Thursday, November 15, 2007

Forensics Casebook I: Kathleen Savio, Stacy Peterson, the Chicago Cop & Fox's Greta Van Susteren

It's time to take an analytical look at all the components of the case involving former police Sgt. Drew Peterson, whose third wife mysteriously turned up drowned in a dry bathtub, whose fourth wife is missing, and whose second wife is still afraid of him.

This case has been a poster child for the merging of media and investigation. As a long-time journalist and a former security expert, I've been taking a look at the various elements of the coverage of this compelling story.

Unequivocally, the best, fairest, and most consistent coverage has been provided by Fox News' Greta Van Susteren. Her transparent coverage, including her podcasts and her blog, have been a model of how to incisively and competently conduct journalistic business while maintaining a human approach.

Obviously, there's a lot going on in this case. So we're going to look at it in terms of a broad-based forensics, from physical to psychological to sociological. The commentary will necessarily be graphic in some parts, when the autopsy of Peterson's third wife, Kathleen Savio (who left Peterson a millionaire-plus) is discussed.

We'll also take a look at Peterson's actions, his comments about Stacy Peterson, the missing fourth wife, his body language, and his statements during Matt Lauer's good interview with Peterson on the Today show.

I'll be using the LSI Scan technique, pioneered by international expert Avinoam Sapir. The website describes the technique like this:
"....the most effective technique available for obtaining information and detecting deception from statements of witnesses or suspects."

I was privileged to be included in the LSI Scan basic class, and am now enrolled in the advanced class. Sapir has, indeed, developed a technique for analyzing statements that is crisp, scientific, and wholly reliable.

During the interview with Lauer, Peterson made what I believe to be the most significant statement he has yet made. That single statement sums up the fates of both wives.

Caveat: Neither LSI Scan nor Sapir are involved in my commentary. This is simply my use of the technique.

The Peterson cases, which have brought so many tears to so many, actually revolves around water. Kathleen Savio was determined to have drowned, and her first autopsy noted that her hair was wet (yes, there was blood there too)--and her fingers were wrinkled, according to many reports. If her fingers were wrinkled, then at some point she had been submerged in water--in a dry bathtub.

Now to fourth wife Stacy Peterson,.The first place the cops went looking: a small retention pond near the Peterson home. The second place they went looking? Water again.

How did Savio's fingers get wrinkled? And what led police to start their search for Stacy with water?

We'll have more to say about that. Consider this an exercise in "citizen forensics," as we look at the case of the Chicago Cop and the mysteries surrounding his wives. Are we looking at a modern-day Bluebeard hidden behind a blue uniform?

That's the question, I think, that America is waiting to have answered.

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