The Missing – A Weekly Exposé of Lost Souls – Issue #35
June 02, 2009The mysterious disappearance of Lisa Michelle Stebic
In this week's edition of "The Missing," we revisit the mysterious disappearance of Lisa Michelle Stebic, a 38-year-old resident of Plainfield, Illinois, who went missing in April 2007.
Prior to Lisa's disappearance, she was in the process of divorcing her husband of 14 years, Craig Stebic. Despite the turmoil in their relationship, the couple continued to live together in the same house - perhaps for the sake of their two young children.
Lisa was last seen on the evening of April 30, 2007. The following day, a concerned neighbor reported her missing. When investigators arrived at her home, they discovered that her car was in the garage, but her cell phone and purse were missing. Craig told police that he had not seen his wife since the previous evening, when she went jogging.
Lisa's divorcee attorney informed investigators that on the day of his wife's disappearance, Craig had been served with a petition for eviction. The document cited verbal abuse and cruel and inconsiderate behavior toward Lisa and the children.
A police check of Craig's background revealed two prior felony convictions dating back to 1995 for the unlawful use of a weapon after police stopped his pickup truck and found a 10-gauge double barrel shotgun, a .44 magnum semi-automatic pistol, a Ruger Mini-14 assault rifle and an AK-47 semi-automatic assault rifle. In addition, police records showed that officers had been called to the Stebic residence in December 2006 for a domestic dispute. According to the report, it was a verbal altercation, and no assault or battery charges were filed.
The investigation into Lisa's disappearance continued; in July 2007, Police Chief Donald Bennett laid all his suspicions on the table, holding a press conference naming Craig Stebic a "person of interest" in his wife's disappearance. According to Bennett, Stebic had offered only minimal assistance and would not allow police to question his children.
"Mr. Stebic's refusal to allow access to his children has clearly hampered our investigation," Chief Bennett told reporters at the press conference. "It is also the belief of this agency that the children, if allowed, would welcome the opportunity to locate their mother."
Also in July 2007, Craig and a bikini-clad television reporter named Amy Jacobson were photographed together in the backyard of Craig's home. While there was nothing illegal about the reporter's actions, she was subsequently let go by the local NBC affiliate.
Unwilling to sit by the wayside, Lisa's family members have been active participants in the search. They have organized searches, passed out flyers, held vigils and fought inside the courtroom to obtain visitation with Lisa's children. They also joined forces with the family of Stacy Peterson, a Chicago-area woman who went missing in October 2007. The families of the two missing women believe that they can create more public awareness of the two cases by working together.
"It's very frustrating for the family that two years have passed and we still don't have answers as to what happened to Lisa that day that she disappeared," Lisa's cousin, Melanie Greenberg, was recently quoted by the Plainfield Sun as saying. "We know it's not a cold case, but it's very difficult not knowing and not having resolution."
In April 2009, County State's Attorney Charles Pelkie told nbcchicago.com that authorities have uncovered new developments in the case, but he refused to elaborate.
"While these developments haven't cracked open the case, they have shed additional light on what happened to Lisa Stebic," Pelkie said.
The following month, a special grand jury that had convened to look into the disappearances of Stacy Peterson and Lisa Stebic and the killing of Kathleen Savio came to an end, having returned only one indictment on two first-degree murder counts against former Bolingbrook police officer Drew Peterson in Savio's death.
A second blow came to Stacy and Lisa's families on May 27, 2009, when a forensic crime lab determined that human remains found in the Des Plaines River the previous week were not those of either missing woman.
"It's disappointing," Greenberg said in an interview with chicagotribune.com. "There's no grave to visit. Even if we hadn't had all of her, it would have made all the difference in the world to put her to rest with dignity."
Meanwhile, the detectives investigating Lisa's disappearance remain hopeful that the case will be solved. In addition to their efforts, the FBI has added Lisa to its missing person's Web site, giving her case national exposure. The FBI estimates that over 2 million people a month peruse the Web site.
Lisa Stebic is described as 5' 2" tall, 120 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. She has a small rose tattoo on her ankle and a butterfly tattoo on her lower back. A $75,000 reward is currently being offered for information leading to the discovery of her whereabouts. Anyone with information is asked to call the Plainfield Police Department at (815) 267-7217 or Will County Crime Stoppers at 800-323-6734.
If you are a family member of a missing loved one and have a case you would like covered here, contact me via e-mail. If you are a reader who would like to help, please spread the word about this site so others can find us. The more people who see these stories, the better the chances that someone might come forward with information.