By Kevin Guilfoile
For three years running the last week of October has given Chicago its Days of the Dead.
Yesterday was the anniversary of the disappearance of Stacy Peterson, the suburban housewife, gone missing and presumed dead.
Last Friday, October 24, was the two-year anniversary of the savage stabbing murder of Dr. David Cornbleet by one of his patients in the dermatologist's Michigan Avenue office.
And next year around this time we will have another grim anniversary, that of the Hudson slayings, including the kidnapping and murder of seven-year-old Julian King.
These murders have one thing in common besides the date: As of this writing they are, to different degrees, unresolved.
The body of Stacy Peterson has never been found. Her husband Drew remains the primary person of interest in the case, but he's never been charged. He continues to appear on television--local news, the Today Show--for reasons that aren't entirely clear. He insists he is innocent and that Stacy ran away with another man.
Hans Peterson confessed to the murder of Dr. Cornbleet. Because he turned himself in to French authorities on the island of St. Martin, and because his mother was born in France, Hans will be tried under French law on the island of Guadaloupe for the murder of an American, by an American, that was plotted and executed entirely on American soil. The French have yet to charge Peterson with murder, although he has been sitting in an island prison for over a year. I am told that under French law a judge can hold him on "suspicion" for up to four years without trying him. Indeed, no timetable or trial date have been set.
In the Hudson murders police have focused on William Balfour, the estranged husband of Julian's mother Julia Hudson (Julia is also the sister of singer and actress Jennifer Hudson). According to today's Tribune, police may be looking for an accomplice, as well.
Homicides occur every week in Chicago, which this year holds the dubious distinction of the nation's highest murder rate. So far this year, 150 more Americans have been killed in Chicago than in Iraq. But lately, in the last days of October, which have traditionally been ones in which we remember our dead, it seems we've been getting some horrible extras.
Murders that horrify us, that defy explanation--cases that refuse to close, that refuse to go away.