Sources: Several Theories on Laci's Death

Saturday, April 26, 2003

SACRAMENTO — As police await autopsy results on the body of Laci Peterson, law enforcement sources said Saturday there are several theories on how the pregnant woman was possibly killed.

Sources tell Fox News that the 27-year-old woman could have been beaten, hit over the head, strangled or even poisoned.

They believe she was killed in her house on Dec. 23, the night before her husband, Scott Peterson, reported her missing. The autopsy results, which could determine the exact cause of death, are expected in about two weeks.

Several pieces of evidence point to possible attempts by Peterson to cover up foul play, sources said.

They point out that various chemicals were found on the mop he possibly used to clean the kitchen floor on Dec. 24, even though a cleaning maid had visited the house Dec. 23. Peterson told investigators the maid only finished cleaning half of the floor, but the maid has denied that to police.

Moreover, sources said Peterson vacuumed the living room on Dec. 24, in addition to washing his clothes. He told police his clothes smelled from fishing. But sources say his fishing gear did not appear "used" and that Scott wasn't in the habit of cleaning his own clothes – he'd always left them for his wife.

Investigators are still searching for missing items they believe belong to Scott: a 55-gallon drum, for which he had a receipt, but whose disappearance he could not explain; several large, cement blocks; several fishing weights; and fishing hooks.

Sources say those items could be on the floor of the San Francisco Bay, where Laci Peterson's body was found. The body of her unborn son was also discovered on the bay’s shore.

This weekend investigators are using sonar to determine if they can find any unusual objects in the water, and if so, they will soon send divers in.  Bad weather has thus far stymied a thorough search of the bay.

Investigators are also looking for the rest of Laci Peterson's body – only her torso had washed ashore – for other clues regarding the cause of death, sources said.

Late Friday, Stanislaus County District Attorney James Brazelton announced he would seek the death penalty against Peterson, who was arrested last week on murder charges in the deaths of his wife and their unborn son.

Brazelton made the announcement in a statement issued shortly after he met with Laci Peterson's relatives.

Kim Petersen, a spokeswoman for Laci Peterson's family, said Friday they would not comment on the decision.

The bodies of Laci Peterson and the unborn son the couple had planned to name Conner washed ashore about three miles from where Peterson said he was fishing when his pregnant wife vanished Christmas Eve.

Peterson, a former fertilizer salesman, pleaded innocent at his arraignment Monday, declaring "I am not guilty" before an audience that included his in-laws and parents. He appeared to be holding back tears as he was ushered from the courtroom in ankle chains and handcuffs.

He is being held without bail.

Peterson has maintained he played no role in his wife's disappearance. He took part in many searches as hundreds of volunteers joined police to spread out across California, looking in creeks, canals and reservoirs.

Fox News’ Rita Cosby and the Associated Press contributed to this report.