TMZ broke the story Friday night that authorities in Illinois may have gotten the lead they need to find the remains of Drew Peterson’s wife, Stacy Peterson, who has been missing since October 26, 2007. TMZ’s sources said that Illinois law enforcement were set to search for the the remains Saturday. By Saturday, however, the Chicago Sun-Times was reporting that TMZ’s sources may have gotten a few things wrong. Regardless, Illinois State Police confirmed that they were indeed searching for remains in Peoria County, although they would not divulge information about which particular case might be involved, nor would they confirm or deny from where the lead originated. The Illinois State Police also confirmed that the investigation team looking into the disappearance and possible murder of Stacy Peterson was at the scene.
Peoria County Coroner Johanna Ingersoll also confirmed that a search was underway, but refused to give details other than to say that no remains had been found as of 10 a.m. Saturday.
TMZ reported that their source(s), which were described as being members of law enforcement, said that an inmate disclosed that he had had a conversation with Drew Peterson and that Peterson had said he had an accomplice when he disposed of Stacy Peterson’s body. The inmate told authorities who the accomplice was and, again according to the sources, the accomplice was taken to the area where the body was supposedly buried in a drum. TMZ also reported that a cursory search of the area using dogs and prongs inserted into the ground had produced a solid mass in the search area. Authorities would dig in the suspected area Saturday.
Drew Peterson’s lawyer, Joel Brodsky, said that TMZ’s claims were “ridiculous.” The TMZ report noted that the new lead came from an inmate where Drew Peterson is currently held on charges of murder. Brodsky said, “Drew is in isolation. He doesn’t have any contact with other prisoners.”
The Sun-Times cites a spokesperson for Stacy Peterson’s family who also noted that there were inaccuracies in TMZ’s report, although no specific examples were given. The spokesperson, Pam Bosco, said that the family “seemed to be very positive” and were “very hopeful.”
Despite Brodsky’s protestations, if TMZ’s source happens to be correct, it is not known when the information that became the lead was disclosed by Peterson (or if the source of the lead was somehow involved, which would give them first-hand knowledge). Simply because the lead surfaced recently does not mean that an inmate at the Will County jail did not divulge the information or that it is false. Drew Peterson has been kept in isolation in the medical wing of the jail since his arrest for the suspected murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, in May 2009. If the inmate became privy to information about Stacy Peterson’s disappearance and/or death, Drew Peterson, who has been suspected in his wife’s missing person case almost from the beginning, had nearly a year and a half to somehow allow that person to become aware of the information.
And TMZ’s source could have lied about their inmate source. Still, the gist of the TMZ report remains true. Illinois State Police are searching for remains. Stacy Peterson’s investigation team is on the scene. It is indeed possible that the lead that sent authorities searching in that area is germane to the Stacy Peterson case.
Drew Peterson, an ex-Bolingbrook (lllinois) police sergeant, is scheduled to go on trial in July for the murder of Kathleen Savio, who drowned in 2004. After Stacy Peterson’s disappearance, authorities became suspicious about the drowning death of Savio and had her body exhumed and re-examined. Findings during the second autopsy contradicted the determination of the first, and Savio’s death was determined a homicide. Drew Peterson was arrested and charged with her murder.
Joel Brodsky maintains the innocence of his client. “The current report about Stacy Peterson,” he told the Sun-Times, “is just another in a long line of baseless allegations against Drew Peterson. Ever since Stacy disappeared there have been numerous rumors, gossip and reports about Drew. The one thing these reports have in common is that they always prove to be false, and there are never any facts or evidence to back them up.
“There has never been one single factual piece of evidence regarding either Stacy’s disappearance or death of Kathleen Savio that shows Drew is guilty of any wrongdoing,”
The latter is for a jury to determine in July. The former seems to hold true thus far.