The body of a suburban Chicago police officer’s former wife was exhumed Tuesday amid an investigation into the disappearance of the officer’s current wife.
A crane was used to hoist Kathleen Savio’s casket from a plot at the Queen of Heaven Catholic Cemetery west of Chicago. Authorities were at the scene supervising, said Charles Pelkie, spokesman for the Will County prosecutor’s office.
Savio, who was found dead in her bathtub in 2004, was the third wife of Bolingbrook Police Sgt. Drew Peterson. State’s Attorney James Glasgow has said evidence suggests that someone killed Savio and tried to make it look like an accident.
An afternoon autopsy was planned, but results were not expected for days.
Investigators reopened the case into her death after Stacy Peterson, Peterson’s fourth wife, disappeared last month. Authorities are hoping Savio’s exhumed body can offer clues to how she died.
A coroner’s jury ruled Savio’s death an accident, even though there was no water in the bathtub where the 40-year-old’s body was found face-down, her hair soaked in blood from a head wound. Investigators theorized the water had drained.
'One-inch gash' in head cited
According to court records, Savio had gotten an order of protection in 2002, alleging a pattern of physical abuse and threats by Peterson.
In a petition filed Friday listing the reasons authorities want to exhume Savio's body, prosecutors said a review of evidence in the case "is consistent with the 'staging' of an accident to conceal a homicide."
"The one-inch gash in the back of Kathleen Savio's head did not render her unconscious, which would have been necessary for her to accidentally drown in the bathtub," the petition stated.
Peterson’s current wife, Stacy, was last seen Oct. 28, and state Police Capt. Carl Dobrich has said her husband is “clearly” a suspect. He said the case is now a potential homicide investigation.
The family of Stacy Peterson has said she feared her husband, was making plans to divorce him and would not have willingly left her children, ages 2 and 4.
Drew Peterson has said that his wife phoned him and told him she had left him for another man. A message for Fred Morelli, an attorney representing Drew Peterson, was not immediately returned Tuesday morning.
He has been relieved of duty and placed on suspension without pay pending completion of an internal affairs investigation and hearing.