Families of missing people unite

February 23, 2008 9:06:06 PM PST
Three missing people. Saturday their families united in one mission: to figure out what happened to Stacy Peterson, Lisa Stebic and John Spira.

It has been exactly one year since John Spira disappeared without a trace. Soon after, his business went up in flames. His family fears foul play led to his unexplained absence.

Spira's family is working with the relatives of other missing people in the area in their search for answers. It is a unique bond these families share. Over the months they've had to learn to organize searches, master the media, and privately cope with the very real possibility that they may never find the answers they seek.

Inside an old blues bar Saturday a musician's life was celebrated. John Spira loved to play the guitar -- and did so regularly here at Kingston Mines. It has been exactly one year since anyone has seen Spira.

Adding to the mystery, in September 2007, seven months after the disappearance, his West Chicago business went up in flames.

"I can't believe we still don't know much more than we did a year ago," said Tom Spira , missing man's brother.

"It's as if we just found out yesterday. It's the same awful feeling. You can't get past it until we know what happened," said Stephanie McNeil, missing man's sister.

It's a feeling others at Kingston Mines Saturday know all too well.

"It's an unfortunate circumstance that we're all meeting through, we all have missing loved one," said Melanie Greenberg, Lisa Stebic's cousin.

On April 30 it will be one year since Plainfield mom Lisa Stebic vanished. Bolingbrook mother Stacy Peterson has been missing for four months now. All of their families pray for resolution.

"I'm confident there will be arrests in many of these cases," said Don Zimmerman, Lisa Stebic's cousin.

John Spira's family has been frustrated that his case has received far less media attention -- not to mention law enforcement resources.

"The facts of his case aren't any less sinister than those of in Stacy and Lisa's cases yet they won't classify this as a homicide or foul play. I don't quite understand that," said McNeil.

Every time a body is found in the Chicago area, hearts race. This week, Downers Grove Police unearthed a man's frozen corpse.

"When I find out it's not John I'm relieved and disappointed all at the same time," McNeil said.

John Spira's family believes he was murdered and the subsequent fire at his business was arson. Police will only say their investigation is on-going.

All of the families plan on resuming the outdoor searched for their loved ones when the weather warms.