Thoughts on Stacy Peterson: Five years gone

Stacy Peterson, missing since 2007

Stacy Peterson was last heard from five years ago, today. On a lazy Sunday morning, she texted a friend that she wasn’t ready to get out of bed and go help with some painting and then…silence. No more texts, no phone calls, no email, no sightings of her since that moment.

Her sister, Cassandra Cales, had been with her the night before and was already nervous about Stacy’s well-being. She knew that Stacy wanted to divorce her police officer husband, Drew, but that she was afraid he wouldn’t let her go. Her neighbor, Sharon Bychowski, had seen her sitting on the curb and crying in the days prior to her disappearance and had been told that she thought she would not make it out alive. She had confided a terrible secret to at least three people in the weeks before–that her husband had killed his third wife and that she had provided him with an alibi.

Stacy thought that this information might buy her and her children an escape from Drew, but it may well have cost her her life instead.

During Drew Peterson’s murder trial I received a lot of emails from people–really great emails for the most part filled with support for this site as well as the Savios, the Cales, and the prosecutors. Of course there were a few nutty negative emails as well, but those were expected.

But beyond that, there were also a few troubling emails. These came from people who, although they believed Peterson was guilty of killing Kathleen Savio, had difficulty accepting the idea that Stacy knew about her murder but did nothing about it until three years later when she wanted out of her marriage. These emails were from the nicest people you could imagine, who believed that Peterson killed not only Kathleen but Stacy as well, and they asked about this facet of the case tentatively, obviously not comfortable sharing their thoughts in the comments sections of the blog.

One woman, hoping that someone might have the answer just asked:

“I hope you can answer a question for me. After Neil Schori’s testimony yesterday, I have to wonder why Stacy Peterson waited until August of 2007 to tell her secret? That’s almost 3 1/2 years after Kathleen’s death. Why did Stacy wait so long to speak up?”

Another person took a few paragraphs to get to the point and then finally came out with it:

“Shame on Stacy. I don’t think she had one ounce of self-esteem and had no way of knowing right from wrong…She raised Kathleen’s son’s knowing their dad killed her. That’s messed up.”

It’s true that Stacy was not always kind to Kathleen during the first part of their relationship and that she later kept Drew’s dark secret for three years. However, she was only a teenager when they met and was no doubt under a good deal of control by Drew, so I factor that in when I think about her behavior towards Kathleen. I admit with some discomfort that I do find Stacy culpable to a degree for protecting Drew and providing him with an alibi.

That said, I guess I don’t dwell on it or feel anger towards her at this point because although I learned those facts of the case very early on, they were so eclipsed by the transgressions of Peterson himself.

In our country you have the right to be tried for your crimes and judged by a jury of your peers. Stacy Peterson was robbed of that right while her husband received the full benefit of the legal system. In my opinion, Drew Peterson was Stacy’s self-appointed judge, jury and executioner and he meted out a death sentence not as a matter of justice, but in order to hide a crime of his own. I think someday it will be proven in court that he killed her out of cowardice and greed. No matter what she might have been charged with, the sentence would not have been to be murdered at the hands of someone who had sworn to love and protect her.

I never think “shame on Stacy” because she never benefited from her right to representation and never got a fair day in court. She was abruptly silenced and denied the chance to either explain her actions or to defend herself against the slanderous accusations that have been made by Peterson and his lawyers since her disappearance.

It’s especially galling when you think about the fact that while Drew Peterson has now been convicted of the murder of Kathleen Savio, he still has parental rights over Stacy’s children and can legally keep her family from spending time with them.

Even if you feel that Stacy Peterson deserved punitive measures for not speaking up about the murder sooner, I don’t think there are many who would say that she hasn’t paid the price ten times over and then some.

She didn’t deserve to be killed and her children didn’t deserve to be robbed of their mother.

I try to take my cue from the Savio family who have found it in their hearts to put aside any resentment and have stood by the Cales to work towards getting justice for both Stacy and Kathleen. If the only people in the world who have a legitimate reason to be angry have demonstrated that they can get over it, so can you.

And of course there’s only one appropriate question to ask today: Where is Stacy?

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17 thoughts on “Thoughts on Stacy Peterson: Five years gone

  1. fear is a huge feeling that takes over your controls your mind and heart…I wasn’t able to come to terms with it until I was 21….I didn’t see my father for the rest of his life and he lived to be 90…Stacy was about the same age….and with 2 children…I feel the fear she had….she was brave and I know it was for the children…to know your destiny is going to end at anytime…I’m looking forward to DP’s destiny….may it all be fear….

  2. Anna said it all when she described the fear Stacy must have experienced. And I agree Facs, she paid the ultimate price for being young, naive and afraid. When she found the courage to speak up and get a divorce, Drew snuffed out her life and went on his merry way. Thank God Stacy’s words lived on and helped bring him to justice.

  3. I also agree with you Anna. Fear does some awful things to your mind. I think Stacy had to go into Denial to a certain degree, to live with Drew, and live with the fear that she felt. I think it was the ony way, that she knew how to survive, that horrible situation, that she was in. I think your brain goes into survival mode, and does what it has to, to protect you, and make you survive.
    Remember, even the cop that interviewed her, after Kathleen’s murder, said she was crying, and very upset at the time. Just imagine how she felt sitting there with Drew right beside her, knowing that she was in a way sealing her fate, too, by lying for him. I believe all of us may have done the same thing, knowing he had just killed one wife, and he would surely kill her also, if she said anything. What choice did she feel like she had? She was terribly young, and as Facs said, had been under Drew’s control for a long time. She really didn’t know anything else, except what Drew told her. As it has turned out, she was completely justified in her thinking that he would kill her, if she said anything, or tried to leave.

  4. Sadly, Susan Murphy Milano has passed away:

    Susan Murphy Milano was a nationally known women’s advocate and author, who passed away yesterday from cancer.

    Due to lack of health insurance, Susan was unable to receive proper medical attention after being diagnosed with cancer several months ago. According to Amy J. Matthews, “Everywhere she applied for help turned her down, and was informed that she did not qualify for their services. I know you agree that there is something terribly wrong when a country as great as ours can let this happen to anyone, yet alone someone who has devoted her entire life to saving the lives of others and without once thinking about what it could mean to her own.”

    Susan was born in Chicago and attended Taft High School. She started her journey in the advocacy world back in 1989, after her father murdered her mother Roberta, and then committed suicide. Susan’s father was Detective Phillip Murphy, a 30-year veteran, decorated Chicago Police violent crimes investigator. According to various articles, Susan’s father’s intent was to kill his daughter as well, yet she was delayed in returning home on that January day.

    Susan discovered her parents’ bodies, vowed to change the way intimate partner crimes and homicides were handled and investigated. She spent the rest of her life advocating for women and child victims of domestic violence.

    Susan Murphy-Milano authored Defending Our Lives: Getting Away From Domestic Violence & Staying Safe, Moving Out, Moving On, “Time’s Up How to Escape Abusive and Stalking Relationships Guide , A Survival Manual for those in abuse, stalking and Violent Relationships”, along with her newest book Holding My Hand Through Hell”.

    Over the years Susan has been quoted in numerous newspapers, magazines and appeared as an expert on television shows such as The Oprah Winfrey Show, Larry King Radio, ABC’S 20/20, Justice Files, E-True Hollywood, CNN, Sunday Today Show Profile, Women’s Day, Family Circle, US News and World Report.

    Funeral arrangements will be announced soon.

  5. I only spoke to Susan a couple of times but I’ll never forget when we were on the phone a few minutes before doing her blogtalk radio show. I told her that I was nervous and not comfortable at all with being on the air. She said that she started out being scared to speak as well, but got over it by keeping in mind how it important it was for what you wanted to say to be heard.

    Good advice.

  6. winsome, I echo your thoughts. What a truly dedicated person she was. May she find peace now, and know how she has helped change the country’s view of domestic violence.

  7. I understand that there’s a major weather event happening on the East Coast and that last night was the final game of the World Series, but am I alone in being disappointed and a little shocked that so little attention was paid to the 5-year anniversary of Stacy’s disappearance?

    Now that Drew Peterson has been convicted of Kathleen’s murder is that it? No more interest in getting justice for Stacy?

    The news about Susan Murphy Milano makes me even sadder.


  8. I am sorry to hear of Susan’s passing. My condolences and sympathy goes out to her family, and friends. The world needs more people like her in it, She is truly an inspiration to all.

  9. thanks facs….the good thing about this is that the weather has changed and it will be too cold for brodsky to stand outside and lie through his teeth…the glass is always half full…..

  10. Holy Crap! Didn’t see this coming:

    Dan Rozek‏@DanRozek1

    #DrewPeterson former attorney Brodsky said he’s withdrawing because it’s in Peterson’s “best interest.”

  11. ABC 7 Chicago ‏@ABC7Chicago

    Breaking News: Attorney Joel Brodsky withdraws from #DrewPeterson defense for appeals.

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