By Danya Hooker, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dozens of people from around the country gathered outside of the Bolingbrook Aquatic Center Wednesday as part of a national event to raise awareness for missing persons, including Stacy Peterson.
“We’re keeping awareness and we’re all acting as one family looking for each and everyone’s missing loved ones,” Peterson’s sister Cassandra Cales said. “We will find them and bring them home and find justice for them.”
Organized by the North Carolina-based CUE Center for Missing Persons, the group is traveling across 17 states in 12 days to raise awareness for more than 100 missing persons cases, including Stacy Peterson. Wednesday’s gathering included a self defense class, food, beverages, and a balloon release in honor of the missing.
Bolingbrook Police Chief Ray McGury also addressed the crowd, saying he was confident the case would be resolved.
“Early on there wasn’t a lot of love for (the police department), and I understand that, and I accept that,” McGury said. “I accept full responsibility to make this right and we’re going to make it right.”
Stacy Peterson, the fourth wife former Bolingbrook police sergeant Drew Peterson, disappeared Oct. 28 after failing to meet a friend to help paint a house. Drew Peterson has been named a suspect in her disappearance, which police are calling a “potential homicide.”
State police are also investigating the March 2004 death of Peterson’s third wife Kathleen Savio, who was found drowned in a dry bathtub. Her death had been ruled an accident but Stacy Peterson’s disappearance led investigators to take another look at the case. Her death has since be reclassified as a homicide but police have not named a suspect.
Drew Peterson has denied any involvement in either case, saying his wife left him for another man.
Although Stacy Peterson’s case has received an immense amount of media attention, CUE Center found Monica Caison said most missing persons cases go unnoticed. She founded the center in 1994 to work with law enforcement and the families of missing persons to help gain media attention and assist in searches.
“Most of the cases we’re featuring in the tour, there are very few that have received national attention,” Caison said. “In a sense, we’re giving all these cases national attention because we’re sharing their information through the 17 states we’re going through.”
Bill and Susan Olsen, parents of missing Maple Park man Bradley Olsen, were also at the event. Maple Park is the next stop on CUE’s tour where they will remember Olsen, missing St. Charles man John Spira, and missing Lisle man Scott Arcaro. In December, the men’s families joined forces with Peterson’s and Lisa Stebic’s families to share resource and offer support to each other.
“It’s 19 months now (since Olsen’s disappearance) and it’s helped us tremendously that everyone has opened their arms and included us in their groups,” Susan Olsen said. “Every time we search, at any individual’s search, you never know who we might find or what we might find because we are in such close proximity to each other.”
The event to honor Olsen, Spira and Arcaro will be held 9 to 11 a.m. at the Maple Park Fire Department, 305 S. County Line Road.