Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Drew Peterson: Wife Killer?

Officer of the Year

Drew Peterson
Drew Peterson
Drew Peterson had always wanted to be a police officer. Immediately after graduating from Willowbrook High School in suburban Chicago in 1972, he joined the U.S. Army and trained as a military policeman.

Two years later, he married his high school girlfriend, Carol Hamilton.

In 1977, Peterson joined the Bolingbrook Police Department. The following year he was made part of the elite Metropolitan Area Narcotics Squad. He grew his hair down his back for undercover assignments. Peterson was an aggressive young officer, and after just two years on the job the Bolingbrook police brass named him their officer of the year.

After six years and two children, though, Peterson's marriage collapsed. Carol divorced him in 1980 after discovering that Drew had been cheating on her while she had been pregnant with their second child.

Not long after the divorce, Peterson became engaged to another woman, but she broke off the engagement because of his controlling behavior. When she handed him back his ring he became violent. For months after the breakup, he stalked and harassed her, sometimes following her in his police car to intimidate her. He once pulled her over to write her a ticket for having bald tires.

In 1982, Drew Peterson married Victoria Rutkiewicz. During their 10-year marriage, Drew grew increasingly controlling and increasingly violent. According to Victoria, Peterson told her he could kill her and make it look like an accident.

Although he occasionally hit her, said Victoria, the blows were never serious enough to send her to the hospital. Those would come later, with a different wife.

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