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Authorities say police officer is a suspect in wifes disappearance
Police Officers Wif 5232394
This undated photo provided by the Stacy Peterson family shows Peterson's husband, Drew Peterson, 53, a Bolingbrook, Ill., police officer. Stacy Peterson was reported missing on Oct. 29, and authorities on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2007, still classified the case as a missing person _ not criminal _ investigation. - photo by Associated Press
    JOLIET, Ill. — Kathleen Savio tried to get someone to believe that her life was in danger.
    She told authorities, who charged her with domestic battery instead of her husband Drew Peterson. Savio told her family that if she died, no matter what it looked like, her death would be no accident.
    Now, prosecutors are searching for Peterson’s fourth wife Stacy, calling Peterson, a police officer, a suspect in her potential homicide. And three years after she was lowered into the ground, prosecutors now plan to exhume Savio’s body in the hopes it will give them clues to how she died.
    ‘‘There’s no doubt in my mind it wasn’t an accident,’’ Will County state’s attorney James Glasgow said Friday.
    Glasgow’s petition to exhume Savio’s body argues that the ‘‘evidence is consistent with the staging of an accident to conceal a homicide.’’
    Stacy Peterson, Drew Peterson’s current wife, was last seen Oct. 28 and state Police Capt. Carl Dobrich said Peterson is no longer a person of interest in the disappearance of the 23-year-old but ‘‘clearly’’ a suspect. He said the case is now a potential homicide investigation.
    ‘‘We’re sad, but we needed to move on, and this is something we’ve needed to hear for a long time,’’ said Pamela Bosco, Stacy Peterson’s adoptive stepmother.
    Peterson has said that his wife phoned him and told him she had left him for another man. His attorney, Fred Morelli, did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
    Authorities said that during their initial visit to the Peterson home after Stacy was reported missing, Drew Peterson gave his consent for a search, but limited the number of officers and the area.
    The family of Stacy Peterson, who was studying nursing at a nearby junior college, has said she feared her husband, was making plans to divorce him and would not have willingly left her children, ages 2 and 4.
    A coroner’s jury ruled the 2004 death of Kathleen Savio, Peterson’s third wife, an accident, even though there was no water in the bathtub where the 40-year-old’s body was found face-down, her hair soaked in blood from a head wound. Investigators theorized the water had drained.
    Glasgow said his office has reviewed photographs of the crime scene and autopsy, the autopsy protocol and police reports.
    They determined the blood evidence was not consistent with water slowly leaking out of a tub, that the one-inch gash on the back of Savio’s head was not sufficient to render her unconscious, and that abrasions on her body were not consistent with falling on a smooth surface like a bathtub.
    Glasgow, who took office more than nine months after Savio’s death, also said that indicated Savio had sought a domestic violence complaint against her husband.
    Peterson was never charged, but Savio was twice charged in 2002 with battery and domestic battery, Glasgow said. She was found not guilty both times.
    Jeff Tomczak, the state’s attorney at the time that domestic violence charges were filed against Savio and when she died, did not return a call seeking comment.
    Savio’s niece, Melissa Marie Doman, said family members support the exhumation. She said relatives have long suspected that Savio didn’t drown accidentally.
    ‘‘Something just was never right,’’ said Doman. ‘‘I can’t really say who, but someone did something.’’
    According to court records, Savio had gotten an order of protection in 2002, alleging a pattern of physical abuse and threats. Drew Peterson has denied involvement in his ex-wife’s death.
    Savio’s sister, Susan Savio, told the coroner’s jury that her sister feared Drew Peterson.
    In a transcript of the coroner’s inquest, Susan Savio told the six-person jury that her sister told family members ‘‘if she would die, it may look like an accident, but it wasn’t.’’
    Also on Friday, the Bolingbrook Police Department announced that Peterson has been relieved of duty and placed on suspension without pay pending completion of an internal affairs investigation and hearing.
    ———
    Associated Press Writer Carla K. Johnson in Chicago contributed to this report.

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