State’s attorney: Stebic case ‘on the front burner’
By Janet Lundquist Sun-Times Media September 7, 2012 7:50PM
Sisters (from left) Lisa Stebic, Jamie Bouma and Debbie Ruttenberg smile in 2001 before Lisa disappeared from her Plainfield home. | File photo
Updated: October 10, 2012 6:33AM
Five years ago, two women from Will County were reported missing within six months of each other.
Lisa Stebic, of Plainfield, vanished first, in April 2007. Stacy Peterson, of Bolingbrook, disappeared in October 2007.
On Thursday, Stacy’s husband, Drew Peterson, learned he’s headed to prison for killing his third wife, Kathleen Savio.
State’s Attorney Jim Glasgow said Friday he’s not only pondering charges in Stacy’s disappearance but is also putting the Stebic case “on the front burner.” Glasgow said investigators have “significant evidence” in the Stebic case, and that as soon as the Christopher Vaughn trial ends, his top prosecutors will review it all.
“With the evidence that we would have, you can prosecute a murder case without a body,” Glasgow said Friday. “It’s more difficult, but the longer the person is missing with absolutely no contact, the stronger the case becomes that they’re deceased.”
For Lisa’s family, who have watched a trail of tips gradually go cold, Glasgow’s vow carried a lot of weight.
Melanie Greenberg, a spokeswoman for the family, said Friday they will be gratified to know that Glasgow has made the case a top priority.
“I am so glad of the news of Drew Peterson’s conviction, especially as it brings some closure to Stacy’s family as well as the Savio family,” Greenberg wrote in an email. “Both families have waited years for this day of justice.
“Our family has waited over five years for any signs of justice,” she continued. “In Lisa’s case there has never even been an arrest although there has only been one person of interest: her husband Craig.”
Lisa last was seen about 6 p.m. April 30, 2007, at her Plainfield home, 13244 Red Star Drive. She and her husband were in the midst of a divorce at the time.
Craig has said their children, Zac and Lexi, who were 10 and 12 at the time, had just left on a walk to the store to buy candy and that he was working in the back yard that evening when he thought he heard Lisa leave for a nightly workout.
But Lisa’s car still was parked in the driveway. Her purse and cell phone were gone. Police say there has been no activity on her cell phone or credit cards since.
A neighbor reported Lisa missing the morning of May 1, 2007, when Lisa did not show up for work at the Lincoln Elementary School cafeteria.
Craig’s lawyer, George Lenard, had no comment on Glasgow’s remark Friday. Lenard is defending Vaughn, an Oswego man on trial for killing his wife and three children in 2007.
Lenard has questioned why police have focused on Craig as their sole person of interest.
In April, Plainfield Police Chief John Konopek said Craig remains the only suspect in Lisa’s disappearance, and he strongly believes someone out there knows how Lisa disappeared.
Glasgow said he is not aware of any other suspects, but emphasized that he would not ignore other potential leads.
“We never have blinders on,” he said. “If you get myopic, that’s dangerous, and we don’t do that.”
Hearsay evidence likely would play a significant role in a Stebic prosecution, and a hearing like the Peterson hearsay hearing in 2010 would be held to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that Lisa was killed — enabling her statements to others to be used, Glasgow said.
“Only after her disappearance did the family learn what Lisa had said to friends and neighbors and her concerns for her own safety,” Greenberg said.
Anyone with information on her location or disappearance is asked to call the Plainfield Police Department at (815) 267-7217 or Will County Crime Stoppers at (800) 323-6734.
For more information, visit www.findlisastebic.net.