More than 40 volunteers turned out Saturday to look for signs of missing Bolingbrook mother Stacy Peterson in the first family-led search this spring.
More than 40 volunteers turned out Saturday to look for signs of missing Bolingbrook mother Stacy Peterson in the first family-led search of Spring.
Searchers spent more than eight hours combing wooded areas and open fields near the Illinois and Michigan Canal in Joliet. Although the search didn’t turn up anything groundbreaking, lead organizer Roy Taylor said the group will continue to meet every weekend until weather stops them.
“As long as it takes, that's our new motto,” Taylor said. “As long as it takes, we will find Stacy.”
Volunteers from across the Chicago area gathered at 9:30 a.m. in the Bolingbrook Recreation and Aquatic Center for a short training on safety and search tips, led by Mike Muto, director of the village of Lyons Emergency Management Agency.
The training was the first in a series of efforts the group is taking to make searches run more efficiently. All volunteers will be required to take the training course and to register before going out to the field.
After a full day of searching Saturday, search spokesman Shawn Michael said the first training appeared to have benefited the group.
“It definitely paid off,” Michael said “It was a lot easier to get people signed in and out in the field. They had more knowledge, especially when we were giving them directions in the field.”
The team searched a small area near the Illinois and Michigan Canal, about two miles east of Interstate 55 and just south of Interstate 80 in Joliet. Organizers said information from the FBI, Illinois State Police and a tip line all pointed them to this location.
The team called off searches at about 6:30 p.m., after more than eight hours of scouring the area. Michael said organizers are confident the area was searched thoroughly enough to be marked off the list.
“There were a couple items of interest that we bagged for the Illinois State Police that we felt they should look at; nothing groundbreaking just some items of interest,” Michael said.
Search crews will gather again at 9 a.m. today at the Bolingbrook Recreation and Aquatic Center, 200 Lindsey Lane, before going to another undisclosed location.
Volunteers are also in process of planning another fundraiser May 10 at Ditka’s Sports Dome in Bolingbrook. The group’s last fund raiser, held March 2 in Merrionette Park, generated more than $11,000. Proceeds will go toward continued search efforts, which can cost up to $1,000 per day, said Stacy Peterson’s neighbor and close friend Sharon Bychowski.
“The primary objective, of course, is to find Stacy, but doing so costs a lot money for fuel, airplanes and boats,” Bychowski said.
Stacy Peterson, the fourth wife of former Bolingbrook Police Sgt. Drew Peterson, was last heard from Oct. 28 when she failed to meet a friend to help paint a house. Her husband has been named a suspect in her disappearance, which police are calling a possible homicide.
Stacy Peterson’s disappearance also prompted investigators to revisit the March 2004 drowning of Drew Peterson’s third wife, Kathleen Savio. He has denied any wrongdoing in either case and has not been charged with a crime.
Drew Peterson has said Stacy called him at 9 p.m. Oct. 29 to tell him she was leaving him for another man, a claim her family has denounced.
"(Drew Peterson) believes my sister left, which isn't possible. She wouldn't leave me, she wouldn't leave her kids," Stacy's sister, Cassandra Cales, said. "Police have already looked into that. There's no way she left the country."
Danya Hooker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org