Coroner: ‘Exotic’ toxicology tests on Savio delay autopsy report

Don Grigas

The results of toxicology tests being done on the body of Kathleen Savio are taking longer than normal because of the complexity of requested tests.

“Following the autopsy conducted Nov. 13 on Kathleen Savio by independent pathologist Dr. Larry Blum, toxicology testing was requested on various samples,” said Patrick O’Neil, Will County coroner.

About a month later, O’Neil said, Blum requested additional toxicology testing that O’Neil said were “exotic” and “very complicated.”

The complexity of the testing, coupled with the December request, has pushed back the anticipated release of the full autopsy report, he said.

O’Neil did not release the specifics of the second toxicology request other than to say “the tests were for some pretty exotic things, things I probably can’t even spell or pronounce.”

Usually results from toxicology tests can take between two and five weeks, O’Neil said.

Savio, the former wife of Drew Peterson, was found dead face down in a bathtub in her Bolingbrook home on March 1, 2004. A six-person coroner’s jury listed the cause of death as accidental drowning.

However, following the Oct. 28 disappearance of Drew Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, the Will County state’s attorney’s office began re-examining the circumstances surrounding Savio’s death.

Savio’s body was exhumed Nov. 12 and an independent autopsy commissioned by the Will County coroner’s office was performed Nov. 13.

At that time, O’Neil said, Blum requested a battery of toxicology tests be done using tissue samples taken from Savio’s body.

The additional tests being done are more complicated than standard toxicology tests that use blood, urine, bile, and brain and liver tissue.

Once the toxicology tests are received by the coroner’s office, they will be turned over the state’s attorney, O’Neil said.

Drew Peterson has denied any involvement in the death of Savio and the disappearance of Stacy Peterson.

Investigators said Drew Peterson, a former Bolingbrook police officer, is a suspect in the disappearance of Stacy Peterson.

James Glasgow, Will County state’s attorney, said in November a review of the Savio death led investigators to re-open the case.

Glasgow said Savio’s death, which occurred following her divorce from Drew Peterson and in the house the couple once shared, looked like it might have been staged to look like an accident.

Savio was found dead, face down in an empty bath tub with a laceration on the back of her head.

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