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Police investigate new Stacy Peterson lead

From John Branch, CNN
Authorities confirmed Saturday a search for human remains is under way in response to a new lead.
Authorities confirmed Saturday a search for human remains is under way in response to a new lead.
  • NEW: Search halted Saturday night without discovery of remains, coroner says
  • Illinois State Police say they were acting on a new lead in woman's 2007 disappearance
  • Lawyer for Drew Peterson dismisses report about former cop's alleged confession

(CNN) -- Illinois State Police searched a wooded area in unincorporated Peoria County on Saturday in response to a new lead in the 2007 disappearance of Stacy Peterson.

No human remains had been discovered by the time the search was discontinued Saturday night, Peoria County Coroner Johnna Ingersoll said. Discussions are under way regarding whether to resume Sunday, she said.

Earlier Saturday, Ingersoll confirmed that officials were searching for human remains, but would not say whether the search was related to the Stacy Peterson case.

But Illinois State Police Master Sgt. Thomas Buek said investigators began searching the area at daybreak, acting on a tip that they'd deemed "credible enough that they're here following up on that."

He cautioned that police haven't said anything about remains or a body. For now, "we're conducting a search," he said.

Peterson's husband, former Bolingbrook, Illinois, police officer Drew Peterson, is in jail awaiting trial in the 2004 death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

The investigation into the disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy, led authorities to re-examine Savio's death and eventually press charges. He has not been charged in the disappearance of Stacy Peterson, who is still missing.

Meanwhile, Drew Peterson's attorney, Joel A. Brodsky, dismissed a published report Saturday that Peterson described to a fellow inmate how he supposedly killed Stacy Peterson.

He said Peterson is isolated from other inmates and could not have had the conversation described in a story on the celebrity gossip website

"This story cannot be true," Brodsky told CNN. "This is a fabrication, and it does not even make sense."

Brodsky also said he thinks Stacy Peterson is still alive.

"Ever since Stacy's disappeared there have been numerous rumors, gossip and reports about Drew Peterson," Brodsky said in a statement. "The one thing all of these stories have in common is that they always prove to be false, and there are never any facts or evidence to back them up."

Drew Peterson's trial in Savio's death was scheduled to begin June 14 but has since been postponed until July 8.

Peterson in April hired Joseph Lopez, a veteran criminal defense attorney nicknamed "The Shark," after two other attorneys resigned from his case. Lopez is known in legal circles and among mafia buffs for representing some of Chicago's most notorious mobsters.

CNN's Emanuella Grinberg and Jim Kavanagh contributed to this report.