A Chicago television reporter negotiated her exit Tuesday after videotape surfaced of her at the home of missing mother Lisa Stebic, according to the Chicago Tribune.
WMAQ reporter Amy Jacobson, who has covered Stebic’s story, was caught on tape by the pool at the Stebics' home last week by rival channel WBBM Channel 2. The tape shows Jacobson “in a swimming suit top” at the pool on Friday with her children and Lisa Stebic’s estranged husband, Craig.
Neighbors told Channel 2 in Chicago that Jacobson has visited the Stebics' home frequently since she started covering the story.
Jacobson negotiated her exit on Tuesday, according to the Tribune. Vice President of News Frank Whittaker and News Director Camille Edwards notified the staff via a memo.
"We are sorry to tell you that Amy Jacobson is leaving NBC 5 News, effective immediately,'' the memo read, according to the Tribune.
"Amy's contribution as a reporter over the last 10 years are numerous. Her hustle and passion for news have given us an edge on many top stories. She's worked long hours on many days, and we appreciate all she's done.
"The last couple of days have been tough on everyone,'' the memo states. "We appreciate your understanding.''
According to the Tribune, the memo concludes: "We will miss Amy, and wish her the best."
Jacobson, a general assignment reporter, had been at the station since 1996.
Sources told the Chicago Sun-Times that Jacobson said she was on her way to a club to go swimming with her sons when Craig Stebic's sister, who was in town from Iowa, asked her to come to his house to talk about the case. Jacobson immediately was taken off the Stebic story and was told to hire a lawyer, the Sun-Times reported.
Channel 2 obtained the footage of Jacobson at Stebic's home Friday but held out until Tuesday to air it. They aired the footage and posted a story on their Web site after the Tribune and Sun Times reported the matter.
Jacobson’s attorney, Kathleen Zellner, said the tape should not be aired “because unauthorized taping on someone's property is a crime.”
"You can't just go around videotaping and disseminating the tape. ... To me, it begins and ends there.”
Stebic, 38, was last seen the evening of April 30. Her husband, Craig, told police he was in the backyard — and the couple’s two children were not at the house — when he thought someone picked his wife up for an exercise class. Her cell phone and credit cards have not been used since. Lisa and Craig Stebic were living in the same house but were in the midst of a divorce and rarely spoke.
Police have not yet named either a suspect or a person of interest in the case.