Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Missing Tuesday - Lisa Stebic

Every year, over 15,000 people go missing from the Chicago area alone.  Lisa Stebic disappeared on April 30, 2007, from Plainfield, IL, a western suburb of Chicago.  Her family recently marked the fifth anniversary of her disappearance, a sad occasion.

Lisa was last seen on April 30, 2007, around 6 p.m. at her home in Plainfield. According to her husband Craig, Lisa left home around 6 p.m. to go work out at the track at a nearby school.  No one saw Lisa at the high school track that evening, and she was reported missing the next day, May 1, by a co-worker when Lisa failed to show up for her job at Lincoln Elementary School, where she worked in the cafeteria.

Lisa was born Lisa Michelle Ruttenberg on May 19, 1969.  Lisa married Craig Stebic in 1993, and the couple had two children, Zach and Lexi.  On the day of their mother's disappearance, the two children had walked to a neighborhood store to buy candy. 

Lisa’s car was parked in the driveway of their home, but her purse and cell phone were gone. There has been no activity on her cell phone or credit cards since she disappeared.

Lisa and her husband Craig were in the middle of a divorce. Craig filed for divorce in 2007 after 14 years of marriage, citing irreconcilable differences.  The couple continued to live in the same house but according to witnesses, were barely speaking to each other.  Lisa's family states she had filed a petition for eviction on the same day she went missing.  Friends say that Craig was very controlling and restrictive. 

At the beginning of the investigation, Craig cooperated fully with the police, even handing over the family's computer for analysis.  The police consider Craig to be a person of interest in her disappearance, but have not charged him with any wrong-doing. Craig told police that Lisa was a good mother and would never have just walked away from her children.  He insists he had nothing to do with Lisa’s disappearance and was working in the backyard went he thought he heard her leave the house for her regular workout. Police say that he refused a polygraph and is no longer cooperating with them, and communicates through his lawyer.  Craig has refused to allow his children to speak to authorities about their mother's disappearance, as he wants them to live as normal a life as possible under the circumstances.  Shortly after Lisa disappeared, Craig hosted a pool party at his home that was attended by WBBM reporter Amy Jacobson.  Film footage showed Jacobson wearing a bikini at the party.

Craig Stebic filed for sole custody of his children but a judge denied the request.  His lawyer told reporters that the reason for the motion was that he feared that Lisa would return, take the children, and disappear again.  Approximately a year after Lisa disappeared, Craig filed a motion to have their divorce proceedings dismissed, which was granted by a Will County judge.  Craig's lawyer, Dion Davi, is currently suing him for unpaid legal bills over $10,000.

Lisa Stebic in 2007

Authorities now believe that foul play was involved with Lisa's disappearance.  Divers searched several bodies of water near the Stebic home, and police and friends have searched nearby Silver Spring State Park as well as an estate on the Michigan-Wisconsin border owned by the Stebic family located in an area that has a number of abandoned mines.  The FBI also joined the search for Lisa but no new evidence has been found.  The Stebic home and automobiles were searched, but police have not released any information regarding the search.  Her disappearance bears some eerie similarities to the disappearance of Stacy Peterson in October of that same year.  Lisa's family continues to work to keep the investigation alive and her story in the public's view.  A reward is being offered for any information about Lisa's disappearance.

Lisa is 5 feet, 2 inches tall and weighs 125 lbs. She has long brown hair and brown eyes. Today she would be 42 years old. She has two visible tattoos, a small rose on her ankle and a large butterfly on her lower back. Her family has established a website, www.findlisastebic.com. If you have any information about Lisa, please contact the Plainfield police department at 815/267-7217.

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