Drew Peterson, Stacy Peterson, Kathleen Savio, and a Deadly Marriage

By: Alyssa Miller | Last updated: Dec 07, 2023

Drew Peterson, a former police sergeant in Illinois, became known as the cop who killed his wife. After divorcing his first wife, he married three more times and would be accused and found guilty of the murder of two of his wives.

Drew, who has been convicted of the murder of one of his wives and is suspected of murdering another, is a coldblooded man. While he had a history of abuse, Drew Peterson was untouchable until the sister of one of his wives pursued justice against the murder. Let’s get into it.

Who Is Drew Peterson?

Drew Walter Peterson was born on Jan. 5, 1954. According to Biography, Peterson graduated high school in 1972 and joined the military. He married his high school sweetheart, Carol Hamilton. Peterson then joined the police force in Bolingbrook, Illinois, in 1977.

JOLIET, IL - MAY 21: Former Bolllingbrook, Illinois police officer Drew Peterson leaves the Will County Jail in his attorney's car after posting bail for a felony weapons charge May 21, 2008 in Joliet, Illinois. Peterson is a suspect in his fourth wife's disappearance and has been questioned about the murder of his third wife. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Source: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Drew and Hamilton were married for six years, but not all those years were filled with joy. In an exclusive interview with the Chicago Tribune, Hamilton revealed that Drew had never been abusive or controlling toward her, but that he did cheat on her while she was pregnant with one of their two sons (via All That’s Interesting). “I thought he always had respect for me, but I guess when you stray in a relationship, you don’t have respect for the person that you were doing that to,” she said.


The Many Wives of Drew Peterson

Hamilton divorced Drew Peterson in 1980, but Drew found comfort in the arms of 20-year-old Kyle Piry. Piry and Drew were engaged briefly. Piry told Today that her ex-fiancee was controlling, always wanting to know where she was going and who she was seeing. Sometimes Piry would follow her when she went out, but Piry clarified that Drew was not abusive.

Man And Woman Kissing

Source: Emma Bauso/Pexels

In 1982, Drew married Vicki Connolly. The two operated a bar together in Romeoville. During her nine-and-a-half-year marriage to Drew, Connolly alleged that Drew was violent toward her and her daughter, who lived in the household until she turned 17 years old. According to In Touch, Connolly said that Drew “put me up against the wall in the garage and grabbed me by the throat.” Drew’s and Connolly’s relationship ended six months before he remarried once again.

Drew Peterson and Kathleen Savio’s Unhappy Marriage

In 1992, Drew Peterson married Kathleen Savio. Kathleen and Dre2 Peterson had two children, Thomas and Kristopher, and co-owned a tavern. However, the relationship would only last a decade before Drew’s eyes began to wander once again, and signs of abusive behavior from Drew started to rise to the surface.

Woman And Man Sitting on Brown Wooden Bench

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In 2001, the couple separated due to Drew’s affair with a 16-year-old Stacy Cales, who was working as a front desk clerk at a Bolingbrook hotel. Two years later, Peterson would marry Stacy.

Kathleen Savio and Drew Peterson's Divorce

The divorce between Kathleen Savio and Drew Peterson seemed to be anything but civil. Oxygen’s true-crime documentary “Snapped” reports that the divorce proceedings turned bitter when the estranged couple started to dispute over the custody of their children and finances (via SK Pop).

A Woman Comforting her Friend

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Kathleen feared Drew by this point, and told her sister, “He’s gonna kill me and it’s gonna look like an accident.”

Kathleen Savio Begins to Fear for Her Life

Kathleen Savio sent a letter to Will County Assistant State’s Attorney Elizabeth Fragale that detailed her fears about her estranged husband’s trying to kill her. On March 11, 2002, Kathleen filed for an emergency order of protection against Drew Peterson after he threatened her.

Page two and three of 2002 Kathleen Savio's letter to the Will County State's Attorney's Office

Source: Archive/Public Domain

By this point, the Bolingbrook police had responded to 10 service calls regarding Drew and Kathleen (via The Columbus Dispatch). Police would respond to eight more calls before Drew and Cales married in October 2003.


Stacy Becomes Drew Peterson’s Spouse

Drew Peterson’s spouse Stacy gave birth to their first child, Anthony, while Drew and Kathleen Savio attempted to resolve issues regarding their complicated divorce. In October 2003, Drew and Stacy married in the same month Drew and Kathleen’s divorce was finalized. However, Drew’s relationship with Stacy was rocky.

Anonymous female therapist and client sitting in armchairs during session in modern office

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Stacy started to note that Drew became increasingly controlling and suspicious, accusing her of infidelity and prohibiting her from seeing family and friends. According to family friend Bruce Zidarich, “[Stacy] would always look over her shoulder. She said, ‘I’m gonna tell him that I want a divorce.’ … It came up more and more often” (via ABC News).


Kathleen Savio's Death

In November 2003, Kathleen Savio described several altercations with Drew Peterson in a note to the assistant state’s attorney. According to All That’s Interesting, Kathleen wrote, “[Drew] knows how to manipulate the system, and his next step is to take my children away. Or kill me instead … I haven’t received help from the police here in Bolingbrook, and [am] asking for your help now. Before it’s too late [sic] … Please return my call, or write with answers to my questions.”

Bathroom interior with bathtub with shower under shelves

Source: Max Rahubovskiy/Pexels

On March 1, 2004, Kathleen was found dead in a dry bathtub in her home. A coroner’s jury initially ruled her death as an accidental drowning.


Where Was Drew Peterson? 

In “Drew Peterson Exposed,” author Derek Armstrong details the timeline of Drew Peterson’s days before and after the death of his ex-wife.

Drew Peterson's House

Source: Michael Kappel/Flickr

On Feb. 27, 2004, Drew picked up his children from Kathleen Savio’s house, then spent the weekend with them, Stacy, and his adult son Stephen. On Feb. 29, Drew, Stacy, and his children went to the Shedd Aquarium before attempting to return the children to Kathleen at 8 p.m. She did not answer her phone or her door. On March 1, Drew went to work and then went to Kathleen’s house at 7 p.m. Drew asked neighbors Mary Ponterelli and Steve Carcerano and a locksmith to enter Kathleen’s home and ran into the house after he heard a neighbor scream. Kathleen’s drowning was initially categorized as an accident.


What Happened to Stacy Peterson? 

Drew Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy, went missing in October 2007. Drew believes that his then 23-year-old wife abandoned their family to pursue a relationship with another person. According to “Drew Peterson Exposed,” Drew told Stacy’s sister, Cassandra Cales, that Stacy left him and took clothes, money, and her passport.

Stacy Peterson Memorial infront of the Petersons house

Source: Michael Kappel/Flickr

Unsatisfied with Drew’s story, Cales files a missing person’s report with Illinois State Police. Drew’s suspicious behavior, which included resigning from the Bolingbrook Police Department when he was just shy of his 30th anniversary with the department, prompted detectives to look back on Kathleen’s death.


Taking Another Look at Kathleen Savio’s Death

The medical examiner who performed the second autopsy on Kathleen Savio’s body discovered that the body was covered in bruises and the back was extensively scraped, according to Patch. An inch-long deep wound was found on the back of Kathleen’s head, suggesting that something had hit her scalp hard but did not break her skull.

An autopsy folder next to pills

Source: Nick Youngson/Public Domain

Authorities believed that Kathleen’s death was a homicide and that Drew Peterson was the most likely suspect. By this time, Drew started a new relationship with Christina Raines, who would leave him in 2009 after he talked about how easily he could “snap” someone’s neck (via All That’s Interesting).


Drew Peterson Is Found Guilty

Drew Peterson was found guilty during his trial on Sept. 6, 2012. According to the Florida Times-Union, Peterson screamed out his innocence in an outburst right before he was given 38 years in prison. Peterson shouted into the courtroom microphone, “I did not kill Kathleen!” Reports state that Susan Doman, Kathleen’s sister, shouted back, “Yes, you did! You liar!” The judge then ordered the sheriff’s deputies to remove Domain from the courtroom.

Drew Peterson's Mug Shot

Source: State of Illinois/Wikimedia Commons

Peterson is also a suspect in Stacy Peterson’s disappearance, however, he has not been charged for a simple reason: No one can find Stacy Peterson. Now missing for 16 years, it seems unlikely that we will ever find out what happened to Stacy. Stacy and Drew Petersons’ children and stepchildren with Drew are currently in custody of Peterson’s adult son Stephen (via The Chicago Tribune).


Where Is Drew Peterson Now?

Where is Drew Peterson today? After being sentenced to 38 years in prison, Peterson was sent to the overcrowded Menard Correctional Center in Southern Illinois, according to A&E. John Howard Association, an outside prison monitoring group, wrote in their 2013 report that the maximum security facility held more than 3,300 men when their maximum capacity was rated for 2,600 inmates.

Rear View of a Silhouette Man in Window

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Peterson was moved to the Terre Haute Federal Correctional Institution in Terre Haute, Indiana, after an Illinois Department of Corrections official wrote in a letter that would later become public, “Offender Peterson is a threat to safety and security of the department and therefore an Interstate Corrections Compact Agreement transfer is being initiated by IDOC.” As of Feb. 14, 2022, Peterson does not appear in the Illinois prison inmate database. However, his case remains under IDOC jurisdiction.