Police Suspend Search For Stacy Peterson

Tip led investigators to area outside Peoria

By Anthony Ponce and Marcus Riley
|  Saturday, Jun 5, 2010  |  Updated 6:48 PM CDT
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A Illinois State Police investigators to an area outside Peoria." />

A "credible lead" takes Illinois State Police investigators to an area outside Peoria.

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Investigators wrapped up a day of digging Saturday after receiving a "credible lead" in the disappearance and possible homicide of Stacy Peterson.

Illinois State Police with the help of a local anthropological team were searching since daybreak in a rural area outside Peoria where Stacy's body was believed to have been buried. Officials planned to return later in the week with more "sophisticated equipment." 

According to TMZ.com, Drew Peterson, who is currently behind bars charged in the murder of his third wife Kathleen Savio, told a fellow inmate how he killed Stacy, stuffed her body in a metal drum, and buried it on private hunting grounds with help of an accomplice.

Police dogs reportedly led officers to a spot on the hunting grounds Friday, and prongs placed in the ground hit a mass believed to be the metal drum containing Stacy's body, a source close to the investigation reported told TMZ.

"Right now we're not saying much about the lead. Everyone's asking us if it's credible. Is it credible? Well, we're here," ISP Sget. TJ Burek said. "I think some people have stated that we're close to a body and that's not something we've stated and I don't want to give you the misinterpretation that that's the case."

Stacy Peterson was Drew's fourth wife. She disappeared in late 2007.

Peterson's lawyer, Joel Brodsky told NBC 5 that his client couldn't have confided in a fellow inmate because he is isolated from the rest of the prison population and can't talk to other inmates.

"He says he would only wish that they would give him a cell mate to talk to. He's been in isolation now for close to 13 months and it's wearing on him," Brodsky said, while also questioning the credibility of TMZ.com.

Meanwhile, Stacy Peterson's family and friends were monitoring the situation closely.

"It's very emotional. I'm hoping at the very least that if it is Stacy it will help bring some closure for the family," family friend Jamie Holt said.

Peterson faces murder charges and is scheduled to stand trial next month in the 2004 drowning death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, which was initially ruled accidental. The Savio case was reopened after Stacy Peterson disappeared.

 

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