Drew Peterson entered the spotlight over a year ago when his fourth wife, Stacy, mysteriously vanished. There has been no sign of the young woman, and the authorities consider Drew a suspect in her disappearance. Recently, the retired police officer announced that he is engaged to be married for the fifth time. His fiancée, Christina Raines, has moved in to the house he shared with Stacy, and where he still lives. This turn of events concerns Ernie Raines, Christina's father, and he wants his daughter to end her relationship.
"Now I've got to worry every night, every day that she's over there," Ernie laments. As if to address Drew, he says, "You know down deep she isn't coming back. That's why you're moving on. Anybody else wouldn't be doing that. Everybody else would be looking. They'd be grieving."
The television show Inside Edition caught up with Drew outside his home in Chicago. The reporter asks him, "Are you in love?" He laughs and says, "There's some serious lust going on."
"I'm letting Drew know, I'm watching my daughter. [If] I pick up that phone to call my daughter and she doesn't answer, I'm driving my Cadillac right through his house," he warns.
"What has she said to you about this?" Dr. Phil asks Ernie.
"She called me on the phone and texted me. She said, â€˜I love him, and I want to be with him,'" he says.
"And you pled with her not to do that?" Dr. Phil asks.
"I said, â€˜Why? Why would you want to do that?' I said, â€˜This guy is a murderer,'" Ernie recalls. He notes that he knows Drew and knew Stacy as well, and says, "He betrayed me." He says he had a conversation with Drew before he started seeing Christina and asked him not to cross the line with his daughter. "He pursued her."
Christina sent her father a text message after they argued about her moving in with Drew. The message said, "Dad, this is Chrissy. Sorry about last night. I really love Drew, and I am very happy. I can't help how I feel."
"It's disturbing, right?" Dr. Phil asks Ernie.
"Yeah. I've got to worry at night. If she crosses him, she could disappear," he says, fighting back tears.
Dr. Phil asks Nancy Grace, former prosecutor and host, HLN, "Is there anything he can do, legally, to protect his 24-year-old daughter?"
"The law gives him no recourse," she says. "She is not a minor. She's clearly not mentally incompetent."
"I'm really concerned for you, as a father," Dr. Phil tells Ernie. "You can monitor this situation, but you really don't want to alienate her."
"There are two children she's dragged into this mess. A 4-year-old and a 5-year old are now shacked up with a murder suspect," Nancy says. "That is so wrong, if she is exposing them to this situation."
Dr. Phil asks Lisa Bloom, trial attorney and anchor of In Session's Open Court, "The media spotlight is not going to protect her?"
"It's not, but it's going to help," Lisa says. Addressing Ernie, she continues, "What abusive men like to do, and what he did with Stacy, was to try to isolate her from her family â€¦ It's very important for you to keep the lines of communication open with your daughter. You hate the choice that she's making, but you're still going to keep in contact with her." She suggests he provide his daughter with a cell phone for her to have with her in case of emergency. "Do not let Drew Peterson isolate you from your daughter."
"Legally, is there something that can happen with Child Protective Services here?" Dr. Phil asks.
Lisa replies, "They could be called if you have any reasonable suspicion of harm to those children. I also think it's important that you keep the lines of communication open with your grandchildren. They're old enough to be verbal. Take those kids out on a regular basis, whenever you can. Talk to them about what's going on in the home. If you see any signs of danger, by all means, call Child Protective Services." She warns Ernie not to make threats. "I don't want to hear you talking about the Cadillac, because we don't want Drew Peterson to get a restraining order against you, to keep you away from that family. We want you to be as involved and in there on a regular basis as possible."
Dr. Phil asks Nancy, "Is there any cause of action he can pursue?"
"Right now, no, unless he perceives a threat to the 4- and 5-year old. Then, he can get involved," she says.
"You truly need to keep the lines of communication open, and there are some tools, some steps that you need to take to help protect her," Dr. Phil says to Ernie. He chooses not to tell the father on television, but in private after the show. "If I tell you now, then, obviously, that will negate what I tell you because [Drew] will know that as well as you." He reminds Ernie that he can't control his daughter, but he can try and influence her.