Five Months Later: Still No Answers in Disappearance of Lisa Stebic
CHICAGO – The family of a missing suburban Chicago mom who disappeared five months ago still has no answers as to what happened to their loved one, though they believe she is a victim of foul play.
Lisa Stebic was reported missing on April 30. Craig Stebic, her husband, said he was working in the family’s backyard and the children were out when she vanished.
“She did not just walk away," Melanie Greenberg, cousin of Lisa Stebic, told FOXNews.com. "She did not run off and leave her children. Something happened to her.”
The family doesn't just want answers — they want to put Lisa Stebic to rest.
"We know that Lisa is a victim of foul play," Greenberg said. "Whether we will ever find Lisa's body, I don't know. But our family needs closure one way or another."
• Click here for photos of Lisa Stebic.
The case remains active months later after police recently met with the FBI and Will County State's Attorney to review evidence and determine their next move in the investigation.
Police named Craig Stebic a person of interest in the disappearance of his wife in July.
"The case still remains a top priority," said Charles Pelkie, spokesman for Will County State's Attorney Jim Glasgow. "Everybody wants to find out what happened to this missing person."
No clues or evidence suggest that Lisa left on her own with no activity on her credit cards or cell phone to prove that theory. Police suspect foul play.
"You can't give up hope that she won't be found," said Plainfield Police Chief Donald Bennett. "We're just hoping at some point in time something will turn up."
Prosecutors are considering subpoenaing Stebic’s two young children, ages 11 and 12, who were the last to see her alive. Craig Stebic and his lawyer have declined bringing the children before a grand jury or using a neutral child advocate to interview them.
Officials prefer to interview the children at a child advocacy center with trained specialists instead of forcing them to appear before a grand jury in an effort to shield them from further trauma, Pelkie said.
The children are back at school in Plainfield, Ill., but without their mom at home — or at school, where she worked as a cafeteria worker.
Two cafeteria workers, Ruby Zegar and Betty Stubner, requested a transfer to another school because there were too many memories with Lisa at Lincoln Elementary School where the trio worked together.
Kim Young, food service manager for Plainfield, Ill., elementary schools, spoke with Lisa on the phone the day she disappeared.
“She was happy, full of life,” Young said, adding that they laughed together about plans for a Cinco de Mayo party.
Young said Zegar and Stubner aren’t the only ones who remember Lisa. Students at the school ask about her too.
“It’s very somber," Young said. "The fifth graders, they know. They say ‘we miss her.’“
The family continues to raise money for the reward of information leading to her whereabouts, reaching more than $67,000 after several recent garage sales and other fundraisers.
Greenberg, the family spokeswoman, said she can’t believe the continued outpouring of support from the community.
“It just blows my mind that people still care so much,” Greenberg said. “They still feel a need to do something.”
A recent garage sale collected $2,200 while a hair salon event held a butterfly release. The butterfly was Lisa’s symbol, Greenberg said. Lisa got a butterfly tattoo on her back a few months before her disappearance in celebration of making change in her life.
• Click here for more information about Lisa Stebic.
Billboards along Chicago highways ask “Where is Lisa Stebic?” along with her photo and a phone number to call with information. The family plans to put the ad on billboards near the Stebic cabin in Iron County, Mich., with the start of hunting season.
A judge granted Craig Stebic's request to dismiss his petition seeking a divorce in January from his missing wife, Lisa, in July. The divorce petition cited irreconcilable differences.
Craig Stebic filed the petition a day after Plainfield, Ill., police named him a person of interest. His lawyer called the timing of the filing insignificant.
Meanwhile, another Chicago woman disappeared on Sept. 19 after she didn't show up for a work meeting. Police found her body Thursday behind vacant businesses. Greenberg said her heart goes out to the family since she understands what they are going through.