After years of being under investigation, accused wife-killer Drew Peterson was suddenly arrested on May 7 – yet no one knows what led authorities to finally swoop in and take the former police sergeant into custody…until now.

The ENQUIRER has uncovered the shocking evidence that may convict Peterson of the brutal murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio: a bone-chilling confession to a minister.

Before her disappearance in October 2007, Drew Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy, told her pastor, Neil Schori, that she KNEW her husband had killed Kathleen – and prosecutors are now planning to use the preacher’s testimony as the linchpin in the case against Peterson.

"The preacher is on the top of the witness list," said a source close to the investigation. "He is a large part of the case."

Stacy vanished on Oct. 28, 2007, just a few weeks after she visited the Rev. Schori and unloaded her terrible secret – that she saw Drew washing Kathleen’s bloodstained clothes less than 24 hours before Kathleen’s naked, lifeless body was found in a bathtub.

Stacy told the Rev. Schori that Drew, a former Bolingbrook, Ill., police sergeant, had asked her to provide him with an alibi. He wanted her to say he was home with her that night, but Stacy told the minister that she knew Drew was at Kathleen’s home several blocks away, according to the source.

In her confession, Stacy recalled awakening in the early morning hours of Feb. 29, 2004, the day before Kathleen’s body was found – and Drew was gone. She said she called out for him, but got no answer. And when she called his cell phone, he didn’t pick up, says the source.

A short time later, Stacy heard a noise and found Drew, dressed in black "like a ninja," in the laundry room, dumping bloodstained women’s clothes into their washing machine.

"Drew told Stacy she’d know where he’d been when the cops came by. He told her that she’d be his alibi," divulged the source.

Stacy didn’t go to the police out of fear for her own life. The Rev. Schori kept her shocking story secret at the time, but when Stacy vanished, the preacher felt compelled to provide state police with details of their dramatic conversation.

On May 7, after 18 months of testimony, a grand jury issued an indictment against Drew, and he was arrested that day on a first-degree murder charge.In his case against Drew, Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow is going to make use of a new Illinois law that makes it easier to use credible hearsay evidence from missing or deceased victims.
Police believe Drew murdered Stacy because she knew too much about Kathleen’s death, according to the source. "She probably was killed because of that, but Stacy got the message out by telling the preacher what she knew."

For an exclusive interview with Rev. Schori pick up the latest ENQUIRER – still on sale.