With the weight of a year hanging upon them, friends, family and supporters of Stacy Peterson and Kathleen Savio gathered in Bolingbrook Tuesday night to remember the two women.
Led by women carrying a “Gone but not forgotten” banner, nearly 100 people marched the short distance from Savio’s home on Pheasant Chase Drive to Peterson’s home on Pheasant Chase Court. Each held a candle in honor of Peterson who disappeared exactly one year ago at the age of 23, and of Savio, 40, who was found murdered in her home in March 2004.
“These two women have had a tremendous impact on our lives,” Rev. Neil Schori said. “Stacy and Kathleen are not forgotten.”
Both women were the wives of former Bolingbrook police sergeant Drew Peterson, 54, who is the sole suspect in his wife’s disappearance, which police have labeled a ‘potential homicide.’ Shortly after Stacy Peterson went missing, authorities announced they were taking another look at Savio’s death, which had been ruled an accidental drowning. In February, an independent pathologist ruled the drowning a homicide. Police have not named a suspect.
Schori made headlines in December when he told Fox News host Greta Van Susteren that Stacy Peterson confided in him that her husband had admitted to killing his third wife, Savio.
Early Tuesday morning, Peterson appeared on the Today Show with Matt Lauer and maintained his innocence in both cases. He said he still believes his wife left him for another man and asked her, “Show yourself. Put an end to this nightmare.” In a release Tuesday, Peterson said he would not attend the vigil, choosing instead to spend time with his family.
“There is not a single day that goes by that I don’t think about Stacy, so to me Tuesday is just another day of her being away,” Peterson said.
But Tuesday was not just another day for the friends and family, including Peterson’s neighbor Sharon Bychowski, gathered in Bolingbrook, who said both women lived in fear of their husband.
“That day that Drew dragged me over to his house to tell me that she had left her children behind, there was no doubt in my mind that Stacy would never do that,” Bychowski said. “And 112 percent of me walked out that door knowing what had happened to her and that she was not coming back.”
Savio’s nephew Charlie Doman chastised authorities for failing to respond to his aunt’s pleas for help in the months before her murder. Doman said Savio documented her allegations of abuse and harassment from Peterson, and occasionally from his new teenage bride, Stacy.
“If my aunt hadn’t been murdered and Stacy went missing, even though they didn’t see eye-to-eye, my aunt would be right here with us, helping right now. The Savio family is here and we will always be here to help find Stacy, no matter what,” Doman said. “My aunt was a very strong and stubborn woman. Even from the grave, she’s still helping solve her own murder.”