Peterson Friend: "Really Sad" Someone Would Steal Memorial

Plaque and tree were stolen on second anniversary of Stacy Peterson's disappearance

By BJ Lutz and Dick Johnson
|  Thursday, Oct 29, 2009  |  Updated 6:21 PM CDT
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The Drama of Drew

NBCChicago.com

Friends placed a tree and plaque near a statue of children at play, meaning to serve as a constant reminder that Stacy Peterson did not vanish on her own.

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You stole a dead woman's memorial plaque? Really? Really?

On the second anniversary of Stacy Peterson's disappearance, an unidentified person has apparently stolen the memorial plaque and tree that was planted in her honor.

"It's just really sad that someone would do that, said Suz Elder, a friend of Peterson's, with a quiver in her voice. "I just really hope it was someone who just thought it would be funny and not someone doing it out of malicious intent."

Elder and other members of the Westbrook Christian Church helped select the location near the Bolingbrook Aquatic Center where the memorial was placed. It was near a statue of children at play, meant to serve as a constant reminder that Stacy did not vanish on her own.

"She was just -- really, really loved her children," said Elder, who works for the Bolingbrook Park District.

Stacy Peterson was reported missing on Oct. 29, 2007. Her husband, former Bolingbrook police Sgt. Drew Peterson, has been named as a suspect in her disappearance and is currently being held in the Will County Jail on charges that he killed his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

Drew Peterson contends that Stacy left him for another man.

"Going off on her own and leaving her children, that is just not in the realm of possibility. That is something she would not have done," Elder said, adding that she long feared for Stacy Peterson's safety even prior to the disappearance.

"She had expressed that Drew was controlling," Elder said. "From the day I met her, I just knew that it wasn't a balanced relationship."

Hearing news of the stolen memorial while answering questions after a scheduled court appearance to determine the admissibility of hearsay evidence, Drew Peterson's legal team quickly deflected any responsibility.

"We have an alibi," Attorney Joel Brodsky said

"I don't want to, in any way, shape or form, depreciate the pain that Stacy's family is going through in having somebody missing, and it's unfortunate that someone would -- that a vandal would do that," he said.

Peterson's former employer, the Bolingbrook Police Department, is investigating the theft.  The park district said a new tree will be planted by this weekend and a new plaque has already been ordered.

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