A look back at the Drew Peterson case timeline

Bolingbrook, IL

On the heels of the Lifetime movie release of "Drew Peterson: Untouchable," starring Rob Lowe, here is a look back at the local timeline of the Drew Peterson case.

Bolingbrook resident Stacy Peterson was last heard from on Oct. 28, 2007.

1974 - Drew Peterson marries his high school sweetheart Carol Hamilton, now Carol Brown, two years after his graduation from Willowbrook High School. Hamilton is three years younger than her husband.

1980 - Drew and Hamilton divorce. They have two sons, Eric and Stephen. Brown later tells Diane Sawyer of “Good Morning America” she did not notice controlling behavior in Drew but that they grew apart when she learned of his extramarital affairs.

December 1983 - Toddler Jessica Cales, the youngest child of Christie and Anthony Cales, dies in a Downers Grove house fire.

January 20, 1984 - Christie and Anthony Cales have their third child, Stacy.

October 1987 -Stacy’s younger sister, Lacy, dies of sudden infant death syndrome. Reports say the girls’ mother begins showing erratic behavior.

1982 - Drew Peterson, 28, marries 23-year-old Victoria Rutkiewicz, now Vicki Connolly.

1992 - Drew and Connolly divorce after she learns of extramarital affairs. By this time, Drew is dating Kathleen Savio. Peterson, 38, and Savio, 28, marry later that year.

March 1998 - Christie Marie Toutges Cales disappears.

2001 - Drew Peterson, 47, meets 17-year-old Stacy Cales, a front desk clerk at a Bolingbrook hotel. The two begin dating despite Peterson’s marriage to Kathleen Savio.

Nov. 14, 2002 - In the midst of a bitter divorce, Savio sends a letter to Will County Assistant State’s Attorney Elizabeth Fragale expressing fears that her estranged husband may kill her. By the time the letter was sent, Bolingbrook police had responded to 10 service calls regarding Drew and Savio. Police would respond to eight more calls before Drew and Cales marry in October 2003. Many of the calls involved child custody complaints while others alleged battery of Drew or Cales by Savio and vice versa.

July 2003 - Stacy gives birth to her first child, Anthony.

Oct. 10 - After months of legal disputes, Drew and Savio divorce. Issues remain unresolved with regard to the distribution of marital assets. Savio retains custody of their two children, Thomas and Kristopher, who spend weekends with their father.

October 2003 - Drew, 49, and Stacy, 19, marry.

Drew’s timeline for last weekend of February 2004 (As published in “Drew Peterson Exposed,” by Derek Armstrong)

  • Feb. 27 - Drew picks up Tom and Kris from Savio’s home. He spends the rest of the night at home with Stacy and his children.

  • Feb. 28 - Drew spends the day at home with his family, including his adult son Stephen.

  • Feb. 29 - Drew, Stacy and the children go to the Shedd Aquarium before attempting to return Tom and Kris at about 8 p.m. Savio does not answer the door or her phone.

  • March 1 - Drew calls and leaves messages for Savio throughout the day but does not get a response. He goes to work at 5 p.m. and goes to Savio’s house at 7 p.m. He summons Savio’s neighbors, Mary Ponterelli and Steve Carcerano, and a locksmith to gain entry to Savio’s home. Ponterelli and Carcerano enter the home while Peterson waits outside. Peterson runs into the house when he hears the neighbors scream.

 

March 1, 2004 -  Savio’s body is found in an empty bathtub in her home. Bolingbrook police respond to the scene but eventually call Illinois State Police to investigate her death. Final financial arrangements regarding the division of martial assets between Peterson and Savio, 40, are still unresolved. Savio’s family members said the issue was supposed to come up again in about a month.

Mid-March, 2004 - Peterson produces a hand-written will dated March 2, 1997, signed by himself and Savio. In the will, each leaves all their assets to each other. The will’s validity is later called into question after reports that Savio’s divorce attorney said his client had told him she did not have a will.

March 20, 2004 - Dr. Bryan Mitchell, with the Will County coroner’s office, releases an autopsy report, saying the cause of Savio’s death was accidental drowning. Mitchell notes that Savio’s hair was soaked with blood from an inch-long laceration on her scalp, her tongue was partially clenched between her teeth, and she had several small abrasions on her body.

May 7, 2004 - A six-person coroner’s jury rules the manner of Savio’s death an accident. While testifying at the hearing, an Illinois State Police agent tells the jury that investigators found no reason to suspect a homicide. Savio’s family also testifies, telling the jury that Savio feared her ex-husband, who now stood to financially benefit from Savio’s death. No charges were filed in the case.

April 2004 - Sharon and Bob Bychowski move into their new home at 5 Pheasant Chase Court. Sharon makes quick friends with her new next-door neighbor, Stacy.

January 2005 - Stacy and Drew have their second child together, Lacy.

September 2006 - Stacy’s half-sister, Tina Ryan, dies of colon cancer at the age of 31. Family members say Stacy was devastated by the death. Drew says his wife hit a period of depression after the death and their marriage began to get rocky.

Mid-October 2007 - Stacy’s aunt, Candace Aikin, of El Monte, Calif., visits her niece for the last time. Although Stacy had previously mentioned a desire to leave her marriage, according to Aikin, Stacy was seriously considering the option during Aikin’s visit.

Oct. 26, 2007 - Stacy tells her husband she wants a divorce and tells family she fears for her life, according to family members.

Oct. 27 - Cassandra Cales leaves Stacy Peterson’s home at about 11:30 p.m. with plans to meet at 10 a.m. the next morning to paint a house.

Oct. 28 -  23-year-old Stacy Peterson disappears

Drew’s timeline for Oct. 28 (As published in “Drew Peterson Exposed,” by Derek Armstrong)

  • 5:30-6 a.m. - Drew returns home from his night shift. Before he goes to bed, Stacy tells him she is going to visit her grandfather in the morning.

  • 10-11 a.m. - The children wake Drew up and he notices that Stacy is not home.

  • Noon-1 p.m. - Drew home with children.

  • 1-1:30 p.m. - Drew runs Sunday errands while Tom and Kris watch Anthony and Lacy.

  • 2 p.m. - Drew calls in to request the night off because he has accumulated sick time he could use before his December retirement.

  • 3:15 p.m. - Tom’s school friends pick him for a band concert.

  • 6 p.m. - Drew takes the three other children to McDonald’s.

  • 7: 30 p.m. - Drew and the children return home.

  • 8 p.m. - Tom returns from band concert.

  • 9 p.m. - Drew is at home when he receives a call from Stacy informing him she is leaving with another man.

  • 9:15 p.m. - Drew leaves to go look for Stacy.

  • 11-11:30 p.m. - Drew returns home as Cassandra Cales calls him looking for her sister. Drew tells her Stacy had left him and took clothes, money and her passport.

  • 11:45 p.m. - Drew walks to the airport to drive Stacy’s car back home.

  • Midnight - Drew goes to bed.

  • 2:30 a.m. - Bolingbrook police call Drew to inform him that Cassandra Cales has filed a missing persons report for Stacy.


Oct. 28 timeline established through accounts by Stacy’s friends and family.

  • 9:40 a.m. - Peterson neighbor Sharon Bychowski leaves her home to go to the grocery store and notes seeing both of the Petersons’ vehicles in their driveway.

  • 10:15 a.m. - A friend calls Stacy Peterson about painting the house that day. Peterson, still in bed, says she will meet to paint the house later.

  • 11:55 a.m. - Bychowski returns from the grocery store and says she saw only one of the vehicles in the Peterson driveway. Bychowski calls next door to see if the Peterson children want to come over for suckers. She asks for Stacy when one of the children answers the phone and Drew Peterson tells her his wife went to visit her grandfather.

  • 1 p.m. - Drew Peterson brings the children over to Bychowski’s home and tells her he has an errand to run. He returns in about 15 minutes. He later calls the Bolingbrook Police Department to request the day off, according to Lt. Ken Teppel. His shift was scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. By mid-afternoon, Bychowski and Cales have tried reaching Stacy Peterson. The calls went straight to voice mail, which was unusual, Bychowski said, because Peterson always left her phone on.

  • 9 p.m. - Drew Peterson says Stacy called him to tell him she was leaving him for another man.

  • 11 p.m. - Cales goes to Peterson’s home and does not see either vehicle in the driveway. One of Peterson’s children opens the door and tells Cales he is home alone with his three siblings and that Stacy and Drew had gotten into a fight. He said Stacy Peterson had left the house and Drew went out to look for her.

  • 11:15 p.m. - Cales calls Drew Peterson and asks for Stacy. Cales hears shuffling and keys going into the ignition. Peterson tells Cales he’s at home and had been out looking for his wife.

  • 11:45 p.m. - Cales goes to the Downers Grove Police Department to file a missing person report. The police tell her she has to file the report in Bolingbrook.


Oct. 29

  • 1 a.m. - Cales goes to the Bolingbrook Police Department to file a missing persons report. 

  • 2:30 a.m. - Cales returns to Peterson’s home and sees both cars in the driveway. Cales’ friend calls Drew Peterson and asks him where Stacy is at. Peterson said his wife left him, took money and left her car at Clow International Airport.

  • 3-4 a.m. - Cales files a missing persons report with Illinois State Police.


Oct. 29 Cassandra files a missing persons report with Illinois State Police early in the morning after attempting to reach her sister the day before. Later, Illinois State Police interview Drew regarding his wife’s disappearance. They ask to look at both of his vehicles. He allows access to the GMC Denali but not the Pontiac Grand Prix. The massive search for any evidence of Stacy’s whereabouts begins.

Oct. 30 - Drew visits his stepbrother, Tom Morphey, in the hospital after an apparent suicide attempt. Reports later indicate that Morphey confessed to a friend he believed he had helped Drew dispose of Stacy’s body the night she disappeared. The friend, Walter Martineck, said Morphey came to his home shortly after the alleged incident and was distraught. Morphey, according to Martineck, said Drew called him over to his house Oct. 28 and the two carried a large container from the bedroom to Drew’s sport utility vehicle. Morphey told Martineck he believed Stacy’s body may have been in the container because it weighed about the same as the young woman and was warm to the touch.

Nov. 1 - Police execute a search warrant on Drew’s home. The warrant allows police to search Drew’s home and the family’s two vehicles. Drew reports that computers and his firearms were seized. Authorities announce they are looking into the 2004 records of Savio’s death.

Nov. 7 - Drew appears before a Will County grand jury and exercises his 5th Amendment right.

Nov. 9 - State police, for the first time, label Drew a suspect in Stacy’s disappearance. A judge orders the exhumation of Savio’s body from Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Hillside. The exhumation petition states that the one-inch gash on the back of Savio’s head would not have been enough to render her unconscious and cause her to drown. The petition also questions the blood pattern in the tub, arguing that it was not consistent with water slowly draining from the tub the way investigators in 2004 assumed it had. Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow publicly states that crime scene evidence of Savio’s death appears to show her death may have been staged to look like an accident. Glasgow was not in office at the time of her death. Bolingbrook police also announce that they have suspended Drew without pay, pending an unrelated internal-affairs investigation.

Nov. 12 - Drew hands in his letter of resignation to the Bolingbrook Police Department, just shy of his 30th anniversary with the department, and one day before he was supposed to meet with internal-affairs investigators. Originally, then-Bolingbrook Police Chief Ray McGury refused to accept the resignation and filed a complaint against Drew with the Fire and Police Commission, alleging serious job-related violations. The commission later says it has no choice but to accept the resignation, leaving Drew out of the commission’s jurisdiction regarding the internal investigation. Drew retires with more than $72,000 annually in pension benefits.

Nov. 13 - Savio’s body is exhumed. Later, two forensic pathologists, one at the request of Savio’s family and one on behalf of Will County, perform separate autopsies.

Nov. 16 - Dr. Michael Baden, former chief medical examiner of New York City, who performed an autopsy on Kathleen Savio’s exhumed body at the request of her family, tells Fox News host Greta Van Susteren he believes Savio’s death was a homicide.

Dec. 10 - Planfield minister the Rev. Neil Schori tells Fox’s Greta Van Susteren that Stacy told him in August that her husband admitted to killing Savio. Schori had been counseling Stacy prior to her disappearance. Schori says he waited until after Stacy’s disappearance to go to police because Stacy was afraid for her safety and requested the conversation stay private.

Dec. 17 - A Will County judge denies part of Drew Peterson’s request to have property seized by police during searches returned to him. The judge allows Peterson to regain possession of music CDs, an iPod and other items but says other property, such as two vehicles and 11 guns must remain with the state for now.

Jan. 21, 2008 - Stacy Peterson’s 24th birthday is celebrated by friends and family at a Bolingbrook church.

Jan. 31 - Savio’s siblings, Anna Doman and Henry Martin Savio, file a petition to reopen Savio’s estate and to have James Carroll, Drew’s uncle, removed as executor of the estate. Two other family members later file a similar petition.

Feb. 21 - Dr. Larry Blum, an independent pathologist who performed the other autopsy on Savio, rules her death a homicide.

March 28 - Volunteers renew their search for Stacy Peterson after being forced to halt them over the winter.

April 17 - A Will County judge grants a request by Savio’s family to have her estate reopened in preparation for a possible wrongful death lawsuit against Drew. The judge removes James Carroll as executor of the estate and names Savio’s father and sister executors of any new assets that enter the estate.

April 30 - Drew announces he is offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of his wife.

May 21 - Drew is arrested for possession of an illegal weapon. The charge alleges that Drew owned an AR-15 assault rifle that was too short under state law. The state later adds an additional felony charge, alleging that Drew illegally transferred the weapon to his son, Stephen, an Oak Brook police officer. Drew’s attorney, Joel Brodsky, says the weapon was Drew’s secondary duty weapon for his service on the swat team and therefore exempt from state gun laws.

July 14 - Drew pleads not guilty to two felony weapons violations.

July 21 - Two of Drew’s former friends, Len Wawczak and Paula Stark, publicly state they wore police-issued wired taps for months to secretly record private conversations with Drew. Wawczak and Stark claim the content of the recorded conversations contains damaging information about Drew. Brodsky and Drew dismiss the allegations as a money-making scheme.

Sept. 19 - A Will County judge confirms that Drew was under surveillance but does not indicate what type of surveillance occurred or how long it lasted.

Oct. 1 - Results of two lie detector tests are published in a book. Test indicates Drew showed deception when answering three questions regarding his wife’s disappearance. Peterson did not show deception when he said he had not harmed his wife and did not have any involvement in his ex-wife’s death.

~ Compiled by staff at Suburban Life Publications