Seven Years Later: Where is Stacy Peterson?

Stacy Peterson with her children

Stacy Peterson with her children and those of Kathleen Savio.

Stacy Peterson was last heard from seven years ago, today. At 10:15 on a lazy Sunday morning she texted a friend that she wasn’t ready to get out of bed to 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, hung out 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 also that she was afraid he wouldn’t let her go. Stacy  warned her sister that night that if something were to happen to her “he did it.” Her neighbor, Sharon Bychowski, saw her sitting on the curb and crying in the days prior to her disappearance and Stacy told her then that she had lost hope of making it out of the marriage alive.

Stacy had confided a terrible secret to at least three people in the weeks prior to her disappearance – her husband had killed his third wife and had staged her death to look like an accident. She hoped that this dangerous information might buy her and her children an escape from Drew, but it probably cost her her life instead.

The night of October 28, 2007, Drew Peterson’s step-brother visited a friend and told him that he needed to unburden himself. He thought that he had just helped move a plastic container that held the body of Stacy Peterson from her house to Drew’s SUV. He had been given some money and he wanted to give some of it to his friend. The next day he attempted to take his own life with an overdose of Paxil, Xanax and alcohol.

Drew Peterson was eventually charged, tried and convicted for the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, but he has maintained to this day that Stacy Peterson simply left him and her children on that Sunday, seven years ago. Numerous land and water searches have failed to turn up any evidence of her remains. Her sister, Cassandra, still searches for her with the assistance of volunteers.

If you have any information that can help this ongoing investigation, please contact the Illinois State Police who released a statement today:

“The Peterson case has always remained active and continues to be very active. While agents may not always be in contact with the family with every lead, they are still actively investigating the case. In fact, we have been following up on several leads – which we are not at liberty to make public or discuss at this time.”

Reporter Craig Wall tweeted this photo of his notes from Drew Peterson's 2012 trial ready for recycling.

Reporter Craig Wall tweeted this photo of his notes from Drew Peterson’s 2012 trial ready for recycling.

Some anniversary updates:

“I’m not going to stop until she’s found. I will leave no stone unturned until I bring my sister home.”

Stacy’s Aunt Candace wrote a poem to commemorate the anniversary of the disappearance (used with her permission).

SEVEN YEARS!!!!

Seven Years and so many tears,
And still no answer to our fears!
Stacy Ann I love and miss you so much,
And your special endearing touch!
You left a big hole upon my heart,
Its hard to know where to pick up and restart!
It feels like life is empty space,
because not one can take your place!
It’s still so hard without you here,
You were so precious and so dear!
I miss you running all around,
And your voice I love the sound!
I still have your # in my cell,
How many times I call you, I never tell!
It feels like you’ll call me again someday,
But then, it’s only your message I can play!
You’re in my heart forever, you know,
And to your house, I love to go!
But for now I keep you here,
In my heart, you’re always near!
I know I’ll see your face again,
Although I don’t know exactly when!
I just know it will be a wonderful day,
Because God has ordained it that way!!!!
I love and miss you Stacy Ann!!!

Aunt candy

Sue Savio, sister of Kathleen Savio, to speak about domestic violence at Spring event

Sue Savio awaits the verdict outside the courthouse at the trial of Drew Peterson for the murder of her sister

Sue Savio awaits the verdict outside the courthouse at the trial of Drew Peterson for the murder of her sister

The Zonta Club of Kankakee will conduct its annual luncheon, The Diamond Within…celebrating the Strength of the Human Spirit, on April 7 at the Hilton Garden Inn Riverstone Conference Center of Kankakee.

The special guest speaker will be Sue Savio, sister of Kathleen Savio, who will speak from personal experience about the effect of domestic violence on a family.

The public is invited to attend. Advance reservations and payment required. The cost of the luncheon is $40 per person; $25 for children ages 13 and under, with parental caution regarding the topic of the luncheon.

The Zonta Club of Kankakee will also honor the 2013 Woman of Achievement and the 2013 Young Woman in Public Affairs recipients at the luncheon.

The Zonta Club of Kankakee was chartered in 1956 and is a member of Zonta International, a worldwide service organization of executives in business and professions working together to advance the status of women. Locally, the Zonta Club of Kankakee supports the efforts of Harbor House, Kankakee County-Center Against Sexual Assault (KC-CASA), and Center of Hope nonprofit agencies.

Reservations and payments for the luncheon can be sent to: Zonta Luncheon, 106 Julie Drive, Kankakee, IL 60901. Mailed invitations are not being sent for this event. For program sponsorship and advertising opportunities, contact Amy Carmack at 815-715-7635 for more information.

2012-14 Zonta Service Projects

• Harbor House: An agency whose mission is to provide services to the victims of domestic violence in Kankakee and Iroquois Counties in Illinois.
• KC-Casa: An agency that provides assistance to victims of sexual abuse.
• Center of Hope: An agency that provides car repair grants for women.
• Child Network Grandmother Project: Provides encouragement and support for girls who have been abused or neglected and are now in the court system.
• Kankakee Valley Adult literacy Project: An agency that provides a broad range of tutoring with more accessibility for under-educated adults.

Sisters of Stacy Peterson and Kathleen Savio to speak at domestic violence event

Sue Doman

Peterson in-laws to speak at domestic violence event
Tom Collins, Staff Writer, LaSalle News Tribune

Each year Zonta International holds a luminary to support the often silent victims of domestic violence. This year, the group welcomes two speakers who can testify to the pain of abuse.

Sue Doman and Cassandra Cales will speak at the program scheduled at 6:45 p.m. Thursday at First Congregational Church in Ottawa, following an awareness walk beginning at 6:30 p.m. across the street in Washington Square.

Doman and Cales are the respective the sisters of Kathleen Savio and Stacy Peterson, both of whom were married to convicted murderer Drew Peterson. Savio was drowned in a bathtub — Drew recently was convicted of her murder — while Stacy Peterson disappeared and has never been found.

Cassandra Cales

Diane Martin, a Zonta member and assistant La Salle County circuit clerk, approached both women and found them eager to speak about their experiences at Thursday’s event.

“They are extremely excited about spreading the word about domestic violence,” Martin said. “Cassandra also hopes the more exposure they get then perhaps someone will find Stacy and bring her home.”

The event is sponsored by the Zonta Clubs of Ottawa, La Salle-Peru and Streator.

Anyone who’s been victimized by domestic violence is encouraged to contact ADV/SAS toll-free at (800) 892-3375.

For more information, contact Susan Bursztynsky at susan.zonta@mediacombb.net.

Source: LaSalle News Tribune

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Book: Susan Murphy Milano’s Holding my Hand Through Hell

I can’t recall the first time I heard of Susan Murphy Milano. I know it was in the first few months after the disappearance of Stacy Peterson and the re-examination of the events surrounding what was initially ruled the accidental death of Kathleen Savio.

Most likely it was a post on her blog that came up during a search for information, or maybe someone left a link to a podcast of the show Justice Interrupted hosted by Susan, Stacy Dittrich and Robin Sax. Whatever the case, I was immediately struck by her passion, her energy and her fearlessness when it came to discussion of not only the anti-hero Drew Peterson, but the system and the players who had failed his two wives and especially Kathleen Savio.

Even after run-ins with Drew Peterson’s lawyer, Joel Brodsky, Susan still spoke her mind about the case with a sharpness and sense of humor that showed everyone that she was not the kind of person who could be easily intimidated.

This summer I was very sad to learn that Susan Murphy Milano was diagnosed with stage four multi-organ cancer. This month she made the decision to suspend treatment and allow the natural course of events to take place as they will.

This decision coincides with the release of her latest book, Holding My Hand Through Hell, which is Susan’s autobiography and a fitting swan song to her life as a tireless champion of the abused.

Susan’s story begins in a middle-class home in Chicago, presided over by her alcoholic police officer father, whose horrific abuse of the family is told with Susan’s typical candor. The helplessness she felt when law enforcement would look the other way out of “professional courtesy” will strike a chord with anyone who has been following the Peterson cases.

The eventual murder/suicide of her parents started Susan on a crusade to aid and empower victims of abuse – an effort that touched the lives of many women and gave Susan a measure of celebrity but which also took a toll on her private life, straining relationships with those closest to her and even alienating her son.

Susan takes you along with her as she experiences her hopes, her victories and her disappointments, the struggle to trust and love after growing up in a violently dysfunctional family, and the relentless drive to help others even when her own life has been shattered and then pieced back together and held in place by the barest of support.

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New Illinois law makes evidence of domestic violence admissible in murder cases

Kathleen Savio with black eye

Remember how frustrated we all were that evidence of Drew Peterson’s prior domestic abuse of Kathleen Savio was barred from trial? Illinois Public Act 097-1036, which was signed into law in August, now mandates that evidence of prior domestic violence is admissible in all first or second-degree murder cases that involve domestic violence.

In Peterson’s case, the evidence of prior abuse (testimony from Anna Doman and Eric Peterson, an emergency room report, etc.) was deemed too remote in time from Kathleen’s death to be admissible, and that could still be the case even with this new law since proximity in time is still a factor to be considered, but it’s a step in the right direction!

Public Act 097-1036

Synopsis As Introduced
Amends the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963. Provides that in a criminal prosecution in which the defendant is accused of first degree murder or second degree murder when the commission of the offense involves domestic violence, evidence of the defendant’s commission of another offense or offenses of domestic violence is admissible, and may be considered for its bearing on any matter to which it is relevant. Effective immediately.

Bill Status of HB5264 97th General Assembly

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Would you like to help fight domestic abuse? Message from Pastor Neil Schori

[EXCERPT]

“I believe that it is time to mobilize our communities to make a real difference for women whom are suffering in silence. In order to do that, we must mobilize. Because of my involvement in the Drew Peterson murder trial, I’ve received a lot of media attention, and I’m using it for good.

My desire is for every church in the country to be a safe place for abused women. In order for that to happen, we must have a plan, and pastors and parishioners must respond appropriately to the plan so that abuse victims get the real assistance they need.

The Evidentiary Affidavit of Abuse was created in response to the disappearance of Stacy Peterson. The goal was to eliminate the “hearsay” that Drew Peterson’s team claimed (unsuccessfully) was not legitimate evidence of Drew’s guilt. I’d love it if all of you would go to http://documenttheabuse.com and read about the Evidentiary Affidavit of Abuse. It will bring offenders to justice more quickly than Drew Peterson. It will also empower women and help them to get back their voices. I’ve used it repeatedly in my own church with incredible results. Not one woman has been killed since we started to use this incredible tool.

My goal is for churches and other concerned members of the community to learn to use this tool, but then to offer temporary safe families for victims of domestic violence. If just 5 families in each church in the nation would step up to this challenge, all 1.3 million victims of abuse would be safe from their attackers.

There are many domestic violence shelters out there that are doing tremendous work. But they need more people to step up and do the same kind of work that they are doing. They aren’t funded well enough to do it all, and they need our help.

Breaking the Silence,

Neil Schori”

Here is an example of an evidentiary abuse affidavit.

If you would like to be a partner in this effort, please contact Neil Schori.

Read a story about Neil’s efforts at the Chicago Tribune

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Drew Peterson is **Hopefully** Not #Untouchable

Thought we’d share this blog post from Neil Schori who was pastor to both Drew and Stacy Peterson.

After watching the movie that is about the exploits of Drew Peterson, I’m ready for people to step up and change this system that rewards the actions of people who do wrong and minimizes the pain of victims.  The Lifetime TV network is supposedly “FOR women.”  If that is true, then I want to see them do something that will be beneficial for real women who are abused.

The only way this will happen is if we rise up and tell them that we want that to happen.  Stop being silent.  Silence is passive acceptance.  We can no longer do that.  It is not acceptable.

I was Stacy Peterson’s pastor.  And today, I’m a domestic violence activist because of her.  Please, join me in making a difference today.  Speak up about this!  Tell everyone you know about this site: documenttheabuse.com.  It is groundbreaking and will help give voices back…

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Pastor Neil Schori weighs in on Drew Peterson: Untouchable

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Pastor Neil Schori talks about Drew Peterson: Untouchable and how it does or doesn’t tell the stories of the victims.

Lots of great articles coming out tonight. Numerous reviews of the movie, comments from Stacy’s sister and State’s Attorney Jim Glasgow, a Drew Peterson coloring contest, and the possibility that Drew Peterson may be watching the film on Saturday night.

As usual attention-hungry lawyer, Joel Brodsky, is feeding the minutia of Drew’s now banal life to Michael Sneed–this time to alert the world that Drew has three (count’em 3!) male pen-pals who send him money for Skittles!

No matter what your stance may be on the film, there should be something to interest you in the comments section.

Also, we added a few photo galleries to the site.

Read the comments and add your own.

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Is There a Recipe for Love?

valentine-transparent

Just in time for Valentine’s Day!

A group has joined together with a lovely project to honor Stacy Peterson and Kathleen Savio and raise money to bolster the efforts of domestic violence organizations. They are putting together a cookbook called “Recipe for Hope”.

This is no plain, ordinary cookbook; but a cookbook with recipes as well as safety tips for women caught in the cycle of abuse. They need your recipes!

If you would like to participate, write out your favorite recipe, add your name (or nickname) and city, if you like, and email it to: recipesforstacy@gmail.com

Or in lieu of a tasty dish, feel free to contribute a recipe of tips for someone who is looking to safely get out of the cycle of abuse! These valuable tips will be included in the cookbook in recipe form…sort of like:

  • 1oz. call mom every day
  • 1C self-defense classes
  • stir in a pinch of caution and don’t let it boil over!

All of the printing costs have been generously donated to this project and proceeds will go to Groundwork at the Guardian Angel Home, in Joliet, Illinois. This is the shelter that received the proceeds from the one-year anniversary walk for Lisa Stebic. Had Kitty or Stacy looked for shelter in their area, this is the place they would have been referred to.