Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Drew Peterson: Wife Killer?

"A romantic time"

In May 1993, Drew Peterson smashed his new bride's head against a dinning room table, sending Kathleen to the hospital in the nearby town of Hinsdale.

Over the next few years, Drew and Kathleen had two sons, Thomas and Kristopher, but their marriage was a violent one. When Bolingbrook police responded to a domestic disturbance complaint at the couple's home, though, nothing happened: Drew was one of their own.

Drew and Stacey Peterson
Drew and Stacey Peterson
In 2001, Peterson met Stacy Cales, a front desk clerk at the Springhill Suites Hotel on Remington Boulevard in Bolingbrook. She had just graduated from Romeoville High School, a couple of miles south of Bolingbrook. She was 17. Drew Peterson was 47.

The two started dating.

"I had this uncontrollable need to take care of her," Peterson told The Chicago Tribune just three days after Stacy disappeared. "We just hit it off, and one thing led to another. It wasn't something I planned. It was a very romantic time."

At first, the 30-year difference in their ages was an issue, but Peterson later claimed Stacy didn't mind.

"She was beautiful, and it was exciting having a young, beautiful woman interested in me," Drew Peterson told NBC News in December 2007. "And I pursued the relationship."

Stacy told friends she felt safe with her police sergeant boyfriend. He bought her gifts. He took her places. He bought her a car. He rented her an apartment.

In October 2001, Kathleen received an anonymous letter conveying the bitterly ironic news that her husband was carrying on an affair with a teenager. A few months later, Kathleen and Drew Peterson both filed for divorce, within a day of each other. Kathleen asked for child support, alimony, and her half of the marital assets, which included their cars, their cash, their home, their investments, and their two businessesa printing shop and a bar.

By then Drew Peterson was an old hand at the divorce game, and he knew that this divorce, potentially his third, had the potential to cost him a lot of money.

Unless he inherited everything.

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