The first volunteer-led searches for Stacy Peterson this year are slated to begin this weekend. But searches require money, and a lot of it.
The first volunteer-led searches for Stacy Peterson this Spring are slated to begin this weekend.
But searches require money, and a lot of it.
To help subsidize the thousands of dollars required for gas, food and lodging, friends and family are busy organizing another fund raiser May 10 at Ditka’s Sports Dome in Bolingbrook.
The search effort will kick-off Saturday with a training led by Illinois State Police, lead search coordinator Roy Taylor said.
“ISP has asked us to have all of our volunteers sit through and learn how to search safely and retrieve evidence properly,” Taylor sad.
The group will also require every volunteer to register and present a valid state identification card. Taylor said the extra information will help police keep track of what areas have been searched and who searched them.
“It’s for ISP so they have every piece of information,” Taylor said. “We’re keeping them updated on everything. Everything that comes in goes directly to ISP.”
If training and registration goes quickly, searches could begin as early as Saturday at a local 18-acre plot police have identified as an area of concern, Taylor said.
Weather permitting, searches will continue on Sunday and every weekend thereafter, with efforts focusing on areas identified by investigators.
“They have given us areas of concern for them and given us areas that should be checked that may have a variable in this,” Taylor said.
The group will release additional information on the searches and an upcoming fund raiser at a 6 p.m. news conference Wednesday in Bolingbrook. The news conference will include members of the search team and Peterson’s friends and family.
“We’re trying to get everyone and get their face faces back out there,” Taylor said. “It’s another step in the process.”
Sharon Bychowski, Taylor’s mother and a close friend of Stacy Peterson, is expected to attend the press conference. While the searches have brought a renewed sense of hope for her, she said they’ve also brought an unwanted surge of hindsight.
“The other day they started to pull out the tarps and they started to pull out the shovels and that made it real,” Bychowski said. “I just thought, ‘we’re looking for her with tarps and shovels, oh my god.’”
Bychowski said she no longer believes her friend will be found alive and is consumed some days by thoughts of how many times Peterson confided in her a fear of her husband Drew, who is a suspect in her disappearance.
“I have some days where I’m cool but there are other days where I think, ‘what more could I have done, how could I have made her leave,’” Bychowski said.
Stacy Peterson was last heard from Oct. 28. Investigators are treating the disappearance as a potential homicide. Her friends and family said the Bolingbrook mother of two, then 23, spoke often of leaving her husband and his controlling behavior.
Drew Peterson, 54, has denied any wrongdoing and has maintained his wife called him that night to tell him she was leaving him for another man. Her disappearance also prompted investigators revisit the March 2004 drowning of Drew Peterson’s third wife Kathleen Savio, which was recently ruled a homicide.
A grand jury investigating both cases continues to meet every Thursday. Drew Peterson has not been charged with any crime.
Danya Hooker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you go
What: Search training session for all volunteers wishing to assist in the search for Stacy Peterson
When: 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday, March 29
Where: Bolingbrook Park District-Aquatic Center
More information: Visit www.findstacypeterson.com