As the media frenzy surrounding the Drew Peterson trial continues and questions as to the whereabouts of wife Stacy go unanswered, the family of another missing Will County woman is watching the proceedings intently.
Lisa Ruttenberg Stebic, a mom of two, was reported missing on April 30, 2007 — six months before the high-profile disappearance of Stacy Peterson.
At the time, the 37-year-old mom was in the process of divorcing husband Craig, who remains the only person of interest in the case but has never been charged in connection with her disappearance.
Children Lexi, then 12, and Zach, who was 10 at the time of his mom’s disappearance, are teenagers now.
“As time goes on, it’s more and more inherently obvious that she’s dead,” said Melanie Greenberg, spokeswoman for Stebic’s family. “She didn’t run away.”
In April 2012, the family marked the fifth anniversary of Lisa’s disappearance.
“Understandably, the tips have dwindled to a trickle,” Greenberg said of the case, which was turned over to the Will/Grundy Major Crimes Task Force in 2010.
Meanwhile, Peterson is on trial for the murder of third wife Kathleen Savio, and fourth wife Stacy remains missing.
With media outlets from CNN to People magazine clamoring to cover the trial, the case has largely pushed Stebic out of the spotlight.
“What you have is flamboyant lawyers, and Drew Peterson is very flamboyant, and Craig has stayed pretty quiet,” Greenberg said of the difference in coverage between the two cases.
But Greenberg said the focus on the Peterson trial, which resumes Tuesday, doesn’t bother the family.
“Drew Peterson is not being prosecuted for Stacy — he’s being prosecuted for Kathleen Savio because they have a body,” she said. “Stacy’s family has the same situation [we do]. They know she’s dead.”
Greenberg also said she understands the difficulty of filing charges without a body.
“It’s difficult to watch someone being brought to trial here when we don’t even have an arrest,” she said. “It’s really difficult, and from what I’ve heard, it’s very rare to prosecute without a body.”
Lisa’s family still hopes that one day they’ll have answers in her disappearance. They have also established a website, www.findlisastebic.net, dedicated to the case.
In 2007, Craig Stebic told he was working in the back yard and the children had walked to a nearby store to buy candy when his estranged wife left their Red Star Drive home to go for a workout. She never returned; her car remained in the driveway, and her credit cards and cell phone have not been used since her disappearance, police said.
Greenberg said Lisa’s grandmother, 92, and grandfather, 98, hope to learn what happened to her before they die.
“We talk about Lisa almost every phone call,” Greenberg said. “It’s hard for me because I don’t have an answer for them.”
Lisa’s family is closely watching Peterson’s trial — especially the testimony of Savio’s sister, Anna Doman, Greenberg said.
On Friday, that Peterson was "going to kill her and make it look like an accident."
Greenberg said Stebic made similar comments regarding her own husband, telling a neighbor to "call the police" if something ever happened to her.
“We’ll be watching the case very closely to see how it could apply to our case,” Greenberg said. “We’re going to have to see how it plays out.”
Though Peterson is charged only in connection with Savio’s death, Greenberg said she hopes Stacy’s family finds some peace through the proceedings.
“I hope their family gets some closure from the trial,” she said.
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