2 mops and mop bucket

Collected on:  December 24, 2002

Collected by:  ID Tech Doug Lovell, under instruction from Detective Al Brocchini

Reason:  Suspected clean-up of a crime scene

Media Reports:  Contained traces of Laci's vomit and blood, evidence that Scott murdered Laci in the kitchen

Received by:  California Department of Justice crime laboratory, Ripon, CA

Received on:  December 30, 2002

Case No:  CV 02-010941

Request No:  01

Tested by:  Pin Kyo, Criminalist Serology & General Examination

Bates No. for Report: 023423

Results: Negative


Initial Suspicion


According to Officer Jon Evers, police suspicion was first aroused by these two mops and mop bucket sitting outside the front door at 523 Covena.  When Scott was asked about the mop and bucket, he reported that Laci was getting ready to mop the entry-way floor when he left that morning, between 9:30 and 9:45.  People's 37A shows the mops and bucket as they were found by police on the 24th: the mop in the bucket is a sponge mop, and the one standing against the outer wall is a string mop. These were collected as evidence on the night of December 24, 2002 by ID Tech Doug Lovell under instruction from Detective Brocchini.













Media blitz


On January 28, 2003, the National Enquirer ran a story entitled "Dark Twists and Turns" and claimed that police found spots of blood on Laci's kitchen floor.  That article was followed by one appearing on February 8, 2003, with the claim that "police believe Scott mopped the kitchen floor after he returned home from his fishing trip and BEFORE he reported Laci missing."

Reports began circulating early-on that the house reeked of bleach when the police first went there on the night of the 24th. Most stories said that Scott mopped the floor after he got home from his fishing trip in a hurried attempt to remove trace evidence.  The question commonly asked was, Why would Laci be mopping her floor the day after the maid had just cleaned?

April 8, 2003, just a few days before the bodies were discovered, the Globe ran an article claiming Scott murdered Laci in her kitchen:

"But the discovery of thin vomit on the mop police believe Scott used to clean the kitchen floor Dec.24 was a shock", says a source close to the family. "There were blood specks in the vomit. There seems to be no reason for a woman so far on in her pregnancy to throw up stomach fluids. And you can bet that if something that alarming had happened naturally, the first thing she would have done was call her mother in panic. They're very close and her mom would have been there in a heartbeat."

On April 26, 2003, FoxNews reported that

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.

The Testimony


Evers and Brocchini both admitted at the Preliminary hearing, under oath, that there was no smell of bleach in the house that night. Still further, Evers and Brocchini both testified that none of the floors were wet, to indicate the floors had been mopped after Scott returned from the Marina, and Brocchini said he was specifically looking for evidence of the floors having been mopped recently. 


Test Results


Pin Kyo, Criminalist for the California Department of Justice at the Ripon lab, provided the analysis of both mops and the mop bucket (People's 239A-E).  She received these items for testing on December 30, 2002. 





















She said the sponge mop had a detergent smell, some brown stains on the handle, and debris and fibers on the sponge.   The string mop also had a detergent smell and some debris, fibers, and hair on the string part. 

When asked by Mr. Dave Harris to judge the frequency of use of the string mop, Kyo replied:  "Oh, I have seen mops before, but in this case it looked pretty clean, meaning like no mildews build up because if they don't use detergent or some kind of brown stained build up on the mop. So it's just in general observation. It's not dirty mop, as compared to clean mop."

Kyo also examined the mop bucket and observed some off-white stains inside the bucket, some light brown stains on the outside, and noted a detergent smell.  She described the detergent smell as coming from a liquid soap or some other commercial product used to clean floors.  She said observed dirt and debris in the bucket.

Kyo stated that her purpose in examining the mops and bucket was to determine if they had been used to clean up a crime scene.  She found no blood or tissue or other trace evidence on either the sponge mop or the string mop.  Nor did she find any blood or tissue or other trace evidence in the mop bucket.  Kyo did a presumptive test for blood on the brown stains on both mops and the bucket.  The results were negative.


The fact that Kyo only smelled common household detergents used to clean floors -- no bleach or chlorine -- and did not find any blood or other trace evidence proves once and for all that they were not used to clean-up a crime scene, either inside the house or outside in the pool area. 

So it doesn't matter why the mops and bucket were outside the door, or why anyone would be mopping the floor the day after the maid mopped, because the tests prove with absolute certainty that the mops and bucket were not used to clean up a crime scene.