Berkeley Marina Offers Few Clues For Missing Woman

Authorities Trying To Pin Down Husband's Story

POSTED: 5:53 p.m. PST January 3, 2003

UPDATED: 12:07 p.m. PST January 4, 2003

A search for a missing pregnant woman has captured national attention and focused the efforts of hundreds of volunteers in Modesto, but the search for clues expands far beyond the valley.

The day Laci Peterson disappeared, her husband, Scott, told police he went on a one-day fishing trip alone, 80 miles from Modesto, to the Berkeley marina. That was Christmas Eve morning. And when he returned, she was gone.

Police are now trying to verify Scott's story and have already begun a search of the waters in the bay.

Bob Parrish has been around the Berkeley marina for 20 years.

"Normally, if you found one boat trailer on Christmas Eve, that would be average," Parrish said. "I saw it on television -- the Ford pickup truck with the molded rear."

Parrish was talking about the photos of the pickup truck and small fishing boat owned by Scott Peterson.

"Most people I know would never venture out in that boat here in this time of year," Parrish said.

But the weather was calm Christmas Eve morning, which is significant to sailor Jerry Fiddler.

"It's shallow quite a ways out. You can go almost three miles out, and its 15-feet deep. So unless its windy and choppy, its fine in a small boat," said boat owner Jerry Fiddler.

Berkeley police are aiding the investigation, trying to pin down Peterson's story. He reportedly had a ticket from a self-serve pay station at the boat launch.

The missing persons posters that are plastered all over Modesto are nowhere to be found at the marina, according to the harbormaster. He says that no one has reported seeing Peterson's boat.

"Not surprising, because people come out, they get set up, and they head out on the water. They don't spend a lot of time around the docks here," Fiddler said.

So far, it seems the Berkeley marina has yielded few clues. A Berkeley police officer said that his department's bay patrol has only conducted a small-scale search with respect to Laci's disappearance. Their focus, in helping Modesto police, is to gather information to verify husband Scott Peterson's whereabouts, according to officials.

Investigators have also decided to take their search east into the foothills.

Investigators Friday drove around the New Melones Reservoir and Lake Don Pedro in Calaveras and Tuolumne counties.

Both bodies of water are popular recreation spots, with New Melones serving as one of California's largest and deepest reservoirs.