By Hal Dardick and Jo Napolitano
Tribune staff reporters – Chicago Tribune
Published July 13, 2007
Citing the “minimal assistance” of Craig Stebic in finding his missing wife, Lisa, police on Thursday labeled him “a person of interest” in what they now say is a case of foul play.
Plainfield Police Chief Donald Bennett made the announcement at a news conference attended by about a dozen reporters. After the bespectacled chief read from a text and answered three questions posed to him previously, he quickly left the room as one reporter tried to ask if “person of interest” was the same as “suspect.”
Asked later in a telephone interview what it meant to define Stebic as a person of interest, the chief said: “He’s the focus of our investigation. We’d love to talk to him. Craig Stebic was the last person to see Lisa at her own residence.”
The term “person of interest” has no universally agreed upon legal meaning, said Richard Kling, a defense attorney and clinical professor at Chicago-Kent College of Law. It can refer to a potential witness but most often is a euphemism for suspect, he said.