Birthday vigil held for missing woman

January 20, 2008 9:51:09 PM PST
Friends and family of missing Bolingbrook woman Stacy Peterson held a candlelight vigil in honor of her 24th birthday Sunday.

The mother of two disappeared in late October.

Stacy Peterson's family says there was no one that enjoyed birthdays or throwing a party more than Stacy. So, family, friends and Bolingbrook public officials gathered to celebrate her life at the Living Water Community church.

The celebration was also a way for Peterson's family to keep her case public, especially since the story is no longer making front page news each day.

Pink and blue balloons filled the room Sunday, and candles were blown out on a birthday cake. The celebration had all the makings of a birthday party but the feel of a memorial service, since the person of honor has been missing for three months.

"We are here to celebrate, and we love her. We miss her. We know we're going to see her again some time. We don't know when, but we know we'll see her again. She is in out hearts forever," said Candice Aikin, Stacy Peterson's aunt.

Family and friends of Stacy Peterson chose to celebrate her birthday also with a vigil that was closed to television cameras. Prayers and personal stories were told and the hymn Amazing Grace was sung.

"This is the best day we've had so far. {It's] very therapeutic to be here as friends and family of Stacy because it allows us to say what she means to us," said Stacy Peterson's friend Sharon Bychowski.

Sunday's gathering brought out many Bolingbrook community members, including police Chief Ray McGury. Based on conversations with the Illinois State Police, he said he believes the case will be solved.

"Based upon what I've seen and heard. I'm positive that there will be some resolution down the road," he said.

Drew Peterson, Stacy Peterson's husband, continues to be the prime suspect in the woman's disappearance. From his home Sunday night, he said he has no comment about his wife's birthday or the vigil. He did say he's relieved the media no longer camps out from his home, which, he said, allows him to live a normal life.

But the families of Stacy and Drew Peterson's third wife, Kathleen Savio, say they can never live a normal life.

"All I have to say about his life being back to normal is that my aunt will never see my cousin's high school graduation, never see her grandchildren," said Melissa Doman, Savio's niece.

"If he thinks life is normal, that's fine. But, our lives will not be back to normal until we find out the truth about what happened and bring the person who did this to justice," said Stacy Peterson's stepsister Kerry Simmons.

In the meantime, Stacy Peterson's family and friends say they will not give up looking for her. They left the vigil Sunday night by letting go of her birthday balloons into the moonlit sky.

Stacy's family and friends are planning a fundraiser for her on Sunday, March 2. The money raised will go toward the search efforts.

While the media may have back off of the story for awhile, the Illinois State Police say the investigation remains very active. Investigators released a statement Friday saying they have begun to utilize other additional investigative resources but would not say what those resources were.