Sgt. Peterson's Third Wife Begged for Help at Least 17 Months Before Mysterious Death

It seems that Sgt. Drew Peterson's third wife, Kathleen Savio, took all the right steps to protect herself from an abusive husband. She spoke to police, obtained an order of protection, called 911 after frightening arguments, went to the hospital to report injuries and even wrote to an assistant state's attorney with concerns about her safety.

Kathleen Savio was Peterson’s third wife who died in her bathtub under mysterious circumstances in March 2004. According to documents, she feared that her cop husband would kill her and pleaded with authorities for help at least 17 months before she died.

In a November 2002 letter to an assistant state's attorney in Chicago, she wrote that she had tried three times to reach her to discuss charges that she had filed against Drew. (The state's attorney's office says they have no record of having received the letter.)

In the letter, Savio desperately asked for assistance: "Their (sic) have been several times throughout my marriage with this man where I ended up at the emergency room in Bolingbrook for injuries and I have reported this only to have the police leave my home without filing any reports," she wrote.

The fights that Kathleen recounted to in the two-page letter are frightening. In July 2002 she claims that Drew let himself in her house and waited for her. As she walked down the stairs with her laundry basket, he surprised her. According to Savio, he shouted for her to sit down and then pushed her when she refused. After arguing about child support payments, Kathleen says that Drew told her that she "just needed to die." She says that he then pulled out a knife and brought it to her neck. "I thought I’d never see my boys again," she wrote. "My sons and I would like to move away from this area for our safety and sanctity," she stated before adding this chilling line: "He knows how to manipulate the system and his next step is to take my children away or kill me instead."

Seventeen months later she was found dead in a bathtub. A coroner's jury ruled her death accidental. Charges were not filed against Peterson. The coroner told the AP: "Certain aspects of Kathleen Savio's death raised concerns for me as well. At the very least, her death should have been ruled 'undetermined.'" Thursday, the coroner's office changed the cause of her death to "undetermined" and they plan to exhume her body.

Savio’s sister, Anna Marie Doman, spoke to reporters about the coroner re-examining the case. "Are we open to it? Are you kidding?" asked her sister. "She'd be having a party up there. I know [exhumation] is kind of creepy, but if that's what it takes, that's what it takes."

Savio was successful in obtaining an order of protection against her ex-husband in 2002, but it doesn’t appear that Savio was pleased with the protection she received. Bolingbrook police officials confirmed making 18 domestic calls to the home.

Eighteen? Police say they always fully investigated each case and that they turned over the results to state police, but how much really was done? The poor woman was clearly in an abusive relationship and her death deserved greater scrutiny than it seems to have received.

Even if Savio’s death was an accident, 18 domestic calls, pleas for help from state officials and concerns that she allegedly shared with her family warranted a serious investigation into her death.

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