Thursday, July 19, 2007

She'll be back

On July 18 2007, a judge in suburban Chicago IL, granted Craig Stebic's request to dismiss his petition for divorce from his wife Lisa, 37. His petition was filed July 13, just one day after police named him as a "person of interest" in his wife's disappearance.

Stebic had filed for divorce on Jan 16, claiming that the couple had barely spoken in six months and lived seperate lives under the same roof. His petition claimed they had irreconcilable differences. Both parents had sought joint custody of their children, with Lisa the residential custodial parent, child support and division of their marital property.

Lisa's divorce attorney, Glenn Kahn, stated that she had told him April 30 that she had mailed him a petition that day to temporarily evict Craig, 41, from the home while their divorce was pending. She cited that Craig's verbal abuse was affecting her mental and physical well-being and jeopardizing the mental well-being of their children. Police had been called out to the Stebic home since the divorce began to settle a heated argument and it has been revealed that Craig has a record that includes two felony counts from 1995 for unlawful use of a weapon.

"We are doing this solely so we can focus more attention on finding Lisa, and not on this dissolution case," stated Craig's attorney, Dion Davi.

In the days immediately following his wife's disappearance, Craig spoke to a reporter in tears, stating that she would never voluntarily their two children, ages 10 and 12. More than two months after that day, police have narrowed their focus to making Craig the subject of their investigation. He was the last person to see Lisa on April 30 2007 and police now believe she is a victim of foul play.

Craig has declined interviews with the police and the media on the advice of his lawyer for the past two months and has denied two police requests for them to interview the children. It was a neighbor who reported Lisa missing when May 1, Craig called her asking if she knew where Lisa was. He said early after her disappearance that it wasn't like Lisa to miss work and she would never leave the children but it was common for her to go out evenings and not return until 10 or 11 pm.

Only eight days after Lisa was reported missing, Craig filed for temporary custody of the children. Davi stated that even though Lisa had never threatened to take the children, he felt it was necessary, considering the still unanswered questions of her disappearance. Lisa' attorney, Glenn Kahn, filed Lisa's petition along with her response to the custody request in May.

When investigators went to the Stebic home, they found her car in the garage but her cell phone and purse were missing. There have been no calls made on her phone and no activity on her credit cards after her disappearance.

It sounds eerily similar to many "vanishing wives" tales from the past, the most famous perhaps is that of the Craft's which began with a phone call December 1 1986 in Newtown CT. Keith Mayo, a local private investigator, called police to report that his client, Helle Craft had recently disappeared and he suspected foul play. She had supposedly left her home on November 19 to drive to her sister's home but never arrived and her car was later found parked at Kennedy airport.

Craft's stated that he hadn't seen his wife from that date and police weren't all that concerned until they started their interviews. Virtually everyone said that Helle was a devoted mother and would never leave her children. It was also found that Richards Craft had numerous extramarital affairs and Helle had told several of her friends that she wanted to divorce Richard as soon as possible.

Richard Craft's wife though, did not just drive away from her family, as Richard still claims to this day. He was convicted in a second trial of her murder and sentenced to 99 years. Prosecutors stated that he killed his wife, froze her body and then later, after getting the children and au pair out of the house, chainsawed her body and then ran it though a woodchipper. Both Richard and the police made mistakes, Craft rented the woodchipper and left evidence. The police were hampered by the technology available then and the prevailing attitude of "she just needs a break, she'll be back" and lost valuable time to save evidence that may have been available. Both of these seem not to be the case in Lisa Stebic's disappearance.

It is difficult to point a finger of blame without proof but it seems as though the authorities are moving diligently towards finding the proof they need in the Stebic case. People in the early 1990's didn't believe Richard's numerous tales about his wife's disappearance and I don't believe there are many who believe Craig Stebic, especially since the police have revealed another card in their hand and named him as a person of interest.

No comments: