Body Found In Missing Woman Case?

Search Turns Up Possible Body

BERKELEY, Calif., Jan. 10, 2003

(CBS) Police say divers searching for 27-year-old Laci Peterson with a sonar device discovered an object Thursday, possibly a human body. But bad weather coupled with fatigue forced them to put off their search at California's Berkeley Marina until the weekend.

That is the soonest they can get the equipment and divers back out there, Gloria Gomez of CBS Sacramento affiliate KOVR reports.

Police have searched for Peterson, of Modesto, Calif., since Christmas Eve when her husband reported her missing upon his return from a fishing trip he said he took that day to the Berkeley Marina.

Laci's mother Sharon Rocha tells NBC's "Today" show she doesn't feel what was found in the marina will end up being her daughter's body. Rocha says the family also doesn't believe Scott Peterson had anything to do with his wife's disappearance, and describes him as being "devastated."

She says the couple had a happy marriage and loved each other.

Peterson is eight months pregnant and her husband said he last saw her on the morning of Dec. 24. A neighbor found her dog later that day walking alone through the neighborhood and her car was still parked in her driveway.

Police say the divers will check the Berkeley waters again over the weekend to confirm the existence and identity of the submerged object.

"Saturday, weather and conditions permitting, divers will attempt to examine the object and determine what exactly it is," the police statement said.

Authorities pulled one body from the water earlier in the day, but quickly said it was not Peterson's. Further information about that body was not immediately available.

Later, at 6:30 p.m., police announced the sonar equipment had detected what could possibly be another body in the Berkeley Marina area.

"The divers tried to get to it today and they said the current was bad and the weather was bad," said Modesto police Sgt. Ron Cloward, the officer in charge of the marina search.

Scott Peterson, Laci's husband, has not been named as a suspect in the case. Police say they have not ruled anyone out in the woman's disappearance.

A reward for Laci Peterson's safe return has grown to $500,000.

The Modesto Police Department has received 2,610 tips thus far in the Peterson case. Modesto Police Detective Doug Ridenour says about 300 of the tips have come from psychics offering assistance.