Weather Forces Peterson Searchers To Shore

 

POSTED: 8:33 a.m. PST March 12, 2003
UPDATED: 6:16 p.m. PST March 14, 2003
Blustery winds and choppy waters Thursday morning forced investigators to halt their search of the San Francisco Bay off Richmond for any clues as to the whereabouts of missing Modesto schoolteacher Laci Peterson, who vanished from her home the morning of Christmas Eve.

Divers were able to spend about three hours in the water, but the waves and wind from an approaching storm front forced them to return to the docks about 11 a.m. With stormy weather forecasted for the next several days, authorities said they were suspending the search until Monday.

Sgt. Ron Cloward, of the Modesto Police, said once the weather cleared, the divers would return to the waters to complete the search.

 

"It's professional, but I'll have to say it's personal as well," Cloward said of the search. "Everybody who has gotten involved from whatever agency have all said they want to keep working at it now. And they want to keep helping. They want to see it come to a close and help out."

In January, investigators searched the waters of the nearby Berkeley Marina for several days, but only found an old boat anchor. Scott Peterson, Laci's husband, has told authorities that he was on a day fishing trip to the marina when his wife vanished.

On Wednesday, Ron Frey, who claims his daughter was lured by lies into a relationship with Scott Peterson last November, sat down for a lengthy interview with KTVU's Ted Rowlands. He spoke frankly about his daughter's life since she came forward in January and told investigators she had been having a relationship with Peterson.

Amber Frey has been cooperating with investigators and is not a suspect in the case.

Since coming forward, Frey said, his daughter's life has been miserable with unknown people calling her and coming to her home.

Scott also has called her -- at least before Amber came forward in January.

"Well for the month of December, he was (calling)," Frey said. "As far as I could tell there was nothing different, nothing changed. Now when you look back, you think how many times has he deceived everybody.?"

Scott Peterson has said on several occasions that he told Amber about his wife shortly after Laci disappeared without a trace on Christmas Eve. But Ron Frey said that is not the case.

"Amber figured it out herself, Scott didn't tell her," Ron Frey said. "She had a client (Amber works as a massage therapist) who was a detective. They compared notes and figured out who is was - is - and she came forward."

Ron Frey said when they first met; Amber was very excited about spending time with Scott.

"She had been introduced by her girlfriend and was told he was a qualified person (not married) to be dating," he said. "She was quite excited. I think their first date was a picnic. A couple of times I watched my granddaughter (Amber has a daughter) and she (Amber) was so happy. Every once and a while I would ask her how things were going. It was just progressing."

"She was so proud of him, she gave me some pictures. She said 'Here's a picture of my boyfriend.' I put the picture on my refrigerator."

It was a photo -- of Amber and Scott at a Christmas party -- that would later haunt the elder Frey.

"When I saw Scott and Laci Peterson on the TV, I kept thinking where have I seen that before," Frey said. "Well, I had seen the same identical picture of Scott and my daughter Amber."

He said he has wanted to confront Peterson about what he has done to his daughter, but did not think it was appropriate while the investigation into Laci's disappearance was going on.

"I've never spoken to Scott," he said. "If this was not a missing person's case, I would have had to call Scott and tell him this has not been fair to my daughter...Since there is a missing person involved, it would not be appropriate for me to confront him."

"She (Amber) didn't deserve this. She did not deserve to have someone misled her the way he did. At the very beginning, she admitted she wanted to be in a relationship. She asked if he was qualified to be in a relationship. All indications were (that it was okay). To find out he was married and his wife was missing, that's not fair at all."

Frey said he now worries about his daughter's safety.

"There's questions in my mind," he said. "Everything I hear says he's (Scott) not a suspect or hasn't been clear as a suspect...It haunts me."

Meanwhile, Modesto police claim they are making progress in the case. But sources close to the investigation have told Rowlands an arrest may have been pushed back because the flood of items that has to be processed from a recent search of the Peterson home.

"It is proceeding at a pace that we feel is acceptable," said Capt. Greg Savelli. :"We believe that the detectives are following through on all the leads they are getting. When they come to a conclusion it will be relatively accurate. We hope for that resolution to come soon for the families of everybody involved.

The case of Laci Peterson -- who was eight months pregnant when she disappeared -- was reclassified last week from a missing person's case to a homicide. Scott Peterson has not been declared a suspect in the case, nor has he been cleared as a suspect.