Missing Woman 'Feared for her Life,' Sister Says

Family insider fears "foul play" in disappearance of Stacy Peterson.

February 18, 2009, 10:55 PM

Nov. 4, 2007 — -- Friends and family scoured forests near a Chicago suburb this weekend in the hopes of finding clues about the fate of 23-year-old Stacy Peterson, a mother of two who disappeared from her home nearly a week ago.

About 40 people gathered to look for the missing woman Saturday morning, said her younger sister, Cassandra Cales. By early afternoon, the search had turned up nothing, but volunteers vowed to continue their hunt Sunday.

"Everybody is looking for her," Cales told ABC News. "She's a very loved girl, and she wouldn't just disappear like that."

"We've got search teams coming from around the world to help," she added. "We're just gonna go back at it [Sunday]."

Stacy Peterson vanished from her house in Bolingbrook, Ill., last Sunday. Her family members say they grew concerned when she was supposed to meet her sister to help paint a house, but never showed up.

Suspicion has since mounted that the missing woman's husband, Drew Peterson, 53, a sergeant at the local police department, may have played a role in his wife's disappearance.

"She told me Friday night, 'If anything happens to me, I fear for my life,'" said Cales, who described her sister's marriage as abusive and said Stacey was considering divorce.

Cales said she filed a missing person's report as soon as she realized her sister wasn't returning her calls.

"I didn't sleep," she told ABC News of the day her sister disappeared. "I still haven't slept."

But Drew Peterson insists he had nothing to do with his wife disappearance, and has suggested she left him for another man.

"I miss her," Peterson told reporters from the doorstep of his home Thursday. Peterson has said his wife suffered from "mood issues" since one of her sisters died from colon cancer last year.

The couple's two young children, Lacy, 2 and Anthony, 4, are staying with neighbors, according to family members.

Stacy Peterson's marriage to Drew Peterson was her first, but it was his fourth. His third wife, Kathleen Savio, drowned in a bathtub in 2004, in a death that was ruled accidental.

Before she died, Savio had filed an order of protection against her ex-husband, which read in part, "He wants me dead, and if he has to, he will burn the house down to shut me up."

In light of recent events, prosecutors have reopened the investigation into Savio's death.

"The current situation has prompted the state attorney to take another look at that case," Charles Pelkie, a spokesman for the Will County state attorney's office, told ABC News. "He is looking at it with fresh eyes and an open mind."

Authorities searched the couple's home Thursday and have sent divers and cadaver dogs to investigate a nearby pond, but "no body was found," according to a spokesman for the Illinois State Police.

The spokesman wouldn't comment on any other findings, but emphasized Stacy Peterson's disappearance is still considered a missing person's case, and not a homicide. He said Drew Peterson has been cooperative with the police's investigation.

Drew Peterson has said he wants the attention to be on Stacy, and not on him.

"I won't be able to go anywhere and show my face anywhere without people pointing," he told reporters earlier this week.

Stacy's friends seem pessimistic the young woman will be found alive.

"I do think there was foul play," family insider Anthony Laatz told ABC News. "Stacy wouldn't just disappear and not call Cassandra. They were very close. They talked all the time."

Laatz said he hoped Sunday's search would yield information as to Stacy's location.

"That's why we're searching, to find something that will lead us to Stacy," Laatz said. "A piece of clothing, anything that will give us a clue about her whereabouts."

Cassandra Cales herself says she still hopes for more.

"I hope to find her," she said. "Right now, I'm trying to find my sister."

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