told me that she knew a lot about him that could get him into trouble.” Kathleen Savio seemed to believe that Drew wasn’t the only one who’d been involved in the alleged illegal shakedowns.

Kathleen Savio’s friend stated later that she believed that Drew Peterson “collected quite a bit” of money from Kathleen’s life insurance settlement.

Had the information from Kathleen’s old classmate come out of the blue, it might not have been as compelling as it was.

However, conversations remembered from 2003 and 2004 with the dead woman dovetail well with a report published today in the Chicago Sun Times:

When Susan Savio got the news that her sister had drowned in her bathtub, she immediately wanted to know one thing: Did Drew Peterson kill her?

Kathleen Savio had told family “that if she would die, it may look like an accident, but it wasn’t,” Susan Savio said in a newly released transcript from a coroner’s inquest into the death of Kathleen Savio, Peterson’s third wife, who died in 2004 after they divorced.

“She was terrified of that — [of] him and him threatening her,” Susan Savio said.

The documents were released Thursday as Will County officials considered exhuming Kathleen Savio’s body. Her unusual death is getting a second look as teams search for Peterson’s current wife, Stacy, missing since Oct. 28…

Drew Peterson has recently spoken out about Stacy’s disappearance and all the suspicion against him. From NBC 5 in Chicago:

On Thursday, Peterson broke his silence with the media in front of his Bolingbrook home when he told reporters, “The media is terrorizing my children.”

NBC5’s Kim Vatis said that authorities are considering exhuming Savio’s body for further investigation, after the Will County coroner cast doubt on the original findings of the 2004 autopsy results, saying that the death by “drowning” determination was inaccurate and that the autopsy results are, at least, “undetermined.”

“Do you want to comment on the coroner’s statement?” a reporter asked Peterson as he was going from his SUV to his front door Thursday night.

“I have no comments for the media because they did everything wrong,” he said, barely showing his face under a hooded sweatshirt…

As this post was being written, it was announced on MSNBC that Kathleen Savio’s body will indeed be exhumed.

Sergeant Peterson’s problems with the media may soon pale beside his problems with his fellow cops, if evidence of foul play is found on his third wife’s remains.

UPDATE, 4:10 p.m. ET

As is noted in the comments below, Drew Peterson is now officially a suspect in his ex-wife’s disappearance. From Fox News/The AP:

“Drew Peterson went to being a person of interest to clearly a suspect,” said Illinois State Police Capt. Carl Dobrich at a press conference, adding that the case has shifted to a potential homicide case…

(NOTE: For a quirky look at a very different kind of crime story, check out this post by me on RADAR Magazine’s “Fresh Intelligence.”)