Police search for Stacy Peterson

June 5, 2010 (CHICAGO)

The search near Peoria is based on what state police call a "credible lead" in the case.

The attorney for Stacy's husband, former Bolingbrook police sergeant Drew Peterson borrowed from Shakespeare Saturday saying it was much ado about nothing.

Yet, there was enough in a tip of unknown origin to send an entire investigative team and all their gear 140 miles away to dig in the woods -- for something.

Investigators set up a canopy to provide cover in a small area where the we're digging. The site is located approximately one mile off road on a heavily wooded farm outside of Peoria, Ill. The Kickapoo Creek flows nearby.

Authorities were calling it a possible crime scene, but they wouldn't say specifically what the we're looking for, or what brought them to the site.

Investigators won't say if they found anything of interest Saturday, but they do intend to return to the site.

"I don't want to allude to looking for a body. We're looking for evidence of a crime based on this lead that we have," said Illinois State Police Master Sergeant Tom Burek said.

Peoria County Coroner Johnna Ingersoll confirmed forensics teams were summoned to the scene and that excavation work was under way to search for human remains. The coroner also said, so far, no human remains had been found.

Saturday afternoon, Illinois State Police talked about the latest lead in the disappearance of Stacy Peterson.

The team on-site consists of detectives working the disappearance of Stacy Peterson, joined by a forensic anthropologist.

There were early reports that the search might have been the result of a tip from an inmate in the Will County jail where Drew Peterson is locked up awaiting trial in the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. But Peterson is in isolation, and his attorneys say he has no contact with any other inmates.

"I'm not saying a person gave us the tip. It's a lead the investigation team has. Where they got the lead, I'm not in a position that I want to comment on that at this stage," said Burek.

Rains reduced the land at the search site to a "muddy mess," meaning that parts are inaccessible by vehicle and investigators have had to comb the area on foot, Burek said earlier Saturday.

"The only thing that connects to all these leads, all these rumors, is each and every one of them has turned out to be false. Each and every one of them has turned out to be without basis and each and every one of them turned out to be nothing but gossip," said Joel Brodsky, Drew Peterson's attorney.

Earlier Saturday, Brodskyreleased a statement, which read, in part:

"There has never been one, single factual piece of evidence regarding either Stacy's disappearance, or in the death of Kathy Savio, that shows that Drew is guilty of any wrongdoing whatsoever," according to Attorney Joel Brodsky.

He also called the most recent search "patently ridiculous."

"Drew's position from day one has always been that she ran off with another man because that's what she told him," Brodsky said.

Countless searches have taken place since Stacy Peterson vanished in October, 2007. She was 23 years old at the time. It was thought, initially, that the discovery of human remains in the Des Plaines River one year ago might be that of Stacy Peterson. However, it was not, and Stacy Peterson' body has not been recovered.

Drew Peterson, now 56, is in the Will County jail awaiting a July trial on charges he killed his previous wife Kathleen Savio. Savio was found drowned in an empty bathtub. Her death was initially ruled accidential, but then changed to a homicide after prosecutors reopened the case following Stacy Peterson's disappearance.

Saturday, those who knew Stacy Peterson just wanted and hoped for closure.

" It was incredibly emotional. It'll bring a lot of closure. Her family and friends really need that," said family friend Jamie Holt.

Her family, including her aunt, were not sure what to make of Saturday's search.

"We just want to know where she's at. That's what we want to know. It would mean everything to us. We want to find her and bring her home," aunt Candace Aikin said.

The owner of the property where the search was conducted says police told him they had solid leads and specific coordinates for their search.

While investigators will not be back at the site Sunday, ABC7 is told they do intend to resume their work Monday.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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