Woman seeks justice for sister missing since 1990
By Janet Lundquist firstname.lastname@example.org August 13, 2012 5:46PM
Crestwood resident Jody Walsh (center) hands out flyers to raise awareness for her missing sister and Beecher resident Robin Abrams, who has been missing since 1990 as seen outside the Will County Courthouse Monday, Aug. 13, 2012, in Joliet. Monday marked Robin's 50th birthday. | Matthew Grotto~Sun-Times Media
The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, a website run by the U.S. Department of Justice, is a national database of missing person information. According to the site, findthemissing.org, there are 155 open missing person cases in Illinois — 143 females, 112 males. Here are some other of Will County’s well-known missing person cases:
Jeri Lynn Duvall, 30,
Reported missing June 12, 1990
Jeri Duvall, a mother of two girls, last was seen at home by her husband, Robert Duvall, on June 8, 1990. He reported her missing four days later, at the insistence of Jeri’s mother. No trace of her has been found. Police call Robert Duvall the sole suspect in Jeri’s disappearance. Duvall never has been charged in connection with the case.
Lisa Michelle Stebic, 37,
Reported missing May 1, 2007
Lisa Stebic reportedly left her home on foot about 6 p.m. April 30, carrying her purse and cell phone. No trace of the mother of two has been found. The last person to see her alive, her husband, Craig Stebic, has been named a “person of interest” in her disappearance but has not been charged in connection with the case.
Stacy Ann Peterson, 23,
Reported missing Oct. 29, 2007
Stacy Peterson, a mother of two and stepmother of two, was supposed to meet a relative the morning of Oct. 28, 2007, to help paint a home, but she never arrived. Her family became worried when they could not reach her on her cell phone and called police the next morning, despite a claim by her husband, Drew Peterson, that he spoke to Stacy by phone at 9 p.m. Oct. 28. Drew Peterson is on trial for the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. He has not been charged in the disappearance of Stacy Peterson.
Updated: September 15, 2012 6:08AM
JOLIET — Jody Walsh stood outside the Will County Courthouse in the chilly rain Monday morning, a demonstration of the fact that time cannot tarnish true love.
She was passing out fliers printed with her missing sister’s information.
Robin Abrams was 28 when she disappeared on Oct. 4, 1990. Abrams would have turned 50 on Monday, Walsh said.
“It was raining ... but I did it anyway. I felt like I was supposed to do that,” said Walsh, 53, of Crestwood.
Abrams last was seen by her father as they drove past each other on a country road near their Beecher home.
She was headed out for the night and never came home.
Abrams’ parents reported her missing the morning of Oct. 5, 1990.
Police found her car that morning in Harvey, parked with the doors locked and the keys in the ignition. Several days later, someone found her purse in a residential area a few blocks away.
According to Illinois State Police Master Sgt. Dan Likens, who would not comment on the case, the investigation still is open.
Abrams was fired from her job as a Will County sheriff’s deputy in 1989, about a year after she was hired. She claimed it was because she ended an affair with a married deputy and had sought an order of protection against him after her tires were slashed four times.
On Dec. 13, 1989, Abrams filed a federal lawsuit against her former lover and seven other members of the sheriff’s department alleging wrongful termination and sexual harassment.
There was a hearing set for Oct. 22, 1990. Her case was dismissed Jan. 9, 1991, because Abrams was missing.
State police were assigned to investigate the case. A Will County grand jury also investigated Abrams’ disappearance in the summer of 1991, and authorities named Abrams’ former lover and his stepbrother as suspects.
The investigation was led by then-Will County State’s Attorney Edward Burmila, who now is the judge presiding over Drew Peterson’s murder trial.
The grand jury ordered the two men to stand in a witness lineup and submit blood, head and pubic hair samples, fingerprints and palm prints.
The men appealed the ruling, which eventually was overturned by the Illinois Supreme Court, which said the grand jury’s order violated their constitutional right to privacy. They have not been charged in connection with the case.
According to published reports, a few years later investigators dug under a house in Joliet that the stepbrother had worked on. Radar had picked up something suspicious there, they said at the time, but nothing was found.
Memories brought back
Walsh said she felt a familiar twist in her gut when she heard about the disappearances of Lisa Stebic and Stacy Peterson in 2007.
She also said she was glad the Drew Peterson murder trial was not in session Monday when she took to the courthouse plaza.
“I don’t want to do anything to bring the attention away from that important case. Because she was a loved person, too,” Walsh said. “I do truly wish that justice would be served for (Lisa and Stacy).”
Now, almost 22 years after her sister disappeared, Walsh presses on. She stopped at the Will County state’s attorney’s office Monday morning and scheduled a meeting with investigators.
“I know she’s dead,” Walsh said. “But there’s people that did this that need to pay for it.
“I’ve never given up hope. I never will,” she said. “Until I die, I will never give up hope. Somebody knows something. And, hopefully, they’ll do the right thing.”