Drew Peterson's questionable response
Suspected ex-cop speaks out
Nov. 14: With his third wife dead and his fourth wife missing, ex-cop Drew Peterson speaks to NBC. Dan Abrams dissects Drew Peterson’s words with attorneys Geoffrey Fieger and Pam Bondi, profiler Clint Van Zandt and Stacy Peterson’s uncle Kyle Toutges.
Exclusive: Peterson talks to TODAY
Nov. 14: In an exclusive interview, former Illinois Police Sgt. Drew Peterson talks with TODAY's Matt Lauer about the investigation into the disappearance of his wife.
Looking into the Kathleen Savio case
Peterson indicated he didn’t initially go into Kathleen Savio's home on the day she was found dead, fearing she would accuse him of stealing something. Yet, he was there with a neighbor and friend of Savio’s who could have vouched for his presence in his former home.
In fact, it appears to be a neighbor’s persistence that finally got a locksmith on scene to open the locked door to Savio’s home, affording the neighbor access to the home, and unfortunately, to Savio’s dead body in an empty upstairs bath tub.
Although her death was originally ruled accidental, the very agencies that either made or accepted that finding have now seen the light and have caused her body to be exhumed for reexamination.
It now appears that the local police department, the one employing Sgt. Peterson, the Illinois State Police, the local coroner and his coroner’s jury, and the local prosecutor, all missed the chance to conduct a thorough investigation at the time of Savio’s death. All four agencies had a chance to raise a voice in behalf of Savio but let her and her family down.
Why wasn’t Sgt Peterson leading the charge, demanding a more thorough investigating, refusing to accept that Kathy (with no drugs or alcohol in her system) could still slip and drown in her own small tub?
If sufficient soft tissue is found on the deceased’s body to allow tissue examination of the eight or more bruises documented at the time of her death, as well as the one inch gash in her head, and should X-rays revealed any broken bones or evidence of strangulation — or any other sign of death by murder be uncovered — then investigators will have their hands full. Should Savio’s death now be ruled either questionable or a homicide, the “who did it” must be answered. Remember that Savio and Peterson were married and lived in the same home in which Savio died. Any physical evidence linking Sgt. Peterson to Savior or the home could be explained by transfer.
A timeline for Savio and Peterson, some three years later, will need be established for both the deceased and her former husband. Who last saw Savio alive other than Sgt. Peterson? How can his activities be accounted for directly before and after her believed time of death?
Could CSI create a story where the emersion of a dead body in a tub full of either hot or cold water skew the expert opinion on her believed time of death, something that could give a potential killer time to establish an alibi? Determining cause of death is one thing, determining who was responsible for a death is something entirely different. Perhaps the triangulation of their respective cell phones may shed some light on this case.
Peterson plays the victim
Nov. 15: Dan Abrams looks back at interviews by now-convicted murderers, including Scott Peterson, Susan Smith and Mark Hacking, and discusses suspect Drew Peterson’s interview with Clint Van Zandt, Bill Stanton, Daniel Horowitz and Monica Lindstrom.
Peterson claims both wives number 3 and 4 were from abusive families, both were plagued with emotional problems, and both dealt with personal depression. Both also eventually decided they wanted a divorce from Peterson, something Peterson says Stacy demanded from him on numerous occasions prior to her disappearance.
Peterson indicated to challenge the investigation and the media attention, suggesting that he was the center of attention both because he was the husband, the so-called "logical suspect" in such investigations. He sort of suggests he was being targeted and set up as the scape goat for the departments that had failed to solve this case to date.
Peterson has spend far more time suggesting his victim status than actually helping to look for his missing wife. In fact, he has spent zero time looking for Stacy, something he explains as due to the media attention directed at him and his knowledge that she ran off with some unknown, mysterious man.
He complained to Geraldo Rivera that he had lost 25 pounds since Stacy disappeared, and later said that Geraldo had put words in his mouth that were not true. One wonders how a veteran of almost 30 years as a police officer could so quickly forget that he really did have a right to remain silent? His favorite topic was himself and issues concerning his past two wives did not seem to overly concern him. “She was where she wanted to be…”
The effect of his TV appearance
But why would Peterson come on national television to undergo questioning by Matt Lauer concerning the death and disappearances of two of his four wives? Peterson did use the interview to make a plea for free legal support, indicating that his defense (but he’s not been charged with anything to date) could cost him a half-million dollars.
Peterson, who has submitted a letter of resignation to his police department, is, after all, a suspect if he refuses to talk and a liar if he does. If he thought his appearance on Today would help to humanize him, he was apparently wrong. I can see dozens of cops watching the interview, all becoming even more convinced about their need to do a thorough investigation in both matters revolving the current and past women in Peterson’s life. There may be other girlfriends like Stacy originally was to him. We need to find them and get their stories and more insight into the former police watch captain.
All about evidence
Many have formed an opinion concerning Peterson’s potential involvement in Savio’s death and his possible role in Stacy’s disappearance without a shred of known physical evidence to support their belief. Now we are left with a questionable death, one that Peterson had much to gain from, and a mysterious disappearance, again one that he stood to gain from.
Whether investigators can link him to Savio’s death and/or Stacy’s disappearance is yet to be determined. You can believe what you wish concerning now-former Sgt. Drew Peterson, but probable cause, much less proof beyond a reasonable doubt, are still just as elusive as Savio’s true cause of death and Stacy’s whereabouts.
The one person many believe to have the answers in both of these cases, the man closest to the two victims, has professed his innocence while claiming the hormone defense. Time will tell if that defense ever gets off the ground or not.
Clint Van Zandt is a former FBI agent, behavioral profiler and hostage negotiator as well as an MSNBC analyst. His web site, www.LiveSecure.org provides readers with security-related information.
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