The first time Stephanie McNeil put up a sign for her missing brother, it didn't last through the weekend.
The second sign she had installed didn't last much longer, and the third was taken down by forest preserve officials.
Years passed and McNeil's brother John Spira, a popular St. Charles businessman and musician, remained missing.
McNeil sometimes feared her brother would be forgotten. But today she gets the chance to remind the world that he has not been found and that whoever made him vanish has gone unpunished.
"I'm totally ecstatic we've got (a sign) and the land owner agreed" to let it be posted on his property, McNeil said.
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The new sign will face Universal Cable Construction, the West Chicago business Spira co-owned with Winfield resident Dave Stubben when he vanished in February 2007.
McNeil said she wanted the sign to face the business "so that every time Dave Stubben drives by he can see John's smiling face. That's all I want."
According to reports obtained by Shorewood Patch from the DuPage County Sheriff's Department, Stubben made statements to detectives about Spira racking up “massive debt” in “excess of $1 million,” and speculated that this prompted his business partner to skip town.
Spira's friends, family and accountant have disputed the claim that Spira owed a great deal of money, or that he voluntarily vanished.
Stubben also declined to take a polygraph test about Spira's disappearance, according to police reports.
Phone messages left at Stubben's business and home were not returned. The man answering the phone and taking the message at Universal Cable Construction said, "I don't think he wants to talk about this" and "Don't hold your breath" waiting for a return call.
Six days after the sign is installed, a balloon release in Spira's memory will be held at New Trier West High School. Spira and McNeil are New Trier graduates.
McNeil hopes the sign might lead to a break in the investigation of her brother's disappearance, one that the police have classified a missing person case but she desperately wants labeled a homicide.
“Stop blaming John for his disappearance,” McNeil said in May. “Call this at the very least foul play, or better yet a homicide.”