Family seeks closure in Stebic disappearance

April 30, 2012 5:01:55 AM PDT
Monday marks the fifth anniversary of the disappearance of Lisa Stebic of Plainfield.

There will be no public memorials to commemorate the anniversary.

Instead, in what's become a yearly tradition, her niece and nephew will write a note, tie it to a balloon and release it. After five years of not knowing what happened to the mother of two, her family says things have only gotten worse.

"The grief is just as intense as it was five years ago," said her cousin, Melanie Greenberg.

Since her disappearance, it has fallen to Greenberg to represent the family and not let Lisa's memory be erased from the public.

"It's extremely difficult to move on and find closure because Lisa's body is missing," Greenberg said. "We know she's dead, but we cannot put her to rest. We cannot hold a funeral. We cannot mourn her in a proper way."

Lisa Stebic was 37 years old, when on April 30, 2007, she left her Plainfield home to go work out and never came back.

Her husband, Craig Stebic, always maintained that she'd left him and refused to help police or participate in any of the multiple searches for Lisa. And though that made him a suspect, he's never been charged in her disappearance. Neither has anyone else.

Despite the time that's passed, it's still catalogued as an open investigation by police.

"After five years, the number of tips called in to the Plainfield police have slowed to a trickle and it's part of why we're still speaking out today," Greenberg said. "We're hoping that one person will go to, (and) step forward.

The search for Lisa Stebic was largely removed from the headlines seven months after it happened, replaced by another missing mother of two: Stacey Peterson. Greenberg said Lisa's family will be keeping a close eye on Drew Peterson's trial, and to the way the state's new heresay law will affect the outcome.

"We will be watching how it's applied in the Peterson trial very closely, because it could have direct application to a prosecution when it comes to Lisa's case," Greenberg said.

Unlike the Peterson case however, where Drew Peterson was charged in the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, where there is a body present, bringing Lisa Stebic's case to trial is, as of now, nearly impossible. No-body prosecutions in Illinois are rare and it's unclear whether there's even enough circumstantial evidence to bring charges.

"Our family remains devastated, but we remain hopeful for justice," Greenberg said.

There is a $75,000 reward for any information that leads to Lisa Stebic.

Her children, now in high school, continue to live with their father and have no contact with Lisa's family.