For nearly a decade, former police officer Drew Peterson has steadfastly maintained his innocence in the 2007 disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy. In public statements and court records, he has alleged that the then-25-year-old woman left him for another man.
He insisted that Stacy Peterson was still alive even as he faced trial for killing his third wife, Kathleen Savio, in 2004. He was sentenced in 2012 to 38 years in prison for Savio’s murder, but has never faced trial in Stacy’s disappearance.
But even his son doesn’t believe in his innocence.
In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Peterson’s son, Stephen, said that his father “probably” killed both wives.
“Over time, you hear enough [from police],” Stephen Peterson, 37, told the newspaper. “They can’t all be full of s—. I don’t want to come out and say he did it … but, I’m sure he did it.”
Stephen Peterson told the newspaper that he doesn’t know the details of Stacy’s disappearance. He also adds that his father still insists that he’s innocent.
A Son’s Burden
The disastrous fallout from Drew Peterson murder trial of Savio has impacted Stephen.
In 2011, Stephen was fired from his job as a police officer after officials learned that he had stored his father’s guns and checks totaling more than $200,000 after Stacy’s disappearance. He has not worked since.
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His marriage soon ended, and Stephen moved into his father’s home. He is the guardian of Drew and Stacy Peterson’s middle-school-aged sons.
He told the newspaper that his father “kind of put us in a really bad situation I have to clean up now.”
Drew Peterson’s situation keeps getting worse: Last year, he was convicted of hiring a hit man in an attempt to kill the prosecutor in his murder case. He was sentenced to 40 additional years in prison, to be served after the 38 years he is currently serving. Peterson is 63.
Peterson has never been charged for Stacy’s disappearance, and police are still investigating the case. Peterson remains a suspect, although he has adamantly maintained his innocence.
In court last year, fellow inmate Antonio Smith testified that Peterson had called Stacy “a dead woman” while discussing the case.
PEOPLE reached out to Peterson’s attorneys, but did not immediately receive a response.
Speaking Out About His Father
The usually reticent Stephen Peterson refuses most interview requests, but he spoke with the Tribune to talk about his appearance on Monster in My Family, a documentary that aired on the Lifetime Network.
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The younger Peterson said that he had been supporting his family with his father’s pension. The day after the payments were cut off, he was offered $10,000 to appear on the Lifetime show – money he said he desperately needed.
“The time was right,” he told the Tribune.
He also said he told his father that he was going to appear on the show because he needed the money. He’s not sure if Drew Peterson watched the episode.
“I’m sure he’ll be upset,” Stephen Peterson told the paper. “Not like his opinion matters now.”