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Published: Friday, 11/23/2007

Ex-officer cites letter as proof wife is alive


CHICAGO - A former police sergeant named as a suspect in his wife's disappearance has received an unsigned letter describing a supermarket sighting of his wife elsewhere in Illinois, his attorney said yesterday.

Drew Peterson received the letter Wednesday but didn't open it until yesterday, attorney Joel Brodsky said.

Mr. Peterson immediately called the Illinois State Police and his attorneys, he said.

Mr. Brodsky said Mr. Peterson hopes the letter, which describes a sighting of a possibly pregnant Stacy Peterson in Peoria, will lead authorities to his wife.

Pamela Bosco, a close friend of Stacy Peterson's family, scoffed at the idea.

She said the family has received "tons of letters," signed and unsigned, from psychics and others claiming to know the missing woman's whereabouts.

"We got a letter saying she was seen in Florida," Ms. Bosco said. "She's traveling an awful lot, isn't she?"

The writer of the letter said Stacy Peterson wasn't alone when seen in a Peoria supermarket and might have been trying to be noticed. She appeared to have "a little pudge," the letter writer wrote, asking if she was pregnant.

Mr. Brodsky declined to release the letter itself, which was dated Nov. 19.

It has been more than three weeks since Ms. Peterson vanished.

Since then, authorities have said they believe the death of Mr. Peterson's third wife, Kathleen Savio - whose body was found in a bathtub in 2004 - was a homicide staged to look like an accidental drowning.

Mr. Peterson has not been called a suspect in Ms. Savio's death, but authorities have said they suspect him in Ms. Peterson's disappearance.

Illinois State Police Capt. Carl Dobrich told the Chicago Tribune that 64 officers are now assigned full-time to investigate Ms. Peterson's disappearance and the death of Ms. Savio.

Captain Dobrich also told the newspaper that detectives have found evidence that Mr. Peterson may have violated Bolingbrook Police Department policies, violations that could be serious enough to jeopardize his $6,000 monthly pension.

The captain would not describe the alleged violations.

Under state law, a police officer's pension may be denied or revoked only if the officer is convicted of a job-related felony.

A grand jury convened for the investigations met for the first time Wednesday.

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