Police Name Husband 'Person Of Interest' In Wife's Disappearance From Suburban Chicago

Thursday, July 12th 2007, 8:27 pm
By: News On 6

PLAINFIELD, Ill. (AP) _ An estranged husband of a suburban Chicago woman missing for more than two months was named a ``person of interest'' Thursday by police who said they fear she was a victim of foul play.

Craig Stebic, the last person to report seeing Lisa Stebic on April 30, has ``offered only minimal assistance to detectives'' and twice refused to let investigators talk to their children, a police chief said.

The couple was going through a divorce, but they still lived together with their two children. On the day she disappeared, Lisa Stebic had mailed a petition seeking to remove Craig Stebic from their home.

The case made headlines this week when a local television reporter was fired after video surfaced of her in a swimsuit near the pool of Stebic's home.

Amy Jacobson has said she was just aggressively pursuing a source on her day off.

At a news conference, Plainfield Police Chief Donald Bennett said Craig Stebic has refused to participate in any of the searches organized by his wife's family or let police talk to his children, ages 10 and 12.

``Police have logged thousands of hours in this investigation and have pursued every viable lead,'' Bennett said. ``Unfortunately, Mr. Stebic had denied investigators the crucial opportunity to conduct a thorough, in-person interview with his children.''

The children were among the last people to see their mother, Bennett said, and authorities believe they may have ``valuable information that will assist in the investigation.''

There has been no activity on Lisa Stebic's credit cards, checking account or cell phone since her disappearance and police have found no signs that she left the house ``of her own free will,'' Bennett said.

Friends and family members told police she never would have abandoned her children, and authorities are ``now focusing on the scenario that she is most likely the victim of foul play,'' Bennett said.

Stebic told a reporter who approached his spacious 2-story home about 35 miles southwest of Chicago: ``You know I can't talk to you guys. Call my lawyer.''

His divorce attorney Dion Davi said he has counseled Stebic not to allow the children to be questioned and that the youngsters already talked to authorities a day or two after their mother's disappearance.

``There does not appear to be any new information upon which to question them,'' Davi said.

The attorney said his client is trying to make sure his children have as normal a summer as possible.

Noting his client is ``as strong as he can be,'' Davi said: ``Craig maintains the statements he has always stated from day one. He is innocent of anything that has happened with Lisa.''

In the divorce case, Lisa Stebic had accused her husband of being ``unnecessarily relentless, cruel, inconsiderate, domineering and verbally abusive.'' In May, police carried out a search warrant on the couple's home and vehicles, but a judge sealed its contents.

Stebic, whose 38th birthday was in May, had worked her normal shift in a nearby elementary school cafeteria on the day of her disappearance and was home when her children arrived from school.

Craig Stebic has said that he saw his wife leave the house carrying only her cell phone and purse. He reported her missing the next morning.