Scott conducted business for Tradecorp at 1027 North Emerald Suite number B1 in Modesto. Scott had the Sears Gamefisher boat stored at the Warehouse when Laci disappeared. The State argued that he made anchors in the Warehouse to weigh Laci's body down.
Brocchini and Evers went to the warehouse on the night of
December 24, but primarily to see the boat. No search of the warehouse was
conducted that night.
It was a part of the December 26-27 search warrant, and Detective Dodge Hendee was the Crime Scene Manager. The MPD secured the warehouse late afternoon on the 26th, and conducted the search on the 27th.
When we got to the warehouse, we met at about 2:30 p.m. in the afternoon on the 27th. At 2:45, after a short briefing, and after the keys to the warehouse arrived, we served the search warrant. I did that by announcing 'Modesto Police Department, search warrant, open the door.' Even though I knew there was nobody in there, we had a police officer standing there all night and day guarding the warehouse, but, because of legal requirements, I made that notification. After 20 [seconds] with no response, I used the keys to gain access to the warehouse. And at that point I went in by myself just to get a feel for what we had inside the warehouse. What kind of a scene it was, what kind of work might be ahead of us. I was in there for about five, maybe seven, ten minutes by myself. [Hendee]
The following information was gleaned from the lacipeterson.com website. The date of the search is inaccurate.
By the time of the February 18-19 search warrant, Scott had terminated the lease and vacated the premises. Thus, only one search of the warehouse was conducted. Though the Gamefisher boat was in the warehouse, it and its contents are listed separately.
People's 55 is a drawing of the layout drawn by Detective Rich House. The squares represent pallets of fertilizer products.
Evidence examined/collected from the Warehouse:
Item 100, Blood samples from the interior door of the warehouse
Item 101, Three floppy discs and one CD collected from the desk in the office
Item 102, IBM external floppy drive collected from the office
Item 105, Three floppy discs and one CD collected form desk in office
Item 106, Big 5 Shopping Bag with a Big 5 shopping receipt for fishing lures
Item 107, Internet printouts regarding San Francisco Bay fishing
Item 108, Financial records/bills locted from the top of the desk in the warehouse office
Item 109, File of credit card documents including boat and trailer title certificates collected from the second file, third drawer
Item 110, November, 2002, profit-loss statement located in the second file, top drawer
Item 111, Paperwork, financial papers and receipts for the business and Scott PETERSON located in the warehouse office garbage can
Item 112, An undeveloped roll of 35mm Kodal Gold 100 ASA film
Item 113a/b, Financial files collected from a black file rack in the office
Item 114, Miscellaneous paperwork, documents, etc., located on the warehouse office wall shelf
Item 115, Several photographs collected from the wall in the office
Item 116, Miscellaneous financial papers, documents, bills, letters, correspondence for the business, collected from the top drawer, second file
Item 117, A floppy disc storage container containing numerous discs
fishing pole from Big 5 Shopping Bag
Item 120, black pair of Nike tennis shoes
Item 126, powder sample taken from inside the shop vacuum
Item 127, Pair of brown work boots
Item 128, clear plastic water pitcher
Item 129, Craftsman sledge hammer with wooden handle
Item 130, Gray powder sample collected from off the top of the trailer. Included in the power mix were several wood screws
Item 131, photo only of a possible blood sample, PVC apparatus
Item 132, ready-mix sample taken from floor
Item 133, Delta Houser chisel Mortiser, serial #016064Q, collected from on top of the trailer in the warehouse
Item 134, Cardboard flap for the box in which 133 arrived, including the packaging contents and tracking label
Item 135, Photo of area on top of the trailer which appears to have a void of cement powder
Item 136, Photo of area on top of the trailer which appears to have a void of cement powder
Item 137, Photo of area on top of the trailer which appears to have a void of cement powder
Item 138, Photo of area on top of the trailer which appears to have a void of cement powder
Item 139, Photo of area on top of the trailer which appears to have a void of cement powder
Item 140, A red and blue plastic bucket, both of which have been used and contain some residue on the inside
Item 140A, a pair of black rubber boots, pair of white socks with red toes, one blue glove, Gore-Tex type, and one black watch cap found in the red tub
Item 141, A Vaughn hammer with wooden handle
Item 142, Two plastic vials containing a liquid sample (water) collected from the bottom of the boat
Item 143, handmade anchor found in the bottom of the boat
Item 144, pair of yellow-handled pliers found in the bottom of the boat
Item 144a, hair found in the pair of yellow-handled pliers
Item 145, A pair of wet orange work gloves found on the floor of the boat
Item 146, A red rope and metal clasp on the ends
Item 146a, A hair fiber collected from the rope (146)
Item 147, A brown cord shoestring collected from the floor of the boat
Item 148, A Green duffle bag with a long orange and black nylon rope, a black hat, yellow glove, and a green glove
Item 148a, Camouflage jacket found insider #148
Item 148b, A pair of camouflage rain pants found inside item #148
Item 148c, 2 lures & July 23, 1999 2-day fishing license found inside #148
Item 148d, A single Remington 20 gauge, single shot, birdshot round found inside #148
Item 149, A package of 16-gauge, 200 foot wire, it was unopened and found on top of the trailer
Item 150, A fiber taken from the tip of the paddle found inside the boat. The fiber appears to be orange or reddish in color and approximately one quarter to one half inch in length
Item 151, brown tackle box with numerous lures and fishing accessories found in the bottom of the boat
Item 152, A Master Fish 650 GR rod and reel with lure attached
Item 153, A Pro Guide fishing rod and reel. It should be noted that the reel had a busted crank and was inoperable for use
Item 154, A Game Fisher 14-foot aluminum boat with a CF #2313HO located in the warehouse
Item 155, A liquid sample from the boat engine. The liquid sample was only about a tablespoon or so and was dirty in color, probably a combination of water and oil
Item 156, A roll of plastic shrink-wrap found on the floor of the warehouse near the roll-up door
Item 157, A pair of black Nike tennis shoes found in the back of the warehouse
These are pictures taken of the powder voids on the trailer, the pitcher, and the anchor in the pitcher.
Grogan was questioned on the void spots and the anchor:
FLADAGER: What, was there anything about the concrete debris on that flatbed trailer that made you pay attention to it and focus on it?
GROGAN: Well, it was, it was actually Detective Hendee that pointed out the rings in the debris on the trailer to me and I did see those. And I saw there was a significant mess on top of that trailer.
FLADAGER: And when you say rings, what do you mean by "rings"?
GROGAN: Circular voided areas, or they're not perfect circles, but areas that appear circular and I don't know what I would say on a measurement, but they all seemed fairly consistent and there was about a total of five of them.
FLADAGER: Detective Grogan, had you ever worked with concrete yourself or cement?
GROGAN: Yes .
FLADAGER: Have you ever made it?
GROGAN: Yes .
FLADAGER: And what you noticed on the trailer, for purposes of making a single anchor, did anything about the mess on that trailer strike you?
GERAGOS: Objection, calls for speculation. No foundation.
JUDGE: State of mind. Overruled. You can answer.
GERAGOS: How could it have been his state of mind at that point?
JUDGE: His state of mind. He's the investigating officer. What he did do as a result of his observations is reasonable enough. Go ahead.
GROGAN: Well, it seemed like a tremendous mess for making one eight-pound anchor.
FLADAGER: And can you please tell us what you asked him.
GROGAN: Well, I asked him about the, we went over some of the same things that are recorded in the 12/30 conversation. The new information was just I talked to him about where he got the idea to make the anchor. He said he rented some boats in the San Diego area in the past and thought it would be easy to make. He told me he made it out of cement because a bag of cement is only $3 as opposed to spending 30 for an anchor from a store.
FLADAGER: Did you later confirm the price of cement at Home Depot?
FLADAGER: And can you tell us what the price was for various sized bags?
FLADAGER: Bates stamp 42082.
FLADAGER: What did you find out?
GROGAN: That an 80-pound bag of Baselite Proline concrete mix cost $2.59 per bag. And that a 60-pound bag of this same type of concrete mix is $2.08 per bag.
FLADAGER: And then when did you do that price check?
GROGAN: August 15th of 2004.
Both the anchor and the pitcher were collected as evidence and sent to a concrete expert to confirm the conclusion that the anchor was made in the pitcher.
GERAGOS: Okay. And as it was on the trailer, he was taking this item, the concrete, right?
HENDEE: Yes, sir.
GERAGOS: The anchor, and he was holding it like this?
GERAGOS: As it was inside, right?
GERAGOS: And it was his and your opinion that it was a perfect fit?
HENDEE: Mistakenly so.
GERAGOS: Tell the jury why that was mistakenly so.
HENDEE: Because it was looked at by a concrete expert who determined that this mold was not made in this pitcher.
GERAGOS: Well, it's pretty easy to tell if you put it in there and look and see that there's space, isn't there?
HENDEE: I wouldn't say it's easy.
GERAGOS: May I let the jury see this?
JUDGE: Yes, you can.
GERAGOS: You sent that out to a concrete expert who measured the concrete anchor and the pitcher and determined that this was not made in the plastic pitcher, and yet all he did was measure it, put it inside of there, and he saw that you could get almost, if your hand wasn't as big as mine, you could almost get your finger in there, correct? Between the two?
HENDEE: Well, at the time there was water in it when he put it in; and, secondly, I think there's some other considerations that went into his determining that it was not,
GERAGOS: Right; because there’s a dimple in the bottom of this, correct?
GERAGOS: There's a dimple in the bottom, and there's no dimple on the bottom of the anchor, right?
HENDEE: (No response.)
GERAGOS: And they determined that when you measure this and you put them side by side, just lift this up so they can see, when you measure it, there was one problem with this perfect fit; that's this portion right here, the top, right?
HENDEE: (Nods head.)
GERAGOS: Was a different size than the portion that corresponds to the pitcher, right?
GERAGOS: And that the bottom portion, that didn't correspond to the bottom of the pitcher, correct?
HENDEE: I've never seen the report, but that's what I was told.
GERAGOS: That's what you were told afterwards?
GERAGOS: At the time you thought Ah-hah, I've got some evidence, because the pitcher fits in there, right?
GERAGOS: All right. And that was part of the, it kind of led you to see those circles on the trailer, too, didn't it?
GERAGOS: I mean, you thought,
JUDGE: Wait, wait, wait. One at a time. Sustained. Argumentative.
GERAGOS: Okay. Well, your idea was that this, the anchor, was made in this, the pitcher?
HENDEE: That's what we thought.
GERAGOS: And then from there you extrapolated that the pitcher was on the trailer, and therefore, if it was in four locations, there must have been four of these, right?
HENDEE: We felt that was a possibility.
GERAGOS: Okay. You thought it was more than a possibility; you searched the Bay 22 times looking for these, right?
GERAGOS: Okay. And it turns out at the end of the day the pitcher never made it, right?
Also, at the end of the day it turns out that Scott had told Grogan in late December that he purchased a paint bucket to make the anchor.
January 13, 2003 - Scott terminated the Lease
Scott sent a letter to terminate the warehouse lease, with intent to vacate in 30 days.
February 18-19 Search Warrant
By the time of this search warrant, Scott had vacated the premises and removed all of the furnishing to the house on Covena or to a storage shed. A picture of Conner's room stuffed with things from the Warehouse was contrasted with Scott's statement to Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America that the nursery would remain ready for Conner. Also used against Scott was the wastebasket in the storage shed that had Scott and Laci's wedding album. Geragos had to clarify that the wastebasket was used to store the items, not to throw them away.