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Decaying Body Found In Des Plaines River Raises Possibility Of Being Lisa Stebic Or Stacy Peterson

05/21/09 08:50 PM ET   AP

River

JOLIET, Ill. — An autopsy performed Thursday on a headless, armless skeleton found along the Des Plaines River yielded inconclusive results, leaving questions about whether the badly decomposed body was one of two women whose disappearances have drawn national media attention.

The skeletal remains were not enough to determine an identity, race or gender of the corpse, Will County Coroner Patrick O'Neil's office said in a statement. An expedited DNA analysis by the Illinois State Police Forensic Crime Laboratory likely will take about two weeks, O'Neil said.

The coroner's office also said the person had been dead "several months or more."

Shreds of blue jeans and a small amount of U.S. currency were also found along with the remains, which were found in Will County by a cleanup crew.

The county was home to Stacy Peterson, whose husband Drew has been charged with killing his third wife, Kathleen Savio. Drew Peterson, who has pleaded not guilty in Savio's death, contends that Stacy, his fourth wife, left him for another man when she disappeared in October 2007.

Savio's death was originally ruled an accidental drowning. It was reclassified as a homicide after her body was exhumed and an autopsy conducted following Stacy Peterson's disappearance.

Lisa Stebic, a mother of two, was last seen in Plainfield in April 2007 and authorities have named Stebic's husband, Craig, as a "person of interest" in her disappearance. He has not been charged.

A search for the body's missing parts would continue, O'Neil said. Illinois State Police divers searched the river Thursday, a day after helicopter and ground crews swept the area near where the body was discovered.

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Filed by Ben Goldberger  |