CHICAGO (AP) - Former police sergeant Drew Peterson received an unsigned letter describing a supermarket sighting of his missing wife, Stacy Peterson, and has turned it over to investigators, his attorney Joel Brodsky said.
But a close friend of Stacy Peterson’s family said she doubted that the letter was a legitimate tip.
Drew Peterson received the letter Wednesday and didn’t open it until Thursday, the attorney said.
Peterson, who has been named a suspect by authorities investigating his 23-year-old wife’s disappearance, immediately called the Illinois State Police and his attorneys to notify them, Brodsky said.
The Chicago attorney said Peterson hoped that the letter, which describes a sighting of a possibly pregnant Stacy Peterson in Peoria, would lead authorities to his wife.
Pamela Bosco, a close friend of Stacy Peterson’s family, scoffed at the idea.
“We got a letter saying she was seen in Florida,” Bosco said. “She’s traveling an awful lot, isn’t she?”
Bosco said the family had received “tons of letters,” signed and unsigned, from psychics and others claiming to know Stacy Peterson’s whereabouts.
“It doesn’t mean anything,” Bosco said. “It’s up to police what they do with these tips.”
Peterson’s pension is in jeopardy after investigators discovered several crimes unrelated to the disappearance of the 53-year-old’s young wife and mysterious drowning of his third wife, according to a report in Thursday’s Chicago Tribune.
Illinois State Police Capt. Carl Dobrich told the Tribune that 64 officers now were assigned full time to investigate the disappearance of Stacy Peterson and the death of third wife Kathleen Savio.
Dobrich said that in the course of the investigation, detectives discovered evidence that Drew Peterson might have violated Bolingbrook Police Department policies.
Dobrich would not describe the alleged violations but told the Tribune that they were serious enough to potentially trigger the loss of Drew Peterson’s $6,000 monthly pension. Under state law, a police officer’s pension may be denied or revoked only if the officer is convicted of a job-related felony.
Peterson submitted his resignation last week, but Police Chief Ray McGury refused to accept it, saying he wanted Peterson fired.
Bolingbrook’s Police and Fire Commission later accepted Peterson’s resignation.
McGury didn’t disclose specifics, but alleged Peterson committed “severe” violations of departmental policies.
State police have named Peterson a suspect in his fourth wife’s disappearance, and Will County prosecutors have said the bathtub drowning of Savio, 40, in March 2004 appeared to be staged to conceal a homicide.
Tips are coming in from across the nation, and the cases are the agency’s top investigative priority, Dobrich said.
A grand jury convened for the investigations met for the first time Wednesday and heard testimony from Scott Rossetto, 35, a friend of Stacy Peterson.
Police contacted Rossetto, a registered nurse from Shorewood, after finding phone records that connected him to Stacy Peterson. Rossetto’s brother dated her briefly in 2001.
Rossetto told reporters after his testimony that he and the now-missing woman exchanged racy text messages that could have been misinterpreted by her husband before she disappeared more than three weeks ago.
Rossetto told reporters that he and Stacy were not having an affair. He said they traded flirtatious text messages and e-mails.
“Some of the messages were quite perverted and flirty in nature, but they were all meant in fun,” Rossetto told the Chicago Sun-Times. “(Was I) Interested in dating? No. Flirting? Yes.”
Brodsky released a written statement on Thursday describing the letter Drew Peterson said he received. It carried a Peoria, Ill., postmark and was dated Nov. 19. It detailed an encounter the writer had with Stacy Peterson on Nov. 12 at a Kroger grocery store, the attorney said in the statement.
Stacy Peterson wasn’t alone and might have been trying to be noticed, the letter said. A man appeared to be with her. She was not shopping, but was standing in the dairy section looking at the letter writer.
She appeared to have “a little pudge,” the letter writer wrote, asking if she was pregnant.
Brodsky declined to release the letter itself. “We don’t want anything to impede the investigation” he told The Associated Press.