It’s been 15 years since the of the death of Kathleen Savio, the third wife of former Bolingbrook, Illinois police sergeant Drew Peterson. Savio, who was newly divorced from Peterson at the time of her death, drowned in her bathtub on March 1, 2004. At the time of Savio’s death, Peterson had already remarried. He had started dating his fourth wife, Stacy, when she was just 16 years old, during his unfaithful marriage to Savio.
At first, Savio’s bathtub death was ruled an accident, despite the fact that her body bore extensive bruising, as well as gashes on her head. But in 2017 her body was exhumed and in 2009, Drew Peterson was indicted for her death. He was convicted of Savio’s murder in 2012.
In addition to being sentenced to 38 years in prison for killing Savio, Peterson received another 40 years for attempting to take out a hit on Will County State Attorney Jim Glasgow. But the former cop leaves behind many unanswered questions, especially when it comes to the disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy, who vanished on October 28, 2007. It was her disappearance that led investigators to revisit Savio’s murder.
Stacy Peterson is Still Missing
Stacy Peterson’s body has never been found, but she is presumed dead. Drew was never charged, though over the years many people, including high-profile prosecutor Marcia Clark, have speculated that he killed her.
[Watch Marcia Clark Investigates: The First 48: Drew Peterson on A&E Crime Central.]
Why? Peterson was allegedly highly controlling and abusive with Stacy, as he was with his other wives, including Savio. Stacy reportedly feared him, and had been planning to tell him she wanted to separate shortly before she disappeared. Plus, Stacy knew a little too much about Savio’s death; namely, she knew her husband wasn’t at their home at the time it happened—and he had, reportedly, coached Stacy to give a false alibi stating that he was home.
One trial witness, Rev. Neil Schori, Stacy Peterson’s pastor, testified that before she went missing, Stacy told him, “I live with a murderer.”
In an April 2018 episode of A&E’s Grace vs. Abrams, Nancy Grace and Dan Abrams interviewed Drew Peterson’s former lawyer, Joel Brodsky, who claims he knows exactly what happened to Stacy Peterson. Unfortunately, he refuses to offer details, claiming attorney-client privilege, and Drew himself isn’t talking.
So, what did happen to Stacy Peterson?
Did Stacy Peterson Leave Drew for Another Man?
Stacy Peterson, then 23 years old, disappeared on October 28, 2007 after failing to show up at her sister’s home to help her paint. Drew Peterson said he’d spoken with her that night, claiming she’d told him she was leaving him for another man. “I’m not trying to be funny here, but Stacy Peterson would ask me for a divorce…on a regular basis, and it was based on her menstrual cycle,” Drew Peterson said during an interview on The Today Show.
[Watch Cellmate Secrets: Drew Peterson on Lifetime.]
Though other people in Stacy’s life knew she was afraid of her husband—before she went missing, she told friends she wanted out of the marriage and expressed fear that Drew would kill her—they don’t believe she would have voluntarily left without her young children.
“When Stacy’s sister, Cassandra Cales, filed the missing-person’s report, the reasons for Stacy’s disappearance were unknown… It did not make sense that Stacy would leave her young children with her husband from whom she was growing apart,” writes Carl J. Dobrich, a former captain with the Illinois State Police who worked on the search for Stacy.
Stacy had been married to Drew for three years by then, and her husband’s alleged abusive behavior had grown worse and worse over the years. When asked about rumors that he’d been controlling with his four wives, Drew admitted his behavior on The Today Show, “I controlled my family,” said Drew. “I think more people in America should control their family.” (His second wife also claimed he physically abused her during their marriage, and during one brutal two-year period in his marriage to Savio, police were called to the home 18 times due to domestic disturbances.)
Did Drew Murder Stacy Peterson, Too?
Stacy’s sister, Cassandra Cales, has always believed Drew killed her—and Cales has even told news outlets she knows where her sister’s remains are located.
In March 2018, Cales launched a GoFundMe campaign seeking financial help with her ongoing search for Stacy’s remains. “On October 28th, 2007 my life changed forever when I couldn’t get a hold of my sister, Stacy Peterson, and my gut instinct told me that Drew Peterson (her husband) had murdered her,” Cales wrote on the fundraiser. She also claimed that Stacy had told her, two nights before she vanished, “…If anything happened to her drew did something to her and to find her” [sic].
Cales also alleges on the GoFundMe page, “Drew Peterson disposed of my sister’s body on the evening of October 28th, 2007, in the Sanitary and Shipping [sic] Canal…. I have sonar images of her lifeless body on the bottom of the riverbed, which I will never release.”
Drew Peterson’s son Stephen also believes his father had something to do with her death, telling the Chicago Tribune in 2017, “I don’t want to come out and say he did it…but, I’m sure he did it.” He also told the paper Stacy had seemed afraid of her husband after Savio’s death, but that he hadn’t noticed it at the time. “You kind of look back and think, maybe she did know something, or maybe something did happen, but at the time we never thought twice about it,” Stephen said.
Why Hasn’t Drew Peterson Been Charged?
Drew Peterson was named a suspect in Stacy’s disappearance years ago, but as of the date of this article, he has yet to be officially charged.
In 2013, prosecutors stated they were close to filing murder charges, even though they didn’t have a body. When asked for comment in March 2018 about possibly charging Peterson, Charles Pelkie, a spokesperson for Glasgow told the Chicago Tribune the State’s Attorney has consistently maintained “he is looking at this case with an eye toward charging it” and that local authorities have “pursued every credible lead.”
But even if that doesn’t happen, we may eventually find out what really happened to Stacy Peterson. When Brodsky was pushed on Grace vs. Abrams about releasing the information he claims to know about Stacy’s whereabouts, the attorney said he would release it—once Drew Peterson, now 65 years old, dies.
What Drew Peterson’s Exes Have Revealed About Stacy Peterson
On a June 11, 2021 episode of Lifetime’s Cellmate Secrets, two women who had relationships with Drew Peterson, before and after he went to prison for Savio’s murder, said they are convinced he murdered Stacy Peterson.
Nicole Speakerman said Drew had a dark sense of humor and was very controlling, insecure and jealous. One time, after Speakerman had to get work done on a tooth, she said Drew told her, “Stacey had nice teeth.” “I was like, had? What do you mean?” she said.
And after not visiting Drew behind bars for two weeks, Speakerman said once she did visit, Drew was so visibly angry–clenching his hands together and jerking his head–that she feared what would have happened to her had he not already been in custody. “I don’t know what he would have done,” Speakerman said.
Christina Raines, Drew’s ex-fiance, claims all of Stacy’s belongings were still at her home, leading her to believe that she didn’t just up and leave. “Stuff that you would take with you if you were leaving,” Raines said. “Her whole wardrobe, prescriptions, her cellphone, everything was there.”
Raines also said that Drew admitted to her that Stacy was his alibi for killing Savio and Stacy knew it, too.
Raines even revealed how she believed Drew murdered Stacey. “[Drew] put her in a chokehold,” Raines said. “He actually tried to show me the trick, how to snap someone’s neck within seconds. …That’s exactly what he did to her.”