By Chris Kramer
July 27, 2007 - Last week, an Illinois judge dismissed the divorce case of a missing Plainfield woman whose whereabouts have garnished national attention for various reasons.
Lisa Stebic was last seen by her husband Craig on April 30th at the family home. The couple had been in the midst of a divorce since December of last year. On the day of her disappearance, Stebic mailed her divorce attorney a petition to have her husband evicted from the family home that they had been sharing to make the transition easier for their two children, ages 10 and 12.
Craig Stebic, who was recently named a person of interest in the case, reportedly told the Chicago Tribune that he was unaware of this specific divorce petition. On July 13th, Craig Stebic's attorney motioned for this Illinois divorce case to be dismissed since it would be hard to move forward without Lisa Stebic present and the costs of the divorce would be high for both parties.
Will County Judge Joseph Polito dismissed the divorce proceedings on July 18th but did not give a reason for doing so.
Craig Stebic has refused to let authorities meet with the couple's children, who are now staying with his sister in Iowa. In part due to this consistent lack of cooperation, Craig Stebic was thus named a person of interest in the case.
Craig Stebic has maintained his innocence and not been charged with anything in this case. He has claimed that his children were at a candy store when Lisa left the couple's home without her car and only her cell phone and wallet around 6:30 p.m. on April 30th.
Authorities have said that the 37-year-old Lisa Stebic has not used her cell phone or credit card since the day she went missing. Police have indicated that Lisa Stebic might have been a victim of foul play.
Friends and family of Lisa Stebic have continued to seek tips on the whereabouts of the missing mother. Earlier this week, her family announced that three billboards will be unveiled in the Plainfield area asking drivers "Where is Lisa Stebic?"
The billboards feature a photo of a smiling Lisa Stebic and include information for the $60,000 reward and a tip hotline, 815-267-7217. The space was donated by CBS Outdoor, with the company's general manager saying that the billboards would stay up for at least six weeks.
Earlier this month, the Lisa Stebic missing person case took an unusual turn when a Chicago reporter was photographed in her swimsuit at the Stebic home by a photographer from a rival station. Former NBC-5 reporter Amy Jacobsen was seen wearing a bikini and talking on the phone at the Stebic home in a photograph taken by a CBS-2 employee who was allegedly in a neighbor's backyard after being rebuffed from getting a comment on a story.
Jacobsen has said that she was on the way to a pool with her two children when Craig Stebic's sister Jill called her to talk about the case. Jacobsen brought her children to the Stebic home, where she said they went swimming with several other mothers and their children.
Channel 2 aired the photographs a couple of days later, and Jacobsen was shortly fired by NBC 5 after the controversy became national news and a forum for discussing journalism ethics. Jacobsen said that she did not handle the situation properly but added that she went to the Stebic home with her children to advance the story. She also expressed surprise over being fired.