Who Was Patricia Sue Peterson? How Did Michael Peterson’s Ex-Wife Patricia Sue Peterso Die? – Viewers have been discussing the real-life case of Michael Peterson and his wife Kathleen nonstop since the new true crime series The Staircase on Sky Atlantic, and HBO premiered.
The eight-part series chronicles the tale of Michael, a crime author who was found guilty of killing Kathleen (Toni Collette) in 2001 after she was discovered dead at the bottom of the stairs in their home. In the Spiral series, Colin Firth played Michael’s role. Trini Alvarado played Patricia Sue Peterson’s role in The Staircase.
Michael’s primary defender throughout his murder trial was his first wife’s ex-wife Patricia Sue Peterson, who insisted on his innocence throughout. But who was Patricia Sue Peterson, the ex-wife?
Recommended: Is Michael Peterson Gay or Bisexual in Real-Life?
Patricia Sue Peterson: Who Was She?
Patricia “Patty” Sue Balkman Peterson, who was born on March 12, 1943, into a military family in Paris, Arkansas, seems to have always lived a life of order, discipline, honesty, love, and compassion. After earning her Bachelor’s in English from the University of Texas and her Master’s in Education from UNC-Chapel Hill, she decided to work for the US Department of Defense as a teacher. She held this position for an incredible 35 years, most of which were spent in Germany. During this time, she also tried her best to balance her responsibilities as a loving mother and the wife of a Marine veteran.
Midway through the 1960s, Patty and Michael Peterson got married. She then gave birth to their two sons, Clayton and Todd, before happily embracing their daughters, Margaret and Martha, into their family. The girls’ inclusion was unexpected given that their original mother, a neighbour and Patty’s close friend Elizabeth Ratliff, had passed away, but the Petersons were unfazed. The couple raised the then-toddlers as their own with honour, and their love for them is said to have persisted even after their divorce two years after the occurrence.
Patricia Sue Peterson’s Cause of Death
Although Patty and Michael officially split in 1987, their friendship remained very strong and only got better after the passing of his second wife, Kathleen. That’s because Patty not only stood by him in private, but she also defended him in court when the hauntingly similar death of Elizabeth Ratliff was used to charge him with murder. Michael was the last person to see both women alive before they were discovered dead at the foot of the stairs, but Patty insisted there was no way he could have killed them.
Patty even attempted to dispel rumours that he had an extramarital relationship with Elizabeth by characterising their relationship as familial. Regarding Patricia “Patty” Sue Peterson, she sadly passed away at Duke University Hospital on July 8, 2021, after suffering a severe heart attack. According to her eldest son, Clayton, her mother was kind and caring in nature. She was in excellent condition before she died. But from July 7 onwards, his health started deteriorating.
Michael called Patty’s kids, who then dialled 911, as Patty had been residing with her ex-husband in a southwest Durham apartment for around two years. After Patty passed away, Clayton explained his parents’ relationship as “companions.” “They looked out for one another.”
The Staircase is currently streaming on HBO Max in the US and Sky Atlantic in the UK.