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updated 12/17/2008 1:00:06 PM ET 2008-12-17T18:00:06

Drew Peterson, the retired Illinois police sergeant who gained national attention after he was suspected in his third wife's disappearance, is engaged to be married again, his publicist said Wednesday.

Peterson's publicist Glenn Selig confirmed the engagement to a 23-year-old woman to NBC's Chicago affiliate, WMAQ, after it was first reported by CBS News. The woman's name was not revealed for privacy reasons.

Selig said that the 54-year-old Peterson made this decision to remarry because he wanted to be happy and was trying to move forward with his life.

Peterson confirmed that the woman accepted, despite the fact he's also a suspect in the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, and implicated in the disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, to whom he is still married.

"Yes, we've been dating four months," Peterson said.

Selig wouldn't give any details about Peterson's new fiance and Peterson wouldn't comment, either. 

The engagement continues his pattern of courting women less than half his age and proposing while still married, CBS reported.

Peterson also admitted to rumors that he dated various women in the last few months since Stacy disappeared Oct. 28, 2007. That remains an open case and under investigation by the Illinois State Police and the Will County State's Attorney Office.

Peterson, retired last year from the Bolingbrook, Ill., Police Department as a sergeant after 29 years of service. The retirement followed shortly after Stacy Peterson disappeared, and Peterson reportedly collects a $5,800 monthly pension.

Peterson claims Stacy Peterson left him for another man.

Four wives
He has been married four times. His first wife, Carol Brown, divorced him in 1980 after six years of marriage partly because he was unfaithful. His second marriage, to Vicki Connolly, ended after 10 years. Connolly later told reporters that he had physically abused her during the marriage.

His next wife was Kathleen Savio, with whom he had two sons, now in their mid-teens. The union began to disintegrate in 2002, when Savio said that her husband took up with the 17-year-old girl who would become his fourth wife, Stacy Cales.

During a two-year period at the end of the marriage to Savio, police were called to the home 18 times because of domestic disturbances, and in 2002 Savio got an order of protection against her husband, charging him with threatening to kill her and physical abuse. No formal charges were ever brought against him.

He and Savio were in the process of finalizing their divorce in 2004 when she was found dead in a bathtub in her home. The tub was dry and there was clotted blood on the back of Savio’s head, but medical examiners ruled that she had fallen accidentally, with the tub draining itself after her death. She was 40 years old.

NBC News, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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