PLAINFIELD, Ill. – The estranged husband of a suburban Chicago woman missing for more than two months was named a "person of interest" Thursday by police investigating her disappearance.
Police had previously been reluctant to name Craig Stebic as the subject of their investigation. He was the last person to report seeing Lisa Stebic on the evening of April 30; her credit cards and cell phone have not been used since.
Plainfield Police Chief Donald Bennett said at a news conference that authorities fear that Lisa Stebic has been a victim of foul play. Police have narrowed the focus of their investigation and "now consider Craig Stebic to be a person of interest in the case," Bennett said.
The couple were going through a divorce, but they still lived together with their two children in the family's home in Plainfield, about 35 miles southwest of Chicago.
Bennett said that Stebic has twice refused requests by police and the Will County state's attorney's office to let investigators talk to his children about their mother's disappearance
"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."
Bennett said the children were among the last people to see their mother before she disappeared April 30, and said authorities believe they may have "valuable information that will assist in the investigation."
The day Lisa Stebic disappeared, she had mailed off a petition seeking to remove her husband from their home. In the divorce case, she had accused him 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 10-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter 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.