Stacy Peterson’s sister believes her remains have been found

Posted at 2:52 PM, April 4, 2024 and last updated 10:33 AM, April 4, 2024

More than 15 years after Stacy Peterson disappeared, her sister believes she has found her remains.

Stacy disappeared in 2007 and is presumed dead, though her body has never been found. Her husband, Drew Peterson, was named a suspect in her disappearance but was never charged.

Drew Peterson appears in court in handcuffs

FILE – In this May 8, 2009, file photo, former Bolingbrook, Ill., police Sgt. Drew Peterson leaves the Will County Courthouse in Joliet, Ill. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)

Peterson is currently serving a 38-year prison sentence for the 2004 murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. Savio was found in a dry bathtub, weeks before she was scheduled to appear in court for a hearing to determine custody and financial issues stemming from her divorce from Drew. Her death was initially ruled accidental but was reopened in the wake of Stacy’s disappearance. He is currently awaiting a hearing for an appeal in that case.

Since her sister’s disappearance, Cassandra Cales has left no stone unturned in an endless quest to find Stacy. Most recently, she sent a remote-operated vehicle equipped with sonar to the bottom of an Illinois canal, where she claims she found the remains of her sister.

A still image from video recorded by the remote-operated vehicle appears to show a skull and several bones beneath the water of the canal. Cales told Court TV’s Vinnie Politan that finding the remains in the canal wasn’t surprising to her, because she claims that she had alerted police to a body in the same area just weeks after her sister disappeared.

Sonar view of what appears to be a skull and bones under the water.

A sonar image from a remote-operated vehicle appears to show skeletal remains beneath an Illinois canal. (Cassandra Cales)

“I’ve been following a female body since 2007 down the canal. In 2007, 19 days after Stacy disappeared, it was there for three days. Law enforcement did nothing. I was threatened to be arrested if I acted on it. Then it disappeared. Then, in the spring of 2008, I found the body again with a lot of decomposition and the feet missing and almost — there was still flesh. State police again did nothing for a year, they just went out there and did a blind dive.”

Court TV took Cales’ claims to the Illinois State Police, who said in a statement that their “investigation is active and ongoing and special agents follow-up on any and all credible and viable leads. We are unable to comment further or provide additional information to protect the integrity of the case.”

After not getting the desired response from the police, Cales said that she invested her own money in technology that continued to improve and finally allowed her to bring in equipment from Alaska. She brought her latest discovery to the police, but she said they told her when they went into the area for a dive they found only a rock and declared the area was clear.

Two women smile in a photograph

An undated photo shows Cassandra Cales and her sister, Stacy Peterson. (Cassandra Cales)

The disinterest from police isn’t slowing Cales down, who told Politan, “I’m ready to go. I just have to find the right people, the right resources and the equipment.” To that end, she has started an online fundraiser in the hope of retrieving the remains from the bottom of the canal.

Cales said that her goal is only to offer her sister peace, and has nothing to do with the suspect in her disappearance.

Cales: “If it’s my sister’s remains, it would be awesome to give her the proper burial that she deserves. And as for justice, Drew’s gonna die in jail. Why spend the money and all that on another trial … It’s pointless.”
Politan: “You just want her to rest in peace?”
Cales: “That’s right. And she will, soon.”

In a statement to Court TV responding to Cales’ claims, Drew’s former attorney Steve Greenberg said, “I wish Ms. Cales the best of luck in her search for her sister, and that one day she finds her so that she may have closure.”

Even if Drew’s conviction for Savio’s murder is overturned, he won’t be getting out of prison. He was sentenced to 40 years behind bars for plotting to kill the prosecutor in his murder trial, to be served consecutively to the murder sentence.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.