Friday, November 2, 2007

Missing Woman Case: True Crimes, A Chicago Cop & The Media

The increasingly bizarre story of a cop's missing wife continues as Stacy Peterson's sister tells Greta Van Susteren that Stacy feared her husband would kill her. Meanwhile, police used cadaver dogs to search a pond near Chicago's Clow Airport and removed guns from Sgt. Drew Peterson's home.

Missing Woman Case: The True Crimes of Bad Journalism turned the spotlight on the disappearance of young Stacy Peterson, Stacy, who's now 23, is the 53-year-old Peterson's fourth wife. His third, Kathleen Savio, drowned in a mysterious bathtub accident after Peterson became involved with Stacy, who was then 17.

Fox News has stepped up to the plate, deploying Van Susteren to the scene. Her exclusive interview with Stacy's sister, Cassandra Cales, revealed a tangled web of strange actions and comments by Peterson as Stacy's family launched a search for her.

Former Los Angeles detective Mark Furhman is also on the scene with Van Susteran. Furhman, who took a career and personal beating during the O.J. Simpson murder case, has rightfully had his public credibility boosted since O.J.'s recent Las Vegas arrest in an armed robbery case. He's now an author, radio talk show host, and analyst/commentator on crime cases.

Their interview with Cales revealed several key components, including a fight between the couple just before Stacy disappeared, and a strange late night shuffling of the family cars. Peterson, was seen watching police activities wearing a mask made from an American flag bandana, dark sunglasses,and a dark cap pulled over his forehead.

Peterson, who was giving "abandoned husband and father" type media interviews, at the same time insisted that he doesn't want to be photographed, citing privacy concerns. If you think that's inconsistent, listen to what Cales related in Van Susteran's interview. Peterson earlier said that his wife left him for another man, that she has psychiatric problems, and that she had planned to disappear "deep down" like her mother. Stacy's mother disappeared eight years ago; that case has not yet been solved.

The Chicago Tribune, recovering from the sob sister account of Peterson's reaction to his missing wife, followed the money. Peterson received close to two million dollars in insurance policies and funds from the sale of joint properties after this third wife, Kathleen Savio, died in a mysterious bathtub accident.

Stavio's life insurance paid one million dollars to the couple's sons, who lived with Peterson and Stacy while Peterson, as guardian, controlled those funds. Investigators have reopened that case.

Also curious: Stacy disappeared at a time when media coverage of the disappearance of two other young Chicago-area women was at an all-time high. With Peterson saying that Stacy left him and her children, would those disappearances have provided an additional cover for any potential discovery of another body? This case has multiple possibilities and twists, but one overwhelming reality: Stacy Peterson is missing, and her family is terrified of what the police might find.

The Illinois State Police has opened a Tip Line at 1-815-726-6377.

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