Where Is Scott Peterson?


POSTED: 7:54 a.m. PST February 6, 2003
UPDATED: 10:06 a.m. PST February 8, 2003

Modesto authorities were not talking Friday, but the whereabouts of Scott Peterson -- the focus of the investigation into his wife's disappearance -- remained a mystery after he attended a fertilizer conference in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Peterson checked out of his room in Guadalajara on Wednesday and his mother told KTVU on Friday morning that his family has not heard from him over the last 48 hours.

Appearing on Mornings on 2, veteran private investigator Nick Montano said if he were Scott Peterson, he'd be looking for a place to live in Mexico.

"If I were him, I'd be looking for a place to live," he said. "Because his life is over. Even if they find out that some really bad guy kidnapped Laci Peterson, and he's exonerated, he's done in California."

Montano also urged caution on the behalf of the public when they look at the case.

In Modesto, Peterson's latest actions -- his trip to Mexico, the trading in of his wife's Land Rover for a new truck and an apparent attempt to begin the sale process of the couple's home -- has people wondering.

"I would not be going to Mexico," said local resident Dealoris Harris when asked about the case. "I would not be selling her vehicle. I would not be trying to put my house on the market. To me, those are actions of man who thinks his wife is not coming home."

Meanwhile, the two families involved in the case -- Scott's family and Laci Peterson's family, the Rochas -- seem to be drifting apart. Each was planning to launch a separate weekend search.

The Petersons were asking residents across the country to search their own neighborhoods for any sign of Laci.

The Rochas were asking volunteers to seek the Delta Mendota Canal area of Modesto --one of the areas suggested to them by Modesto police -- on Saturday.

A Rocha family spokeswoman said she did not think the latest developments in the case would keep volunteers away from the searches.

"People have been touched," said Kim Petersen, the Rocha family spokesman. "I don't think the additional information has been negative. People care about Laci Peterson."

In what may have been anyone's last contact with Scott, KTVU's Ted Rowlands talked to him late Wednesday.

During that call, Peterson responded to criticism leveled at him during a news conference by Laci's family earlier in the day.

Talking from an undisclosed location, Peterson said of selling the car: "Yes, I traded in the car. We were planning on buying a new one when the baby arrived and I needed a truck for work."

The truck Peterson had used for his fertilizer business was taken into custody by the Modesto Police early in the investigation.

On the house, Peterson said: "Yes, I tried to sell the house. Who the hell would want to live in a house that's unsafe where your wife was kidnapped from?"

Peterson reportedly was in Mexico on a business trip, but would not confirm to Rowlands where he was calling from.

The response Wednesday evening came after an emotional and angry Ron Grantski, the step-father of Laci Peterson, once again called on Scott to cooperate with police and "end this circus."

Grantski met with reporters Wednesday to issue a family statement about the latest development in the case -- Scott Peterson's trading in of Laci's Land Rover for a new truck and his apparent attempt to sell the couple's Modesto home.

"First of all, the car," Grantski said. "People are going to wonder how we found out about the car. We have driven by his house and we've seen the new truck and Laci's car not there. That's how we found out about it."

The family was able to track the Land Rover down at a local dealership with the thoughts of buying it. Late Tuesday, Doug Roberts of Roberts Auto Sales returned the car to the Rocha family free of charge.

"The car was in Scott's name, but thanks to Mr. Roberts, it's in the family name now," he said. "We are going to keep it until Laci comes home."

There have also been rumors circulating around Modesto that Scott Peterson was to meet with a realtor to sell the couple's home.

"About the house, the house is in both Laci's and Scott's name," Grantski said. "I find it hard to believe that he thought he could sell it without Laci's signature. I've found it hard to understand a lot of things Scott has done why should this be any different."

"He said since the first night he wanted the focus to be on Laci and not on him, but with the things he's been doing, the focus is all on him. If you want to change the focus Scott, cooperate with the Modesto Police. End this circus."

Grantski also corrected another misconception that came out of last week's barrage of media interviews by Scott. Laci's due date, he said, had been confirmed by medical officials to be Feb. 10 -- not Feb. 16 as Scott has said.

Laci Peterson, who was more than seven months pregnant at the time of her disappearance, has not been seen since she vanished on Christmas Eve. At the time, Scott Peterson has told police he was on a day fishing trip to the Berkeley Marina in the Bay Area.

When he arrived home, Scott called police to report Laci missing. A massive search effort that continued for several weeks throughout Northern California failed to turn up any sign of her.