Christmas Day Sgt. Duerfeldt
12:30 am. Sgt. Duerfeldt left 523 Covena, which ended his responsibility. He had no further assignment related to Laci's disappearance.
Christmas Day Brocchini drove Scott home
1:00 am. After the one-hour interview, Brocchini drove Scott home, which, Brocchini said, would have taken 5-10 minutes. Brocchini returned to the police station and made up a missing persons flyer to go out to law enforcement agencies.
Christmas Day Scott called Brocchini
1:15 am Scott called Brocchini, but Brocchini testified that he didn't remember getting that call. The cell phone records show a duration of 1 minute.
Christmas Day Scott called Brocchini about the gun
2:14 am Scott called Brocchini to ask him if he had taken Scott's gun from the pickup. Brocchini replied, yes, he had. Scott said that was fine, he just wished Brocchini had told him. Brocchini replied that it was illegal to have a loaded gun in the glove box and he was going to put it into evidence. The call duration was 2 minutes.
Christmas Day Search continued at the Park
3:45 am When he finished his regular shift (4 p.m. to 3:30 a.m.), Officer John Hodson was asked to work overtime and dispatched to the Dry Creek Park to continue the search for Laci. He, CSO Hodson, and Officer David Mullens went down into the Park at the pumphouse and started searching from the pumphouse west along the path. Hodson took the river side, and Mullens took the other side, and the CSO drove the police car with the lights on so they could see. They met Lt. Bruce Able and Sgt. Scott Heller, who were working their way towards them. They then worked eastward from the pumphouse to the end of La Loma Park, where there is a public restroom, and where the tennis courts are. Hodson checked the restrooms, but found nothing. They also searched the pumpstation. Along the riverbank, Hodson encountered some homeless shelters. He announced himself and the people came out to greet him. He searched their encampments and their property. They did complain that it was the third time that night they had been turned over by people looking for Laci. The encampments were within a quarter to a third of a mile west of the path that leads into the Park from Covena. The encampments are just about four or five hundred yards from the hospital on Scenic Drive, where Diane Campos worked. Hodson pointed out the route from the Covena path into the park, over the footbridge, down along Scenic, back across another footbridge into Kewin Park, up the stairs to Edgebrook, and then to Covena.
Christmas Day The Search expanded
When Officer David Corder, a member of the K-9 dog unit, came on duty at 6 am, he was told they had been searching the park through the night, and asked to use his K-9 to search the park and surrounding areas. Officer Gonzalez had been in the park all night with his K-9 and told Corder what areas had already been searched. He (without the dog), Officer Fisher, and several other officers searched some of the streets and alleyways around 500 Covena. They started at intersection of Covena and Edgebrook and walked the front yards all the way down Highland. They actually walked back into some of the yards to see if someone had gone back there and was injured, but did not go into any of the houses or backyards. They came back and went through the alley, which runs behind Highland, came back out Santa Barbara, down Encina, and then one block north on Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Rowland and Covena, and down one block, which is Roble, in that area. They went back to area where Covena meets the park and searched areas difficult for people to get into. He took the dog along the southern edge of the park, that joins backyards with lots of shrubbery and bushes. The dog is trained to search out human scent. They searched eastbound all along the southern edge to where El Vista crosses the park. He worked the dog along the southern edge of the creek bed, whatever brush was safe to work, all the way to Kewin Park. He noticed quite a bit of water in the creek, and some deep spots, so he requested Sgt. Beffa to have the fire department search with their raft or zodiac. Beffa and his team entered the creek near the tennis courts and searched all the way to Kewin park. Corder then resumed his dog search along the southern edge of the park in Kewin Park back to the foot path at Covena.
During his search, Corder saw some officers talking to some transients in the hospital area, below Scenic a little west of where it intersects with Coffee. There is a path that leads from the foot bridge in the park to Scenic, and it’s 50-75 yards from the bridge to Scenic.
Christmas Day Brocchini and Buehler at Peterson's
7:00-8:00 a.m. Both Brocchini and Buehler were at the Peterson's by 7 or 8 a.m.
Christmas Day Friends setup a volunteer center at the Covena home
Lori Ellsworth, Stacey Boyers and others arrived early in the morning to distribute the flyers made at Ditto's during the night.
Christmas Day Amber talked to Richard Byrd
8:36 a.m. Amber called Byrd and talked to him for 24 minutes.
Christmas Day Scott called Brocchini again
9:55 am Scott called Brocchini, and they talked for one minute.
10:53 am Scott called Brocchini again, and they talked for 4 minutes
Christmas Day Detective Grogan assigned to the case
The officers involved in the previous night's activities decide they need a full-time detective to investigate. Grogan is assigned the case because he is the next homicide detective in rotation. Grogan interviewed Scott on Christmas Day from 1:30 till 4:00-4:30, with agent Mansfield from CA DOJ present, which was not taped by video or audio. Grogan said he specifically asked Scott if he or Laci had an extramarital affair, or if there were suspicions of extra marital affairs. Scott said no.
Christmas Day MPD Press Conference
MPD held the first press conference to notify the public of Laci's disappearance. Family members were present but did not speak.
Christmas Day Amber called Scott
In the media reports, Amber said she called Scott to wish him a merry Christmas, thinking he was in Maine with his family. She said Scott "romanced" her during the call. Phone records show Amber called Scott 4 times on Christmas Day. The two exchanged a total of 7 calls.
In her trial testimony, Amber said Scott had not called her back, and Doug Sibley, Shawn Sibley's uncle, left a voice message for Scott, indicating his displeasure that Scott hadn't called Amber. Shortly after, Scott called Amber.
Christmas Day Scott's whereabouts
Witnesses had different accounts of where Scott was on Christmas morning. Brent Rocha gave three different accounts in his interviews. In the first, he said Scott was unaccounted for from 9:00-12:00 Noon, in the second that he saw Scott around 11 am, and in the third report that he joined with Scott at 10:30 to go hang flyers in the neighborhood. In his trial testimony, he said the latter is the most accurate. Brent also said that Scott went to the warehouse that morning to get some duct tape to use in putting up the flyers later that morning, and was gone about 2 hours. At a later date, LE asked Brent to show him where Scott had used the duct tape.
Karen Servas, in her testimony at the trial, said she knew that Scott was out putting up flyers with friends.
Christmas Day Buehler talks to Karen Servas
11:00-11:30. Buehler talked to Karen Servas about finding McKenzie.
Christmas Day 2 witnesses reported seeing Laci on Park footbridge
12 Noon - 1:00 pm Susan Aquino, Laci's maternal aunt, testified that while she and her husband Bill were at the Peterson home on Christmas morning, two police officers came to the door to tell Scott that two witnesses at the Park said they thought they saw Laci the day before walking across the footbridge. Aquino said she asked Scott what he thought, and he said it wasn't Laci, because she didn't walk that way. Aquino and her husband were the only two who heard Scott's comment, even though other people were at the house. She also admitted she did not know those other people and she did not even know Scott.
Christmas Day Scott interviewed by Grogan and Mansfield
1:30-4:30 pm. Grogan interviewed Scott on Christmas Day from 1:30 till 4:00-4:30, with agent Mansfield from CA DOJ present, which was not taped by video or audio. Grogan said he specifically asked Scott if he or Laci had an extramarital affair, or if there were suspicions of extra marital affairs. Scott said no. According to CourtTV, Mansfield at the time was a polygraph examiner for the DOJ. However, Lee Peterson had already advised Scott to not take a polygraph.
Christmas Day Massive search for Laci
Modesto police and firefighters carried out a massive and futile search along Dry Creek. Her family offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to her safe return. Sharon Rocha was in the Covena Home on December 25th, and said she did not notice anything "unusual." Janet Kenworthy saw Scott on Christmas Day, as she was walking her dog in the park. "He reaches in his coat, pulls out a flier and says, 'My wife's missing,'" Kenworthy recalled. "He about broke down in front of me. I did see tears, retain-your-composure efforts." Kenworthy was especially touched, she said, to learn that the missing woman was pregnant. She said she gave Scott a hug. "I would have sworn at that time that he was innocent," Kenworthy said.
Christmas Day Karen Servas at the Peterson's home
5:00 pm Karen Servas went to Scott's house to watch the 5 o'clock news out of Sacramento because her Direct TV service did not provide local channels. Lee and Jackie were there, and she described both as really upset and said that Lee was crying. She described Scott as calm, but explained that she had seen him earlier that day and that he seemed to be in shock and was speaking in a flat tone. She said Renee Tomlinson and her husband were also there. Scott invited her to join them for dinner, but she declined because she was vegetarian and she had packing to do. About ten minutes after she left, Scott called her and said he had found some cheese tortellini, and so she joined them for dinner. After the dinner Scott said he was upset with the police because they took his gun and some rags off the washer the night before without telling him.
Christmas Day Stacey Boyers observed Scott vacuuming
After passing out flyers, Stacey Boyers went to the Covena home probably after 5:00 p.m. to bring a picture to Renee Tomlinson. Boyers observed Scott vacuuming the area in front of the washer and dryer. She said he was vacuuming that area the whole time she was there. When she reported this to the police, it raised their suspicion that Scott was still doing some clean-up.
Christmas Day Scott asked Brocchini about cadaver dogs
7:20 pm Scott called Brocchini to ask him if they were using cadaver dogs to look for Laci in Dry Creek Park. Brocchini told Scott he hadn't considered her being dead yet, so they hadn't used cadaver dogs. They talked for 5 minutes.
26 Dec 2002 Eric Olsen resigned from Trade Corps
Eric was offered a job at Sun West on Nov. 26, and notified Sun West on Dec 23 that he would take the position. He didn't want to resign right before Christmas, so he waited until the 26th to notify Scott by email. Eric said he left Trades Corps because of promises, such as health insurance, that were not kept. He also said that Scott was not getting things done for the company.
26 Dec 2002 Ron quizzed Scott about an affair
Ron told Greta Van Susteren: "I -- I talked to Scott two days after Laci was missing, and I -- I asked him then. I said, you know, if you -- if you had an affair, was seeing somebody, I think this is time to say something because I know the police are going to bug you about your fishing story, and he said, no, no problem. And so I let it drop." Ron testified that it was the afternoon of the 26th when he quizzed Scott. Ron also testified that it was a day or two after the 24th when he first learned Scott had a boat, because someone asked if he knew about the boat.
26 Dec 2002 Dennis Rocha concluded Scott murdered Laci
According to the Globe (Laci's Dad Tells All, May 2003), Dennis went to see Scott on the 26th to get some answers. From this brief encounter, Rocha concluded that Scott murdered Laci.
My gut instinct had told me something was not right with Scott. I'd gone to their home so I could speak man to man with him. There were a lot of things that didn't add up.
I didn't offer to shake hands with him. I said I wanted to sit down and talk with him. He kind of shook his head as if he didn't want to face up to the truth. He told me to wait inside in the living room while he finished talking with some other people. You could tell he didn't want me to be there. He never mentioned Laci to me. He never said he missed her.
I said I'd wait a few minutes while he finished up. That's when our eyes met. His piercing stare sent a chill right through me. My heart was pounding and I felt sick to the core.
There was absolutely no warmth from him at all. Nothing. No emotion. Just emptiness. It was a look of pure evil.
He held my gaze for just two seconds, then quickly looked away. It was the longest two seconds of my life. But that was enough for me to know what was in his head.
Rocha was paid $12,000 for this interview.
26 Dec 2002 Command Post setup in La Loma Park
The Command Center for the investigation was at the MPD. A Command Post was also setup in the Park, to organize the search and accommodate individuals who would come and give tips personally. Ronald Cloward was put in charge of the Command Post. The CP consisted of a trailer with computer and communications equipment. It was located near the tennis courts. The search on the 26th included the City of Modesto checking the manhole covers, the pond in the park searched by divers, and the Fire Dept. running a boat along the creek, working from the bridge to fisherman's club.
26 Dec 2002 Red Lion Search Center opened
A volunteer center opened at the Red Lion Hotel distributed thousands of fliers. Scott would open the center almost every morning at 7 am. He would not let the media come into the center until 9:30 am, at which time he usually left to distribute flyers. He also instructed friends and workers not to distribute any pictures of Laci that included him. He said he wanted the focus to be on Laci, not on him.
26 Dec 2002 Amber called Scott 14 times
Amber called Scott 14 times, according to Mark Geragos OS. Geragos said that Amber was upset with Scott because he was not calling her. No detail has yet been provided about these calls. She testified that she called that many times because she was anxious to thank him for the Christmas gift he sent.
26 Dec 2002 Scott consented to the search; but a warrant obtained anyway
Scott told both Brocchini and Grogan that he consented to the search of the house and warehouse, they didn't need to get a search warrant. He told Grogan that he had trust issues with the MPD, specifically he didn't think it was an accident that Brocchini left his keys in Scott's truck or his notebook in the boat on the night of the 24th. Grogan testified that he obtained a search warrant because there was evidence of a clean-up.
26 Dec 2002 MPD Press Release
At 3:30 p.m., the MPD made this press release:
MODESTO, Calif. – Modesto Police continue to search for Laci Peterson, who was last seen on Christmas Eve morning about 9:30 a.m. Laci is eight months pregnant and was reported missing by her husband, Scott Peterson, on the evening of December 24. On the morning of December 24, Scott Peterson went fishing in the Bay Area and Laci stayed home with plans to shop for dinner and walk their dog at East La Loma Park and Dry Creek. When Scott returned home that evening, Laci was not home. The dog was found earlier and returned to the backyard by a neighbor. The leash was still attached to the dog’s collar. Modesto Police Officers immediately began a search of the park and the Dry Creek River area. The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department helicopter was called in to assist with the search. On Christmas morning, additional assistance was received from the Water Rescue Units from Modesto City Fire Department and Stanislaus Consolidated Fire. Modesto Police canines and equestrian teams were used to further the search along the creek bed and in the park. The search for Laci continues to expand beyond the park and river area. “We have organized volunteers for a systematic search and it is our hope to find Laci and bring her home,” said Chief Roy Wasden. The family and friends of Laci Peterson have established a $100,000 reward for the safe return, or information leading to the safe return, of Laci Peterson. Additionally, an anonymous person has also established a $25,000 reward through the Carole Sund-Carrington Memorial Reward Foundation. Friends of the family have established a fund to assist with any search efforts. Donations can be made to: AG Edwards and Sons Laci Peterson Fund 1549 McHenry Ave. Modesto CA 95350 Attn: Stacey Boyers/Jeffrey Sutton
26 Dec 2002 523 Covena secured in preparation for search warrant
5:00-5:30 p.m. Detective Rick House secured the residence at 523 Covena in preparation for execution of the search warrant. The warehouse was also secured. Detective Skultety said this occurred about 2 hours before he arrived on the scene about 7-7:30 to execute the warrant.
26 Dec 2002 Medinas returned home from LA to find their home burglarized
Susan Medina testified at trial that she and her husband returned home from LA in late afternoon on the 26th. She said as they were passing the MPD on G street, they noticed police cameras and her husband told her to call her son to see why Modesto was on TV again. She made the call to her son at 4:12 p.m. When the reached Edgebrook and Covena, entrance onto Covena was blocked by a police barricade, and her husband had to show identification to prove they lived on the street. They noticed the dolly on the front lawn, the leaf blower was on the cement pad in the back yard, and the French doors were wide open. Only some of the rooms were ransacked. They found the glove and hammer on their bed, which was just a few feet from where the safe was kept. Medina reported the burglary to the police in front of her house, who were there to help execute the search warrant on 523 Covena. Most of the items stolen were in the safe. The key and the combination to the safe with in an envelope labeled "monthly allowance," along with some money. Some of the money was taken, but 2 twenty dollar bills and the key and the combination were left in the envelope.
Officer Wend said he responded to the burglary report about 4:45 or 4:50 p.m. Wend said the dolly was approximately 25 feet from the street. Wend described the burglary as "a pretty typical door-kick, grab what you can and take off with it. I mean, it wasn't, there was only one room that was really ransacked, and that was the master bedroom. And it wasn't ransacked a lot. Some things were taken off the top shelf in the bedroom, in the bathroom. In the master bedroom a drawer had been opened and a jewelry box had been laid, laid out." The safe was approximately three feet tall by two and a half feet wide by two and a half feet deep. The point of entry was through a gate on the south side of the Medina property. The clue that it was a forced entry was the boot print by the lock, and the door standing open. The boot print was like moist dirt transferred to the door, but Wend couldn't tell from its composition how long it had been on the door. Mr. Medina had placed a chair up against the doorknob, as an extra precaution, and the burglars moved the chair out of their way. A lot of valuables in the house were not touched, such as TVs, VCRs, a vase containing $800 cash and jewelry out on a counter. The keys to the Mercedes parked in the drive were hanging in the kitchen, but the car was undisturbed. Wend left the forms for the Medinas to fill out, documenting everything that had been taken, and then had nothing more to do with the investigation of this burglary.
26 Dec 2002 Bloodhounds look for Laci
When officers released a bloodhound (scent dog) in front of the Peterson home, the dog did not go to the dirt path that leads to La Loma Park. Instead, the hound led police to houses around the corner, then south to Yosemite Boulevard and eventually to Santa Rosa Avenue near E.&J. Gallo Winery. Contra Costa County sheriff's deputies, who supplied the bloodhound, concluded the search when the dog began nosing around some Dumpsters. Police searched with flashlights and climbed in, but it was not known what, if anything, they found. Other sources say that several bloodhounds were used and the dogs "went in a multitude of directions." In mid-October, the prosecution revealed that "two dogs followed a track that led from a "known location" -- apparently the Petersons' Covena Avenue home -- to San Francisco Bay. "According to scent dog experts, the dogs can track a scent even if the person is in a moving vehicle. The scent falls off the person onto the ground and can be traced by dogs in a process called "leapfrogging"--where one dog goes miles ahead on the last known trajectory and tries to pick up the scent.
Chris Boyer, Captain of the Search and Rescue team, conducted a standard missing person's interview with Scott. Grogan was present.Scott told Boyer that Laci sometimes walked in the neighborhood, and that she had walked on Sunday, December 22, in the neighborhood. Scott told Boyer McKenzie was clean, but his leash was dirty, like it was dragged through mud; he didn't know where Laci walked, but she would have been wearing one of his jackets; he gave a description of what Laci would wear when she went walking; he said Laci would not typically wear anything in her hair, and wasn't that morning. Grogan was writing down notes and Scott said he was happy Grogan was documenting the interview and what was taken. Boyer volunteered to give Scott a receipt, and Scott said yes, he would like one.
26-27 Dec 2002 2nd search of the Covena home
Detective Rudy Skultety, the 523 Covena crime scene manager for this search warrant, said he arrived at the residence about 7:30 p.m. on the 26th. The house had already been secured by Detective Rick House. Because they arrived so late in the day, their focus on the 26th was to search for forensic evidence and signs of a struggle. Skultety assumed the house had been "cleaned-up" by Scott, so he instructed all who participated to look at baseboards, creases, lower portions of furniture. Scott had been seen vacuuming the area in front of the washer and dryer on Christmas Day, so Skultety assigned CSO Doug Lovell to use a special vacuum cleaner to vacuum the area and collect the debris. The search on the 27th would focus on finding and collecting the items specifically mentioned in the search warrant.
The FBI participated in this search and was assigned the washer and dryer area and the living room area. They used luminal, a chemical spray that can be used with an alternative light source to find trace evidence such as blood, even if extensive cleaning up had been done. Rumors spread that the mop Scott allegedly used to clean the kitchen floor had Laci's blood and vomit, which proved to be false. Various media reported that authorities obtained a warrant when Scott Peterson would not voluntarily allow them to search the home, which was disproven through Detective Grogan's trial testimony.
Detective Brocchini noted that the patio umbrellas that were in Scott's truck the night of the 24th were in the backyard, leaning up against the back fence. The brown canvas boat cover was in a small shed used to house some lawn equipment. In his OS, Distaso said the boat cover was so soaked in gasoline that the officers hung it across the back fence to air it out. He noted that gasoline degrades human biological material and human scent. However, the State did not present an expert witness during the trial to backup Distaso's claim. The tarp found in Scott's truck on the night of the 24th was in a shed covered with fertilizer products, which Distaso said acts as a degrading factor for human remains and human scent. However, the State did not present an expert witness during the trial to backup this claim.
The police seized several items that were in Scott's truck on the night of the 24th and which were then located in the warehouse and the boat.
Detective Hendee was also involved in the 2-day search of the Covena residence. He personally searched every room of the home looking for forensic evidence.
The jewelry Scott said Laci was wearing the morning of the 24th was found in the master bedroom. The blouse Laci was wearing on the 23rd at Salon Salon was found in Laci's hamper (but was not identified by Amy at that time).
The police impounded Laci's Land Rover sport utility vehicle and Scott's Ford F150 pickup. 2 computers from the home were also seized. The prosecution's theory of the crime has been pieced together using information salvaged from one of the computers taken during this search, which included detailed SF Bay tide research as well as information about the date-rape drug GHB.
27 Dec 2002 Buehler interviewed Stacey Boyers and Lori Ellsworth
Buehler gave Boyers and Ellsworth an update, saying they were examining possible scenarios: one involving a stranger entering the home and abducting Laci; the other involving Scott. Buehler reported that both friends thought it was more likely that Scott was responsible. Boyers told Buehler about seeing Scott "doing an unusual amount of vacuuming" in the laundry area on Christmas evening and Scott's explanation that Lace was "extremely clean." Both said neither Laci nor Scott were "clean freaks." Boyers also told Buehler that when Scott was required to leave the home the previous night as the search warrant was executed, he said he was growing "angry," and didn't like being taken out of his "comfort zone." Neither one believed there was trouble in the marriage. Boyers said Laci had never expressed mistrust of Scott and was not the jealous type. She had never heard Scott and Laci quarrel or complain. (Crier, A Deadly Game, pp. 87-89).
27 Dec 2002 LE interviewed witnesses about suspicious people
At 10:15 am, Detective Phil Owens interviewed Diana Campos, who believed she saw Laci and McKenzie in the park, accompanied by suspicious looking men. At 12:05 p.m., he interviewed John and Karma Souza, who reported seeing three suspicious men in the park early Christmas Eve morning. Owens testified at the Preliminary hearing that he thought the reports were not going in the right direction.
27 Dec 2002 Scott called Grogan about 2 tips
At 11:22 am, Scott called Grogan to report two tips from individuals who had come to the Volunteer Center at the Red Lion. One was a tip about a purple Tempest auto with Arkansas plates, and the other an employee at the olive grove near Covena. He called back within the same hour to see if anyone had followed up on the tips. He also asked about the searches being conducted that day, and if they were using equestrian units.
27 Dec 2002 Officer dispatched to investigate suspicious behavior at a vacant house
Officer Corder was dispatched to 344 Covena, which is one block down from Encina. A person passing out fliers walked up to the house and thought they saw someone run to the back of the house. It was a vacant house under renovation. Corder peered through the windows on all sides. A van was parked outside that looked like it hadn’t been driven for some time. Buehler asked about it, and so Corder went back to the house on February 27, 2003, and the house was in the same condition.
27 Dec 2002 2-day search of Covena home concluded
The police and the FBI concluded their search of the Covena home. The blouse Laci was wearing on the 23rd at the Salon Salon was reportedly in Laci's hamper. Detective Hendee concluded his search of the Covena home and then went to the warehouse to search it and the boat. He first had Joyce Smith go in and videotape the warehouse, and then Denise Ducot took photographs. The dog team, including Twist, was sent in next. Hendee then did his search of the warehouse and the boat. In addition to the hair in the pliers and the cement on the trailer, Hendee also found a loose, brown shoestring on the bottom of the boat, very close to the pliers.
Investigators also went to the Berkeley Marina to investigate his claim that he was fishing. Sgt. Michael Zahr, supervising the investigation, said that authorities had no solid reports of sightings of Laci.
27 Dec 2002 The hair in the pliers
Detective Hendee found a single 5- to 6-inch, black-colored hair in a pair of needle-nose pliers at the bottom of Scott's boat, underneath the middle bench seat that runs the width of the boat and partially behind the metal center anchoring support bracket for the seat. Mitochondrial DNA testing showed the hair could not have come from Scott, but may have come from Laci. Mitochondrial testing, a less exact method than traditional nuclear DNA testing, is often used on old, degraded or extremely small samples of hair, fingernails or bone. Hendee said the hair went through the pliers, and then a bit of it looped back in towards it. So there's a little bit of a loop in there, and then it had gone underneath the prong or the needle-nose part, so that the hair went through there, and (he thought) it looped back just barely into the prong. Hendee did not measure the hair. He called some of the other detectives over to look at the pliers and hair, and had photographs taken of it. He then collected the hair as evidence by putting the pliers into a brand new evidence envelope, moved the handles apart, pulled the pliers back out, saw that there was no hair attached, looked in and saw what appeared to be one hair, then sealed the evidence envelope.
27 Dec 2002 The cement anchors
Detective Hendee examined the flat pull trailer in Scott's warehouse and identified 5 areas on the trailer where there had been cement powder, looks like cement powder poured out onto the trailer or spilled onto parts of the trailer. He also noted areas with less powder, voided areas. On the trailer was a one-gallon clear pitcher. The cement anchor in the boat fit into this pitcher. Scott said he made one cement anchor from a 90-lb. bag of cement. In his OS, Distaso said experts will say that the cement in all of the rings match the cement in the anchor, and that the remainder of the 90-lb. bag was never found.
In his direct examination of Det. Hendee, D. Harris presented as evidence the picture of Brocchini placing the boat anchor into the plastic pitcher and concluded it was a perfect fit. He also showed various pictures of the trailer with placards marking where Hendee said he saw distinctive circular void spots where it appeared other anchors were made using the pitcher. On cross examination, Geragos demonstrated that the boat anchor did not make a perfect fit in the pitcher and was noticeably missing a dimple on its bottom to match the dimple in the inside bottom of the pitcher. He also questioned whether Hendee saw the circles because they were really there or because he already believed Scott made 5 anchors, not just 1.
At the trial, Robert O'Neil, a petrologist, testified that the pitcher and the anchor were sent to him for examination, along with some of the powder on the trailer and other concrete samples. He reporeted to Det. Grogan that the pitcher was definitely not the mold for the anchor. That jogged Grogan's memory: Scott had told him he used a 5-quart paint-mix pail purchased from Home Depot to make the anchor. Grogan purchased one himself, sent it to O'Neil for comparison, and it was a perfect match for the anchor. O'Neil also testified that the powder on the trailer and the anchor were a match.
After the search at the house concluded, Grogan wanted to get a sample of the concrete in Scott's driveway. Since Skultety was already gone, he sent Brocchini to collect the sample. Grogan wanted to determine if the concrete was made out of the same cement and aggregates as the anchor.
27 Dec 2002 The chicken wire
LE seized a roll of chicken wire. Scott told LE that he used some of the chicken wire to put around the base of the trees, to keep the cat from scratching the trees. They dug up around one of the trees, and it did have chicken wire around it. They also observed the cat scratching around the tree. LE had entertained the idea that Scott wrapped Laci in chicken wire, and that was reported to the media.
Under cross examination, Grogan admitted to Geragos that the chicken wire didn't play a part in Laci's disappearance.
27 Dec 2002 The cadaver dog
The search of the warehouse and boat included a cadaver dog named Twist. Eloise Anderson, Twist's handler, reported that Twist showed no interest in the office area of the warehouse. Much of the warehouse area was inaccessible to the dog and the chemical smell made searching very difficult. The dog worked to the back of the warehouse and into the bathroom twice with no alerts or interest. She put her into the boat where she showed mild interest but no alerts. When I worked her in the front of the warehouse area she showed interest in some containers under a small workbench. She checked several times in each container, along the edge of the workbench where she could reach and along the edge of the boat closest to the workbench. She demonstrated frustration by barking but did not go to her full alert or pinpoint a particular spot. Anderson's report was not authorized for release by her lieutenant until January 21, 2003, and was not included in a sworn affidavit used by Investigator Jacobson to obtain a search warrant for a wire-tap on January 10, 2003.
27 Dec 2002 Scott's financial records seized
Besides seizing Scott's personal and business computers, LE also seized his financial records. Brocchini reviewed the records and noted that Scott had several checks made out to himself. He sent info to Trade Corps suggesting Scott was embezzling from them, and got them to initiate an investigation. LE took the Trade Corps checkbook and would not let Scott write checks to make payroll or other obligations. This came out in the cross examination of Eric Olsen, but a specific date for the seizure was not given.
27 Dec 2002 Plea for psychic help
Anthony Rocha posted a plea for psychic assistance to find Laci: PLEASE HELP WE REQUEST YOUR PSYCHIC ABILITY TO HELP IN LOCATING LACI. LAST SEEN IN MODESTO CALIFORNIA AT DRY CREEK PARK ON DECEMBER 24, 2002 RESPONSE OR INFO:209-838-2937. Nationally renowned psychic Noreen Renier says that sometime in January Jackie Peterson hired her to help find Laci. Renier's visions support the prosecution theory that Scott murdered Laci, and Renier says she has sent a copy of her report to the Modesto Police. Other psychics volunteered their help or posted their visions on the Internet. Lady Lee published her profile of Laci and Scott's and Laci's compatibility, as well as her visions on this case, which suggest Scott is innocent, but that he knows the murderers.
27 Dec 2002 Diane Jackson called again to report the Medina burglary
6:30 p.m. Det. Stough received information about Jackson's call, and interviewed Jackson for further information:
On December 27, 2002, at 1830 hours, I recived information from detective Blom and police clerk Gallagher; of information on this burglary. I was provided with a copy of the police report along with a separate typed page that indicated that at 1610 hours on 12-27-02, a Diane Jackson (via Sergeant Ed Steele) said she witnessed the 459 (the California burlgary statute) on Covena on 12-24-02 at 1140 hours. She saw the van and the safe being removed from the house.
I called that number at 1830 hours and spoke with Diane Jackson.....
.....three short of stature, dark skinned but not African American guys........ ..When asked to further describe the individuals she stated that that's all she could remember as she wasn't thinking about that and hadn't thought about that until she called the police...... ....
28 Dec 2002 Trimble searched Berkeley Marina for Laci
Trimble was used to track for Laci's scent at the Berkeley Marina. They first ran him around the bathroom area and one of the launch areas. Trimble did pick up a scent on another launch ramp, and indicated end of trail near one of the pylons.
28 Dec 2002 Modesto wetlands searched
The search moves to 4,000 acres of wetlands along the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and San Joaquin rivers, 10 miles west of Modesto.
28 Dec 2002 Reward at $500,000
The reward in the case grew to $500,000. The fact that no credible information was ever received on tip lines - even when the award was boosted to $500,000 - kept investigators focused on Scott. "Had anyone known about where Laci was, had any information about where she was and if she was alive, we would have heard about it," Police Chief Roy Wasden said.
28 Dec 2002 Tom Harshman called the Laci tipline twice
On December 28, Tom Harshman called the Laci tipline twice.
Harshman said that he had called 3 or 4 days earlier on the day
that he had
seen a pregnant young woman being pushed into a van near the corner of Scenic and Claus.
28 Dec 2002 Karen Servas found her Austin receipt
Karen Servas, while in Sante Fe, New Mexico, received a voicemail from Scott asking if she could be more specific as to the time she found McKenzie because they wanted to know if the Medina burglary had anything to do with Laci's disappearance. Earlier that day as she was doing the laundry, she found the Austin Christmas store receipt in her pants pocket. It was timed at 10:34 a.m. December 24, 2002. Servas then backtracked through all of the motions from when she found McKenzie through completing her purchase at Austin's, to determine how long it would have taken her. She then subtracted that from 10:34 to arrive at 10:18, and then advised Detective Buehler that her corrected time for finding McKenzie was 10:18 a.m. This is the handwritten note she sent to Buehler on January 3, 2003.
28 Dec 2002 Sharon asked Scott to tell her what happened on the 23rd - 24th
Sharon testified at the trial that she took Scott by the arm and asked to be alone with him. She shut the door and said, let's go through this, tell me what happened, exactly what happened to Laci, what she was doing. He told Sharon Laci was sitting on her bench in front of the mirror styling her hair the way Amy had showed her the day before, and she looked so cute.
29 Dec 2002 Office Hicks takes McKenzie for a walk in the Park
Officer Ron Cloward testified that Officer Hicks was assigned to take McKenzie for a walk, and Scott consented. Hicks took McKenzie into the Park from the Covena path, but Cloward did not know specifically where Hicks walked McKenzie in the Park. The intent was to see if McKenzie reacted or barked at anything.
29 Dec 2002 Susan elected to be Scott's spokesperson
Scott said in some of his later media interviews that keeping him out of the media was a deliberate decision calculated to keep the media interested in Laci's disappearance. Ron Grantski testified that a family meeting took place on or about the 29th and Susan was chosen by vote to be the spokesperson instead of Scott. Ron personally heard Scott say he didn't want to go in front of the media, that it was about Laci, not him.
29 Dec 2002 Grogan interviewed Sharon Rocha & Ron Grantski together
Grogan conducted a joint interview with Sharon and Ron. The interview started earlier in the day, then they had a break and reconvened about 2:15. Sharon told Grogan that Laci usually got up about 7 am, ate breakfast, walked the dog every day or every other day, made a daily visit to the grocery store, did some cleaning chores in the afternoon, visited with friends or her sister, occasional manicure, started preparing for dinner about 6:00 or 6:30. Laci cooked most of the meals herself, and fashioned herself a good cook. When asked by Grogan, Ron couldn't say how much Laci and Scott paid for their home and neither he nor Sharon could say if Laci routinely locked the doors when she went out. Ron also said in this interview that there were times when he thought Scott should have been mad at Laci, but wasn't, and Scott was very supportive when Laci said she wanted to be a stay-at-home Mom. Ron characterized Laci as the most stubborn person he's ever known.
29 Dec 2002 Amber discovered Scott is Laci's husband
Shawn and Amber were together at a birthday party on the 29th at Shawn's uncle's house. About 30 people were there. Geragos asked Shawn if Amber was there with anyone, and Shawn said she was alone. He asked if Dr. David Markovich was there, and Shawn said no. He also asked if Shawn knew a Harold Jackson or Harold Brooks, and if he was at the party. Shawn said she did not know a Harold Jackson. Shawn said Amber received a phone call. Phone records show that she received two calls, the first at 1:24 am. Shawn testified that she didn't know who the call was from. Geragos asked her if it was from Richard Byrd, and Shawn said she didn't know a Richard Byrd. Amber, in her testimony, confirmed that it was Richard Byrd that called her and told her that Scott was married to the missing Modesto pregnant woman. Shawn said it probably was already after midnight, but as soon as Amber found out, she called the police hotline. They didn't hear back from the police, so Amber called back again in the morning.
Amber testified that Richard Byrd was at Doug Sibley's house (where the party occurred) from 2-11 pm.
30 Dec 2002 Amber called the police tipline
Det. Brocchini testified that Amber's call to the tip line included this information: On Dec 5, Scott told Amber he lost his wife, on Dec. 9 he told her he lied to her about being married, and he lost his wife, Scott was going to Paris, the last night he spent with her was Dec 14, he claimed he lived in Sacramento, the next day he was going to Arizona the next day and flying out of SFO, that she spoke to Scott twice on Christmas day, and that he called her every day since Christmas, he was going to Boston to catch a flight to Paris, he missed his flight and would call her again at 7:00, getting ready to board his flight, he would call her later to explain the time difference, he was getting a European phone number which would be forwarded to 499-8427.
Amber's phone records shows she made a total of 3 calls to the Modesto police on the 30th, and 2 calls to Scott (time not reported). She would call authorities more than 200 times in the next six weeks, totaling more than 20 hours of conversation. Frey's perception of Scott changed around the time Laci disappeared - just over a month after they began dating - and a private investigator, who was one of her clients, offered to look into Scott's background, her father, Ron Frey, told People. His help became unnecessary after Scott Peterson appeared on TV the next day with reports of his missing wife. In another source, credit for identifying Scott is given to Ava Frey, Amber's sister, who lived just a few blocks from the Petersons. Police believe Scott had other extramarital affairs, but no names or dates have been provided. According to some sources, Scott's defense does not plan to argue against these claims, but rather to use them to suggest that Amber was nothing special to Scott.
30 Dec 2002 Byrd with Amber & Shawn
Amber testified that Richard Byrd was with her and Shawn Sibley, at Amber's home, on the morning of the 30th, but left before Brocchini and Buehler arrived.
30 Dec 2002 Brocchini & Buehler interviewed Amber & Shawn
Brocchini was standing behind the tip desk when Amber's call came in, and he took the call. Brocchini and Buehler met with Amber on the 30th in Madera, which is northwest of Fresno on Highway 180. Shawn Sibley was with Amber at the time. Amber told Brocchini she tried to call him earlier in the middle of the night, but he wasn't there, so she called the tip line. She said she met Scott November 20th, and he said he wasn't married at the time. Later, about December 9th, she found out he was married and confronted him, and he told her that he had lost his wife and that this would be the first Christmas holiday without her. She said Scott was still calling her--she heard from him on the 25th, 26th, 27th, and 28th. He was telling her he was out of the country and he would be able to be with her more exclusively January 25. She played a recorded phone message from Scott, which he made on December 16, so they could be certain it was the same Scott Peterson.
Amber also told Brocchini and Buehler about Dave Gardanelli:
A friend of mine for 3 years. I'm going to make a long story short. Had married this girl that had a twin sister. uh. I ran into him. This is when I was 18. I'm 27 now, so it's been a long time. But I had seen him off and on and I had run into this guy Dave Gardanelli, that had married my friend, Kelly, that I had worked with at Thrifty at the time that I was pregnant with Iyana. And him and I have been friends ever since. Well then, I had seen him at the bar. And I said, where is Kelly. And he goes, oh, you didn't hear? He goes, she had a heart, you know, she had a heart condition. And I go, yes. And he said, well, she passed away last February. And I went, you know, it took me, like, you're kidding me. She's only 30. On Thursday, December 19th I was at the gas station. A long story short, I run into Kelly, thinking it was Shelly, her twin sister. And she said, well, I still do nails. I walked out to my car and I went, no. I went back and I said, hey, Shelly, you step outside with me. And she said, yeah. I said, okay, wait, your sister did nails, right? And she goes no, I did. That's right you called me Shelly. No, I'm Kelly. I'm Kelly. What, I'm sitting in front, unbelievably. I was, like, he told me you were dead, right?
And she says, no, he raped -- Dave Gardanelli, he raped and beat me when we were married. I've been hiding from him for three years.
Brocchini and Buehler went with Amber to Radio Shack to purchase recording equipment and authorized her to tape phone calls between herself and Scott. A couple detectives were often present when Amber received calls from Scott, particularly Jon Buehler. He would give her notes on what to say or ask. In these first few weeks, they generally wanted her to just let Scott talk--talk which did not yet admit Laci's existence but centered on his trip in Europe. Sharon Hagan from the Department of Justice also assisted, but Brocchini did not know what her title was.
Shawn told the two detectives about the marriage search she had done on Dec. 6. They did not ask to see the search records. She also told them she remained suspicious of Scott after Dec. 6. She faxed them a copy of the 2 business cards Scott had given her.
30 Dec 2002 Grogan interviewed Sharon Rocha and Ron Grantski
Grogan interviewed Sharon Rocha
and Ron Grantski and asked for Laci’s and Scot’s daily schedule
Sharon said around 7 am Laci would wake up and would walk the dog, would make a daily visit to grocery store, do housework and chores, visit with her sister, and start dinner preparation for 6 pm. Scott typically traveled to warehouse in morning, but his routine not known to Sharon or Ron. Scott was out of town a lot. Sharon told Grogan that Laci planned to walk McKenzie on the 24th and do some Gingerbread baking.
30 Dec 2002 Taped phone calls between Amber & Scott
The Prosecution entered in as evidence two phone calls between Scott and Amber that marked the beginning of her cooperation with the police. The calls, one at 5:01 pm and one immediately after at 5:03 pm, show that Scott is carrying on the charade of being on his holiday/business trip.
30 Dec 2002 Scott denied the Amber relationship to LE
Court Document filed by the DA on February 23, 2004 says Scott "never told the police of his relationship with Amber Frey and denied that relationship to them on December 30, 2002." The document does not state what explanation LE gave Scott for how they found out about Amber.
30 Dec 2002 Det. Holmes interviewed Peggy O'Donnell
At 2:38 pm, Det. Holmes interviewed Peggy O'Donnell at her business, which neighbors the Trade Corps warehouse, as part of a canvas of the warehouse area. He showed her photos of both Scott and Laci. She had seen Scott on one occasion when he let her use his forklift to move some items. She said Laci Peterson had come to her business and asked to use the bathroom on either 12/20 or 12/23. She believes this was late afternoon, however, she could not be sure? Peggy said Laci went to her and asked her to use her restroom. Peggy thought she had seen Scott's truck at the warehouse several times either late morning or late afternoon. Holmes showed her a picture of the boat, and she said she had never seen it.
30 Dec 2002 Tony Freitas called the tipline
Tony Freitas reported seeing Laci and McKenzie on La Loma Avenue on
the morning of Dec 24. He reported this to the MPD tipline on
December 30, 2002
31 Dec 2002 Laci's Croton watch pawned in Modesto
A gold Croton watch with gems, fitting the description of the watch Laci Peterson was wearing the day she disappeared, was pawned by Deanna Renfro at The Pawn Shop. While cross examining Victoria Brooks, co-owner of the Brooks Pawn & Jewelry shop in Modesto, Geragos introduced a pawn receipt for the Croton watch. Geragos intended to get more information about the pawn receipt into evidence, but Distaso objected. He did succeed in getting the receipt marked as an exhibit and pose a hypothetical question about the watch being pawned. In his cross examination of Robin Rocha, Geragos established that the Croton watch was not among Laci's jewelry when the police asked her to identify what was missing.
Additional information about the pawning of the watch was provided by Matt Dalton:
Police were unable to find the gold Croton watch, that according to Scott, she had put on that morning.
The also couldn't find the earrings Scott said she was wearing.
Police found Laci's Croton watch case, open and empty on her dresser.
Close to Laci's house on Dec 31 a woman pawned a yellow gold Croton watch, appeared to match description of the one Laci was wearing.
Info came from pawn ticket in the discovery.
No police report connected to it.
Pawnshop 10 minutes from Laci's house.
pawnbroker wouldn't come out of the back to talk to Dalton.
Dalton wrote him a note offering $300 for the watch. Pawnbroker wouldn't respond.
Laci had inherited the watch.
they had tried to sell it on E-bay.
there is a video that shows the watch made by Scott and Laci.
from description of video in a police report: "In the images of the jewelry was the Croton gold and diamond watch, which was at this point in the investigation unaccounted for."
Grogan watched the video for 2 minutes and the watch hand didn't move.
Grogan concluded Laci wouldn't have been wearing it because it wasn't working.
Dalton noted the name was the same(except for spelling) as the people who had the brown van and were camped out by the reservoir
Dalton was never able to locate the woman who had pawned the watch or to determine if she was related to the people with the brown van.
The police could
quickly have obtained this information. Pawnshop business is heavy
31 Dec 2002 $1000 reward for information about the Medina burglary
MPD issued a press release offering a $1000 reward for
information about the Medina burglary, and Diane Jackson's
information was used to construct the
flyer about this.
31 Dec 2002 Amber began her undercover work
Amber called Scott twice, once at 11:42 am and then at 2:59 pm. Scott called Amber at 11:35, 3:05, 4:18, and 4:20. He is telling her that he is in Brussels. In these conversations, investigation sources say, Scott "sweet-talked Amber, keeping up the pretense that he was a widower and he loved her. 'She had to bite her lip to stop herself from screaming, You liar!'"
31 Dec 2002 Candlelight vigil for Laci
Scott is criticized for not sitting at the front with the Rocha family, and for "laughing" with friends. However, in the initial weeks, the couple's family and friends staunchly stood behind Scott. Laci's brother, Brent Rocha, said that Scott loved his wife too much to ever harm her. Her friends said he was a devoted husband. "Scott is devastated," Laci's stepfather, Ron Grantski. "I know what we're going through, but he's got double. The press is questioning him, but all he wants to do is find his wife." The vigil started at 4:30 and Scott was on the phone with Amber at 4:12.
1 Jan 2003 Scott's annual income
Scott made $66K per year with Trade Corps.
1 Jan 2003 Scott & Amber's New Year's Eve call
Scott called Amber at 12:01 am on Jan 1. Distaso played the last 5 minutes of the call in his OS on June 1, and the entire conversation during Amber's testimony on August 11. The transcript of the call is 42 pages (audio recording available).
1 Jan 2003 Homer Maldonado called the tipline
Homer Maldonado reported seeing Laci and Mckenzie at the corner
of Covena and Miller on the morning of December 24. He reported
this to the MPD tipline on January 1, 2003.
1 Jan 2003 Invitation to the burglars
Police said they could not discount a connection, and they again
announced a $1,000 reward for information leading to suspects in
the burglary. They described the possible burglars as
short, dark-skinned men. They were seen in an older, full-size
van, either tan or light brown, with one or two doors in the
rear. Detectives especially want to know if the burglars
were not involved in Peterson's disappearance. "If we got a call
from the suspects saying that they saw something happening over
there but they are afraid to come in, we might be able to work
out a deal," Det. George Stough said.
2 Jan 2003 Scott asked for the Land Rover back
Grogan testified that Scott asked for the Land Rover back. Scott told Grogan he thought maybe Laci was abducted for the baby, and asked Grogan if he thought when the baby was born, Scott would get half his family back. Grogan said he had tears in his eyes. Scott also provided Grogan proof that he purchased $13.08 in gas at the Chevron in Livermore.
2 Jan 2003 Berkeley Marina searched
The search focused on the waters off the Berkeley Marina for the next few days. Police asked the public to help verify Scott's whereabouts on Christmas Eve day. They released pictures of his pickup truck, boat and boat trailer that they had impounded and pled for anyone who saw Scott in Berkeley from December 23-25 to come forward. Eventually, witnesses came forward to say they saw Scott (or a similar truck/ boat) at the Marina or en route to the Marina. They are identified in the chronology events for Christmas Eve.
2 Jan 2003 Burglars arrested
Police arrested two men, Steven Wayne Todd, 36, and Donald Glenn Pearce, 44, in connection with the burglary of the Medina home, 516 Covena Ave., and said neither was connected to Laci Peterson's disappearance. Todd led police to some of the stolen property, including the safe, jewelry and a weed-eater, according to a police report. From interviews with the burglars, the police concluded that the burglary took place at 6 a.m. on the 26th, and was not related to Laci's disappearance.
3 Jan 2003 Scott confronted with picture of him and Amber / Denied having an affair
Det. Grogan received a fax from Amber of a picture of Scott and her taken at the Dec. 14 Christmas party. Grogan met with Scott, laid the picture in front of him, and asked, 'What is the deal with this? You were telling us no other woman.' Scott replied, 'that's supposed to be me?' Scott reportedly told Grogan that the girl looked like someone he went to college with. Grogan told Scott that if he was having an affair, he should tell him, it didn't mean he had anything to do with Laci's disappearance. Scott replied that he hadn't dated anyone else since his marriage to Laci. Later that night, Scott was at a family dinner, and he told Amy, Sharon, and other family members that the police had a picture of him with another woman. He said someone morphed it off the internet and it really looks a lot like him. The pictures included here are stills taken from the video-tape of Grogan's interview, People's 266.
3 Jan 2003 Scott explained to Grogan why he made a homemade anchor
Scott had already told Grogan on December 30 that he used a 5-gallon plastic paint bucket purchased from Home Depot to make the anchor. At this interview, Grogan asked why he didn't just purchase an anchor. Scott said he got the idea for a homemade anchor from seeing some on rented boats in San Diego (See Defense Exhibit 9B) and explained the cost difference: $30 for an anchor, $3 for a bag of cement. Not until August 15, 2004, did Grogan confirm the accuracy of Scott's cost comparisons.
3 Jan 2003 Scott gives blood samples
On January 3, Detective Buehler and Detective Grogan took Scott
Peterson to Doctor's Medical Center where a blood sample was
3 Jan 2003 Berkeley Marina search continued
The search intensified in the Berkeley Marina overnight, as investigators took to the water for clues. "We're looking as many places we can. We're checking the coves. We're looking in the marinas. We're checking the rock walls -- all the various areas where the shoreline meets the water," said Sgt. Guy Craig of the Berkeley Police Department. "So far nothing."
3 Jan 2003 Karen Servas changed her timeline for finding McKenzie
Karen Servas wrote a handwritten note to Det. Buehler to inform him that she changed the time she found McKenzie to 10:18 a.m., based on her Austin's receipt. She told Buehler that after she found the receipt, she timed herself going to Austin's, per the route she took, and then subtracted that amount of time from the time on the receipt. She attached the receipt to the note.
3 Jan 2003 Janet Ilse called the Laci Peterson tip line
These excerpts are from Brocchini's police report, made public by Catherine Crier:
On Friday, 1-3-2003 at 1448 hours, our LACI PETERSON tip line received a call from [Janet]. Janet said she used to date Scott PETERSON in 1998 when they were [in] college. [Janet] said Peterson was married at the time they were dating but she didn't know it. [Janet] left her cell phone number in case someone wanted to call back.
[Janet] said Peterson was very generous with his money, frequently taking her out on dates and out to dinner. [Janet] lived with two female roommates and they were always short on money. Peterson would frequently come to their residence and bring food and gifts. [Janet] said on one of their first dates together, Peterson gave [Janet] twelve dozen [sic] roses. [Janet] said they talked about moving in together during their dating relationship.
During one night in 1998, [Janet] said she went to Peterson's residence late in the evening. [Janet] said she arrived during the early morning hours and was let in the house by Peterson's roommate. [Janet] said she went into Peterson's room and found Peterson in bed with Laci. [Janet] said she was extremely upset because Peterson was cheating on her with Laci. [Janet] said she had words with both Scott and Laci until one of Peterson's roommates escorted [Janet] out of the room. The roommate drove [Janet] home. The roommate told [Janet] that Laci was Peterson's wife, not his girlfriend and Peterson had been cheating on his wife.
I asked [Janet] if her and Peterson talked about having a family. [Janet] said her and Peterson had gone to a rodeo on one of their dates and there were kids present at the rodeo. Peterson told [Janet] he did not want kids because they would get in the way of his lifestyle. [Janet] said Peterson made it clear that kids were not in his future.
While [Janet] and Peterson dated, Peterson also stopped eating meat, That corroborates what Amber FREY told me regarding what Peterson had told her. Peterson told Frey he dated a vegetarian in college for about six months. Peterson told Frey he had stopped eating meat while dating that girl because "the sex was great."
I asked [Janet] about their intimate relationship. [Janet] said, "He had issues." I asked what [Janet] was talking about, and [Janet] said Peterson did some weird things at a bar after they broke up. [Janet] said it was only second hand information from Peterson's roommates, however [Janet] heard Peterson got real drunk and began exposing his penis in the bar. [Janet] said Peterson was very self-conscious about the size of his penis, and whether he could please a woman.
I asked [Janet] how sure she was Laci knew Peterson was in an intimate relationship with her. [Janet] said she is positive Laci knew even though she never spoke to Laci. [Janet] said Laci knew because of what [Janet] said to Scott and Laci when she caught them in bed together. [Janet] made it obvious to Laci that Scott and [Janet] were in an intimate relationship. [Janet] said Scott was never verbally or physically abusive towards her.
3-11 Jan 2003 Surveillance camera on Covena
The LE had surveillance on Scott, but some of the detectives and members of the surveillance team realized that Scott could easily detect them on Covena. Sometime during the first week in January, they installed a closed-circuit television that was put on a pole, and was viewed from a van so somebody in a van could watch a screen of Scott's driveway. The surveillance equipment also had the capability to make recordings, and two video tapes were made. Brocchini, who testified about this surveillance camera at the Preliminary hearing, did not know when the equipment was taken down, but the ModBee reported neighbors saw some equipment being removed from line poles after the subject came up in the hearing. Brocchini also did not know whether the camera was furnished by the DEA or FBI.
Harvey Kemple followed Scott
Kemple testified that sometime in early January he went to the Volunteer Center at the Red Lion to pick up flyers and while there asked Scott what direction he was going to hang up flyers, and Scott said he was going to Paradise Road. Still in the parking lot, Kemple observed Scott get into a pickup and decided to follow him, since he saw him turn in the opposite direction, not the way to get to Paradise Road. He followed Scott to the mall on Sisk Rd, but the mall was not yet open. Kemple observed Scott just sitting in the pickup for about 40-45 minutes and then Kemple left.
On a subsequent occasion, Kemple again followed Scott as he left the Volunteer Center. This time, Scott went to the Del Rio Country club and turned into the parking lot. Kemple testified that he had heard Scott was regularly going to the country club to golf from Denis Tobin and a woman named Stephanie that worked at the golf course.
4 Jan 2003 Sharon Rocha took possession of Laci's redesigned wedding ring
Sharon Rocha, accompanied by Sandy Rickard, picked up Laci's wedding ring and all the stones she inherited from her Grandmother Rocha that were going to go into a redesigned wedding ring. (Defense Exhibit 7C)
4 Jan 2003 Berkeley Marina search continued
Police divers again searched the water near the Berkeley Marina. Special dogs that can detect human scent in the water were used to survey the water and shortly before 3 p.m. a hit came back. "One of the teams detected that there might be something to look for and we at this point don't know if it's substantial. We've got the divers here and we'll go ahead and use them and check out the spot," said a spokesman from the Berkeley Police Department.
4 Jan 2003 Grogan interviewed Amy Rocha
Detective Grogan interviewed Amy about what Laci was wearing on December 23rd and whether Amy knew Laci had a housekeeper. To the latter question, Amy said Laci talked about getting a housekeeper, but she did not know that she had. In her Preliminary Hearing testimony, Amy said she also told Grogan at this interview that Salon Salon had video surveillance, so a tape should be available with Laci on it and he should get it. In her trial testimony, she said the first time she discussed the video surveillance was on January 27, that the January 4 interview focused on where Amy was on the 24th, the Rocha inheritance and jewelry. She also told Grogan what happened the night before at dinner with Scott telling them about Grogan showing him the picture. On September 20, Fladager indicated this interview was 7 January.
4 Jan 2003 Brent Rocha bought a gun to kill Scott
Brent Rocha, in his Victim Impact Statement, admitted the following:
I knew that immediately, when Laci was missing, that you were responsible. On January 4th, 2003 I went and bought a gun. I already knew at that point in time you were guilty. I chose not to kill you myself for one reason: So you would have to sweat it out and not take the easy way out. I'm grateful I made the right decision.
5 Jan 2003 Scott went to the Berkeley Marina
The LE surveillance team followed Scott between roughly 7:30 in the morning and 11:40 in the morning driving around in Modesto, in the Land Rover. About 11:42, he was followed back to his residence, where the surveillance units watched him go into his house. He came out about an hour later wearing different clothing, he got into a small silver Subaru that belonged to Aaron Fritz and that was parked in his driveway, and then the surveillance units followed him directly to the Berkeley Marina. He pulled into the Berkeley Marina boat launch area, stayed about five minutes, and then looked out over the Bay. Then he drove straight back to Modesto.
5 Jan 2003 Other area waterways searched
Search teams were sent to Merced, Tuolumne, Calaveras, San Joaquin, Alameda and Mariposa counties. Besides scouring new areas outside Stanislaus County, approximately 16 officers and five dogs took a second look Sunday at several areas within the county that previously had been searched.
5 Jan 2003 Scott's fishing location identified
The MPD told the ModBee Scott's exact fishing location:
"Peterson told police that he launched his aluminum boat at the
marina, then went northwest and fished around Brooks Island,
said police Sgt. Ron Cloward, who is directing the search."
6 Jan 2003 Gene Ralston's help solicited
On January 6, 2003, Sgt. Tim Helton, MPD, contacted Gene Ralston for help in the search for Laci in the San Francisco Bay and other waterways. Ralston is a renowned underwater search expert. Ron Cloward also spoke to Ralston, who volunteered his services with only expenses to be reimbursed.
6 Jan 2003 Brocchini interviewed Eric Olsen
Brocchini interviewed Eric on the 6th, and part of the interview was about the lunch Eric had with Scott on the 5th. He told Brocchini that Scott said the LE were still looking at him as the prime suspect, they had seized his car, gone into his house, and he didn't know what to do. Eric told Brocchini that after the 2 Dec phone call from Shawn, Scott told him, referring to Shawn, 'I shouldn't have met her, I did something stupid.' Eric said that conversation with Scott occurred on December 9.
6 Jan 2003 Scott went again to the Berkeley Marina
The LE surveillance units saw Scott leave his house about 7:30 in the morning, he drove to the Red Lion, where he stayed there for about 45 minutes, then went to Kirk McAllister's office. From there he went to the Enterprise Rent-A-Car business on 7th and G Street. He rented a small red Honda, and he left his Land Rover in the Enterprise lot. From there he went to the Berkeley Marina. He parked just north of the boat launch, stared out into the bay about two minutes, then drove back. From this circular overlook, you can see Brooks Island, the areas where the bodies washed up. On the way back, the LE were not able to maintain constant surveillance the entire trip back to Modesto. Scott was stopping on the side of the freeway, making U-turns in the middle of blocks, pulling into parking lots and stopping, just briefly, and then taking off, and they were unable to follow him. They picked up surveillance again when he returned to the Volunteer Center before going to Enterprise at 5:18 pm to get the Land Rover. In cross examination at the Preliminary Hearing, McAllister suggested Scott was, or thought he was, being tailed by the media.
6 Jan 2003 Mines near LaGrange searched
At the request of Officer Matt Ponce, Officer David Corder took his all-terrain vehicle to LaGrange, to the old bridge, to assist in the search of some mines. He saw the sand disturbed and some footprints at a mine shaft going into the mountain and crawled inside the mine shaft, but nothing found.
6 Jan 2003 DDA suspected Laci was mistaken for her
A DDA who lived in Modesto but worked in Merced called the MPD January 6, 2003 because she was concerned that persons who threatened her might have mistaken Laci for her. 5'1", 140 lbs, dark shoulder-length hair, a reddish brown retriever named McKenzie, lived in Laci's neighborhood, and obviously pregnant at the time the threats were made. Follow-up on her tip was dropped when the attorney for the person who made the threat was a no-show.
6-8 Jan 2003 Amber in Modesto, coached by MPD
On January 6, 7, and 8 Amber is in Modesto and records her phone
conversations with Scott at the Police Department. Amber is
coached by Detectives Buehler and Grogan and Sharon Hagan, a profiler with the Department of Justice. On January 6, at 11:02 p.m. Scott
told Amber that Laci Peterson is his wife and has been missing for two weeks.
6 Jan 2003 Scott told Amber about Laci
Amber and Scott exchanged 6 phone calls, all of the calls from Scott to Amber. National Enquirer reported that Amber deliberately provoked Scott to admit Laci was his wife in phone calls on the 5th (3 calls were exchanged on the 5th). Amber kept telling Scott that her friends were trying to reach her with some very important news. However, the Enquirer incorrectly stated that the the call wherein Scott actually admitted his marriage to Amber took place on the 5th, whereas Detective Jon Buehler, in the Preliminary hearing, provided a transcript of the call, which occurred on the 6th. It is unclear from the information provided if the efforts to provoke Scott to admit Laci was his wife also occurred on the 6th, or on the 5th.
Scott called Amber late in the evening to tell her about Laci, and Amber taped the conversation, with Detective Jon Buehler listening in. He began by saying that he knew why Saki called her. (Saki was Amber's friend who later sold the pictures of Scott and Amber to People and National Enquirer.) In the conversation with Amber, Scott justified not having told her previously: "Well, I know I'm trying. I justify it to myself by saying no, she just found out about Dave, no she just had a fight with her sister, don't tell her. No, no, it was probably just weakness and hoping that I could hold onto you." Amber, obviously scripted, several times mentioned the "coincidence" between the story he told her on December 9, that he had lost his wife, and Laci now being missing. Absolutely missing from the conversation is any expression by Amber of concern for Laci or the baby. Scott says several times that he wants to protect her and her daughter from the media. According to National Enquirer, in this phone call Amber "blew up at" Scott. Her reaction was so strong that detectives worried that Scott would stop the phone calls.
Geragos, in his OS, read statements Scott made in a phone call with Amber on Jan 6 that are not in the transcript Buehler provided at the Prelim.
God, I hope she is found alive.
I'm going to find her.
We are going to find her. I hope we find her. When I get up in the morning, I'm heading to the volunteer center and volunteers come through, and we direct them to go out. And when I'm there searching. We're putting up flyers. We're asking people door-to-door. The most important thing is finding Laci and the baby. I care very much about finding Laci.
I would hope that you know me well enough, as does, you know, our families who know that there is no possible way I could have had anything to do with this.
There is a lot of reports of people who are at least thinking they saw her in the park and walking the street. I do not know where she is. I wish I did. I love Laci. I loved Laci, no question.
Gee, I mean, God, it would be wonderful if she's returned safely.
<Amber asks why she should not go to the police.> It's your decision. It's your choice. I have nothing to hide, Amber. You need to do what's right for you. I'm not afraid of it. If you think that's the right thing to do, do it.
7 Jan 2003 Amber called Scott to make-up
As reported in the National Enquirer, investigation sources said Amber called Scott, apparently to smooth things over after she "blew up" at him the day before when he admitted Laci was his wife. Investigation sources said "Amber had to talk her head off -- but she got Scott back on the hook." This is the only call between Scott and Amber on the 7th.
The Prosecution chose this conversation to be among those played for the jury. Transcript Scott says he still is hopeful he can have a relationship with Amber, though he knows it will take time to win her trust again. She challenges Scott to prove he wants her trust back by doing a media interview the next day.
7 Jan 2003 Scott has meeting with Modesto Chief of Police
Scott told Amber in the Jan 7 taped phone conversation that he had a 5:30 pm meeting with Police Chief Roy Wasden and then was having dinner at Sharon's house. He said that was his 3rd meeting with Wasden. Scott also told Amber that Sharon was on anti-depressant drugs and emotionless, and he was worried about her.
7 Jan 2003 Search in Calaveras County
Divers were back in the water, searching a river in Calaveras County for clues to Laci's disappearance. There was no word whether a blue tarp discovered over the weekend in the Berkeley Marina was connected to the case.
8 Jan 2003 Search returns to Berkeley Marina
Modesto Police were back at the Berkeley Marina, using a borrowed search boat armed with an underwater camera to scour the waters below for any clues. Searchers first turned their attentions to the waters of the marina last weekend, but swift currents and murky waters hindered divers. Sonar gear did spot something unusual in the waters, but by the time divers entered the water, they could not locate what it might have been. If police found anything new on Wednesday at the Marina, they were not saying.
8 Jan 2003 Scott questions Amber's involvement
In a conversation that Amber taped, Scott made a comment that sounded like he thought Amber might be involved in Laci's disappearance:
Amber immediately caught the significance of that statement, and asked him to back up! He explained:
Amber still thinks Scott is accusing her, and replies:
Amber obviously interpreted his statements to mean Scott thought she was involved in Laci's disappearance.
Later in the same conversation, Scott reveals his lack of concern that Amber is going to the police.
Transcript and recording
9 Jan 2003 Scott returned to the Marina
LE surveillance noted that at 7:00 am Scott put some suitcases into the truck he had rented the day before. About 10:30 he left home and drove straight to the Berkeley Marina. Once there, he circled the parking lot, stopped, briefly stared out into the bay for a few minutes, and then drove away. From there he went to the San Luis O'Neill Forebay, and then to the Double Tree in Bakersfield, where he stayed the night. Divers were doing searches in both the Bay and the San Luis Forebay, and the ModBee had an article that morning about the search in the Bay.
9 Jan 2003 Sonar search found object, may be body
After days of coming up empty in their search for Laci Peterson, the Modesto Police finally may have a clue as to what happened to the missing woman. A sonar search of water at the Berkeley Marina turns up a submerged object that may indicate a human body. But police say inclement weather and fatigue among the divers is preventing them from retrieving the object or investigating it any further until the weekend. Expert divers, veterans of many Bay water searches, questioned the decision to delay the recovery of whatever lies at the bottom of the Berkeley Marina. When asked if he still supports his son-in-law, Laci's stepfather, Ron Grantski, says he does, but adds "God Help Us" if Scott is somehow involved.
Scott told Amber on the 12th that he received a lot of calls from the media and also hate calls after this hit the news. He said he was told not to participate in the radio broadcast the next morning because the media would just spend the time accusing him, but he didn't say who gave him that advice. He did say Kim Peterson gave him the same advice.
9 Jan 2003 Marietta Wallace tip
Marietta Wallace reported that her coworker, David, had been driving his truck on westbound 580 on Christmas Eve about 0300 hours, or 3:00 in the morning, and David told Wallace that he had seen a large bundle wrapped in a blue blanket, like a Mexican-motif-type blanket, in the back of a small boat that David said looked like Scott's truck and boat with this bundle in the back. Detective Brocchini followed up on the tip, figured out who David was, and had him down for a couple of interviews. Brocchini, suspicious that the Petersons were not relaying all tips received on their hotline to the police, called this exact tip in to see if it would be reported. He testified at the Preliminary hearing that it was not. Brocchini asked FBI agent Terry Scott to subpoena the Peterson tip line records to see what other tips had been received.
10 Jan 2003 Wiretap on Scott's phones
A wiretap was placed on Scott's phones, and remained in place until February 4, 2003. Some legal experts suspect that the wiretaps intentionally targeted the press: "I suspect, to be perfectly frank with you, the reporter's conversations were the ones they wanted all along . . . That might be information that never made itself into a news story and therefore, was sealed in the reporter's notes and in the reporter's files. And the DA would have a very tough time trying to subpoena that or obtain a search warrant." Investigators initially reported logging 3,858 phone calls on Scott's home and cellular phones, plus the 176 that were later found stored on a computer. Many of these calls were from the media. For example, NBC's Jodi Hernandez in San Francisco made nearly 50 phone calls to one of Scott's cell phones just to arrange a single interview. 69 of the calls were between Scott and his attorney.
10 Jan 2003 Scott returned Amber's cards & pictures
Scott told Amber in the Jan 12 taped conversation that he received the card and picture that she sent to the PO Box, and that he returned both it and the card and picture of her and Ayianna that she gave him as he left her on December 15.
10 Jan 2003 The Tracy tip
A tip came into the California Highway Patrol from an anonymous
caller using a cell phone. This tip was sent by teletype to
the Modesto Police Department and then forwarded (probably by Brocchini) to MPD Sgt. Helton in the late afternoon on January 10,
2003. Helton assigned MPD Officers Eric Beffa and John Locke to follow-up on this tip.
MPD Officers Beffa and Locke met San Joaquin Sheriff's Deputy Paul Mears at 6pm. They met at Denny's in Tracy for 15 minutes. Then
they drove to a location on Lammers Road. The Modesto Officers left at 7 p.m., called back to Modesto for another case.
San Joaquin County Officer Mears was left to investigate the tip. He was never able to find the location that fit the description in the tip. However, Officer Mears ordered a helicopter to fly over a criminal compound south of the Altamont Raceway between 11:30 pm and 1 am that night. He called backup officers from San Joaquin and Alameda County for assistance. They did not enter the criminal compound because their superior officer said it was too dangerous.
No one from MPD was involved in this operation at the criminal compound. The criminal compound did not fit the description provided in the
Tracy Tip, so the possibility that Laci was actually at a location in Tracy, and could have been saved, has not been ruled out.
11 Jan 2003 Scott lied about his whereabouts
Lee and Jackie Peterson were in Modesto. Scott left home during
the day on business but returned to Modesto that evening. He and
his parents were invited to dinner at a Rotary friend's house.
Scott then went to two special prayer services for Laci. His
mother, made ill by stress, went to the Emergency Room at a
hospital in Modesto that night, and Scott spent several hours
there with her.
Modesto Police later claimed this is the day they didn't know where Scott was because they stopped trailing him, and because they weren't
able to put a GPS monitor on the Silver Saturn he used from this time until January 16. Also on this day, they said they stopped surveillance of the Covena house with the pole camera across the street. They claimed that they were only able to determine where Scott was by using Cell Phone Tower records, a very unreliable, unproven method (junk science) for determining location. The wiretap of Scott's phones which had been approved on January 10 began operating on January 11.
LE intentionally made it a big media story that divers would be going down on the 11th to recover the object found by sonar searches on the 9th--reportedly a body. They monitored Scott's whereabouts through his cell phone activity.
Around 10:30 he was known to be near the Berkeley Marina because he checked his voice mail and it was activated at the Berkeley Marina switch, but no one saw him. Later in the day he checked voice mail again in the Gilroy/Hollister area. The following calls were admitted as evidence to show Scott lied about his whereabouts. The following indicates the time of the call, the person Scott was talking to, and where Scott said he was compared to cell site locations. Click on the overview map to enlarge.
•People's 207A-2 (map) & A-3 (transcript): 10:48 am, Jackie Peterson, west Fresno
•People's 207A-5 (transcript): 12:55 pm, voice mail from Sharon Rocha (Scott whistled)
•People's 207A-6 (map) & A-7 (transcript): 12:56 pm, Sharon Rocha, Bakersfield
•People's 207A-8 (map) & A-9 (transcript): 1:01 pm, Lee Peterson, Bakersfield
•People's 207A-10 (map) & A-11 (transcript): 1:21 pm, Guy Miligi, coming home from Bakersfield
•People's 207A-12 (transcript): 1:25 pm, voice mail to Mike Richardson
•People's 207A-13 (map) & A-14 (transcript): 1:31 pm, Heather Richardson, in Button Willow
•People's 207A-15 (transcript) 2:02 pm, Robert Weaver, not specified
In the 12:56 call with Sharon, she mentioned wanting the police to find the blue pickup she said Kim McGregor reported seeing several times. Sharon surmised that someone might have been watching the house and took Laci for the baby.
Jan 2003 Police offered Scott a plea bargain
Sometime in January, the police offered Scott a plea-bargain deal through his attorney, Kirk McAllister. If he led them to Laci's body, they would not seek the death penalty against him. Scott refused the offer.
11 Jan 2003 Grogan interviewed Rose Rocha, Brent's wife
Detective Grogan interviewed Rose Rocha and asked her about Brent's whereabouts on December 23 and 24. She didn't tell Grogan about the comment Scott made, saying he had hoped for infertility when Laci was trying to get pregnant. She didn't mention that comment until her January 21 interview with Grogan, after Scott's affair with Amber became public knowledge. She told Grogan Scott's and Laci's relationship seemed happy, and had no knowledge of any plans to separate or divorce.
11 Jan 2003 Laci's baby shower
The day that was to be Laci's baby shower. A search of the Berkeley Marina, where authorities had found an object using side-scan sonar, an object that might be a body, turned up an old anchor and no clues as to what happened to Laci. In Modesto, the news re-vitalized friends and family at the Peterson search center, but a friend who spent the day with Scott said he was worn out and emotionally fragile.
Scott told Amber he attended a couple of prayer groups at churches, and that he felt the positive energy. He hadn't been in Church for a long time, and had never seen organized religion through those eyes before. Some guys from the Rotary club had invited him. He also told her that when he called his parents, he learned that his mother was in the ER, the stress got to her all of a sudden, she started vomiting, and they had to put her on morphine.
11 Jan 2003 Fetal abduction possibility
In a phone conversation with Scott, Sharon Rocha mentioned the fear that Laci was abducted for her baby:
Sharon ROCHA: Yeah, that’s what I thought too. I don’t know, the way they said it had funny, you know, sniffing all around. It still…I’m still trying to get them to find that um, blue pickup that Kim McGregor said she saw several times.
Scott PETERSON: Yeah, definitely.
Sharon ROCHA: I mean if they were sitting there watching and it was a couple… I mean, I keep going back to someone, you know, taken her for the baby.
Scott PETERSON: Yeah.
Pregnant women murdered or abducted for their unborn babies
12 Jan 2003 The hate calls
Scott told Amber he regularly received a call about 2:00 a.m. from the same person that says: "Scott Peterson, you killed her. You're going to kill your mom now. She's on oxygen, you need to come clean and don't kill your mom." The one at 2:30 this morning said, "I'm sorry I blamed you. You had nothing to do with this. I'm so sorry that this has happened."
12 Jan 2003 Scott at the Volunteer Center
Scott went to the Volunteer Center at 7:00 a.m. and then to special prayer services for Laci at two different churches. He went to Berkeley with Lee and Jackie for the christening of Anne Bird's son, then back to work at the Volunteer center, then to more prayer services. His parents were still in Modesto that night.
12 Jan 2003 Acts of kindness towards Scott
Amid all the hate calls and media harassment, some were still showing acts of kindness towards Scott. He told Amber in a phone call later that day that he went to a special prayer service for Laci at the Big Valley Church. He was invited by Sergeant Cloward, who was leading the search. When Scott arrived, the church was full, so he went into the mezzanine area and was standing in the back for about 5-10 minutes when someone came and invited him to sit with his family. Scott described it as "the most beautiful thing, really . . . really kind of them."
12 Jan 2003 Taped phone call with Amber
At 6:04, Scott called Amber. transcript & recording After Scott tells her about a couple prayer services for Laci that he's attended, his mother being in the ER from the stress, and the hate calls he has been receiving, Amber appears unsympathetic and quickly changes the subject to the lies he told her, which justify her suspicion of him. When Amber quizzed him about whether he intended not to see her until late January, he said he planned to tell her he came back earlier than expected from Europe and then resume his relationship with her, but continue married to Laci. When she asked if and when he ever planned to divorce Laci, he said he didn't want to do the broken record thing again. In all his calls with Amber, Scott steadfastly refused to discuss his relationship with Laci.
Interestingly, in this conversation, Scott told Amber his family knew about her, but she didn't believe him. Then he interrupted his conversation with her to tell his Mom, who had just arrived, that he was on the phone with Amber, but Amber merely says Uh-hum.
13 Jan 2003 The Rochas & Petersons on LKL
Scott's sister-in-law, Janey, came to Modesto to appear on Larry
King Live that night with Lee, Sharon Rocha, Amy Rocha and Ron
Grantski. The Rocha and Peterson families spoke of the idyllic relationship between Scott and Laci. Sharon said: "They just are really truly in love with each other. They do everything together. They're partners. They're a team. They love each other. They planned together, they play together. They're always smiling. They're just very happy, well-adjusted couple. Never been any indication, I never heard Laci say she was even angry with Scott for any reason at all." Sharon and Ron had only kind words to say about Scott.
13 Jan 2003 Scott terminated the warehouse lease
Scott sent a letter to terminate the warehouse lease, with intent to vacate in 30 days.
13 Jan 2003 Jacobson's wiretap report: The Amber Problem
Police Investigators had a meeting on January 13 to discuss the Amber Problem. Amber thought she was making secret calls to Scott, but LE had all of her phones tapped. Investigator Jacobson wrote the following in his wiretap report:
She informed us early on that she wanted to cooperate in this investigation, even stating she was tape recording her calls with Peterson. Yet, the evidence based on the intercepts has us to believe that Amber Frey still has a desire to have Scott Peterson in her life and that she may even lie or conspire with him to withhold evidence.
Detective Buehler stated he had talked with Amber Frey and asked her if she had heard from Scott Peterson. Amber Frey said she had not. Detective Buehler stated he did not reveal to her that he had intercepted several conversations between the two of them. Obviously Amber Frey is no longer telling us the truth in this investigation and judging by Scott‘s question to her in call “A” above, I suspect she may be disseminating information to Scott Peterson concerning what law enforcement knows about this investigation.
14 Jan 2003 First hint at selling the Covena home
Scott asked Terri Western about selling the house. He told her, 'I really need to sell my house. I don't want Laci coming back to this house.' Terri didn't follow-up with Scott. He talked to Brian Argain about selling the house on the 22nd.
14 Jan 2003 Scott told Amber he cared about her
11:58 recorded conversation between Amber and Scott. Amber asked: 'Scott, why are you wanting a relationship with me?' Scott: 'Amber, I care about you.' Amber asked him to define 'care.' Scott answered: 'I worry more and desire seeing you happy. I worry about you. Desire to make you happy. I desire to help you if you need it. I desire to be, you know, something positive in your life, like a positive partner. I'd like to share things with you. And I think you are just, you know, splendid, for lack of a better word. It's amazing to learn from you, and to learn together. And that's my definition of caring.' Later in the conversation, she said, 'I am just so confused you still want to hold on to me, I mean, all this going on around you.' Scott: 'I mean I stated that I cared about you. I mean, you know where I'm coming from.' Amber said, 'You care?' Scott, 'that's all I can say, what's the matter?' Amber: 'You care about her? But I mean you don't love her? I don't understand why you want to hold on to me.' Scott: 'Don't you have a desire to hold on to people you care about. I can't give you any answers. Just let me say again, you know, that obviously I care about you, and I think you know the truth about me inside. It's a gift that you share that you talk to me. And I just hope that you will, you know, see that it's appropriate to do so. And if you ever care to share, please call me.'
Several times in the call, Scott tells Amber he won't call her anymore, but wait for her to call him. Finally, he asks her if he can call her, and she says, If you want to. After again pressing for her to say whether their conversations are positive for her, she responded, it depends on what you have say. Transcript & recording
14 Jan 2003 Scott at Sharon's house
Scott told Amber in a taped phone call Jan 15, 9:47 pm that he was at Sharon's house the evening of the 14th, watching Date Line and On the Record with Greta. He said Greta's guests were a couple sturgeon fishermen. Sharon confirmed this in her trial testimony. She said the fishermen talked about using shrimp to fish for sturgeon, and she asked Scott what he used. Janey, Scott's sister-in-law, replied that Scott used a lure. Sharon said Scott made no response.
15 Jan 2003 Police met with Laci's family
This was the day that everything changed. Detectives Buehler and
Brocchini met with Sharon Rocha and Ron Grantski at the Modesto
Police Department at 5 p.m. They showed them pictures of Amber
Frey with Scott and told them that Scott had taken out a $250K
life insurance policy on Laci in the summer after she became
pregnant. Detectives Grogan and Owen went to San Diego on this
day to give similar information to Lee Peterson. At this time or
sometime the following day, the detectives told the Rochas that
they believed Scott was responsible for Laci's disappearance and
that there was blood evidence. They told them that Scott was
still seeing Amber.
The information LE gave to the Rocha family about the life insurance, however, was a lie. On January 10, Detective Owens had possession of the two insurance policies, each for $250K and one for Scott and one for Laci. The ModBee quoted a family source saying LE told them Scott had taken out the life insurance just that summer. The information they gave the Rochas about the blood evidence was a lie, too. Brent Rocha said Sharon's attitude towards Scott made a drastic 180 degree turn.
After the meeting with MPD, Sharon and Ron went home. Gwen and Harvey Kemple, Kim Peterson, Sandy Rickard, Patty Amador, Lin Wilson, Lissa McElroy, Susie and Gil Aquino came to their house that evening. Sharon said she wanted to close the Volunteer Center. Kim Peterson notified key people and Buehler about the decision. Terri Western, after a phone conversation with Kim Peterson closed the volunteer center in Modesto permanently the following day.
16 Jan 2003 National Enquirer photos of Amber & Scott
The National Enquirer came out with photos of Scott and Amber together and mentions the life insurance policy, blood evidence, and concrete anchors.
16 Jan 2003 MPD provided Sharon with a recording device
In the evening, Detectives Grogan and Buehler come to Sharon's
house to set up the recording equipment on the phone. The house
is full of people at the time including Brent, Amy and her
mother Nancy, Nathan, Sandy, Gwen, Lissa and Sharon's mother.
Brent had a copy of the National Enquirer. While the police are
still there, Scott called and asked Sharon if he could come over
to discuss the situation. Prompted by Grogan, Sharon said no.
On cross examination, Pat Harris asked Rickard about the call Scott made to Sharon while Grogan was there. Harris indicated Scott wanted to go over to Sharon's to talk to her about the situation and what had happened, and that Grogan motioned to Sharon not to let him come over. Rickard said all she remembered was that Scott called while Grogan was there.
16 Jan 2003 Sharon & Ron accused Scott of murdering Laci
In an emotion-filled phone call, Sharon accused Scott of murdering Laci and demanded he tell her where he put Laci, so she can bury her daughter. She says Scott can just run away once he tells her where Laci is. Ron Grantski joined the conversation to tell Scott that they have seen pictures and Scott's world is crumbling. Transcript
According to a Feb. 4, 2003 article by Daily News Staff Writer Leo Standora, Sharon was publicly claiming the breach between them and Scott was Scott's initiative.
Sharon Rocha said yesterday that even after learning Peterson had cheated on her daughter, she initially was willing to give him the benefit of doubt.
"I mean, that definitely was very shocking. We had no idea. We really didn't suspect anything like that would be going on." But she said Peterson cut ties with the Rochas after his infidelity was exposed.
16 Jan 2003 Scott admitted affair to Rochas
Scott admitted his affair with Amber Frey to Brent Rocha, his first admission to Laci's family. That phone call was recorded by the wiretap. Scott also told Brent learned from Terry Western why the Volunteer Center was closed. Scott had been there that day to load up materials for the Volunteer Center in Los Angeles on Sunday. Brent had a copy of the National Enquirer issue. He and Scott discuss the allegations. Brent seems quite willing to listen to Scott's side of the story. The conversation ends with Brent's suggestion that they get together on Monday. Scott also gave some local media interviews.
16 Jan 2003 Diane Jackson interviewed
Diane Jackson was interviewed by Scott's private investigator Ermoian.
17 Jan 2003 Detective Brocchini called Mike Richardson
At 6:40 am, Brocchini called Mike Richardson, a good friend of Scott's, and asked him if he read the ModBee. He wanted him to read an article running that day about Amber Frey and the $250K life insurance Scott took out on Laci. Brocchini suggested that Heather, Mike's wife, call Sharon Rocha for further information, and said that Scott was not welcome in any of Laci's friends' or families' homes. Later that day, Brocchini called Mike back to see if he had read the article and encouraged him to question Scott about Laci's disappearance. At the preliminary hearing, Brocchini said he had also contacted other friends of Scott's and Laci's with the intention of planting the seeds of suspicion and solicited their help to get answers to questions he was not legally allowed to ask Scott. He said he wanted them to let Scott know he was the one wanting the answers. Brocchini also talked to Aaron Fritz and Brian Argain, both of whom were friends of Laci. Defense attorney Kirk McAllister suggested in his cross examination that Aaron Fritz taped at least one of the calls Brocchini made to him, when Brocchini allegedly told Fritz that he would take Scott Peterson down.
17 Jan 2003 Breach between Scott and the Rochas
The Rocha family confirmed that they have seen pictures of Scott and Amber. Scott spearheaded an effort to get missing-person fliers posted in Los Angeles, setting up a search center at the Doubletree Hotel. An organizer of the new outreach effort to find Laci says that people have been calling the Doubletree Hotel in Los Angeles and blaming the staff there for "supporting a murderer."
17 Jan 2003 Brent accused Scott
In a phone conversation captured by the wiretap, Brent Rocha accused Scott of doing something to Laci. He says the evidence is stacking up and he won't get away with it. He specifically mentions Laci going to the Christmas party alone while he was at a Christmas party with Amber. Scott denies doing anything to Laci and says he wants her and his baby back. Brent also suggests that Susan, Scott's sister, and other family members are losing faith in him.
17 Jan 2003 Scott told Amber he had nothing to do with it
Scott called Amber at 5:16 pm to tell her about the Rocha's accusing him of having something to do with Laci's disappearance. When she started quizzing him on where he and Laci were the 23rd, they had this exchange:
Amber got the last word in on the call: Who else . . . who else is there to point fingers to . . . Who else? Who? Who? Can you answer that? Transcript
17 Jan 2003 Kristen Dempewolf & Diane Jackson hypnotized
Dr. Dale Pennington interviewed Dempewolf and then hypnotized her. The purpose of the hypnosis was to help Dempewolf remember her encounter with Scott on Christmas Eve morning. Dempewolf's pre-hypnosis memory was preserved in a 2-page report on the January 9 interview by Detective Schmierer, a 3-page police report on the January 13 interview by Detective Rick House, and a video-tape of the January 17 pre-hypnosis interview by Pennington.
According to defense documents filed Feb 9, 2004, LE never asked Dempewolf to read and attest to the accuracy of the two police reports or sign a written statement in which she related her full pre-hypnosis recollection of the events. Pennington's interview of Dempewolf disclosed that prior to the hypnosis, she could not recall the date of the incidents, but during the hypnotic interview Pennington questioned her in a manner that required remembering the relevant date. Detective Stough "gave Dr. Pennington a brief on the burglary and on the reports of the suspicious van on or about the 24th of December 2002 in front of 516 Covena." After the briefing, Det. Banks took Pennington to the scene so he could view the area, raising concerns that Pennington could have unwittingly or intentionally given Dempewolf cues that would have permanently altered her recollection.
17 Jan 2003 LE asked Salon Salon for video tape
In his Opening Statement, Distaso said this was the first LE learned that Salon Salon had a video surveillance setup. However, the tape for Dec. 23 had already been taped over.
17 Jan 2003 Brocchini watched the Martha Stewart shows
To check out Scott's statement that the morning of Dec 24 Laci was watching the Martha Stewart show and one of the segments was about meringue, Brocchini ordered the tapes for both the 23rd and the 24th. He ordered the 23rd although by that time he had Nava's statement that Scott was not at home on the 23rd, and Ron Prater on Dec. 28 had told him Scott was already at the warehouse by 8:30 am the morning of the 23rd. When asked by Geragos to explain, Brocchini commented there were TVs everywhere. In the report he filed on Jan 21, Brocchini said Martha baked lemon butter cookies during the 1st segment, but no mention of meringue during any part of the show on the 24th. Brocchini testified that he thought it highly suspicious for Scott to describe Laci as wearing the same clothes she was wearing on the 23rd and that he claimed to be watching Martha Stewart with Laci and they talked about meringue, when meringue was not mentioned at any time in the show. This report was used by Jacobson in his affidavit to obtain a wiretap on Scott's phones.
17 Jan 2003 Brocchini interviewed Michelle Buer, Sweet Serenity Spa
Brocchini did a phone interview with Buer, which he put into a report on Jan. 20. Brocchini wrote in his report that Buer said she was suspicious of Scott the first night and did not want to work on Laci's case because she thought Scott was responsible for Laci's disappearance. Buer testified that she did not tell Brocchini that and that she was not suspicious of Scott the first night. She said her suspicions began on Christmas Day, not the night before. She did help Rene Tomlinson on Christmas Day get more flyers printed at Ditto's. Tomlinson is a very good friend of Buer's, in addition to being one of Laci's best friends.
17 Jan 2003 Grogan interviewed Chris Johnson, Owner Salon Salon
Johnson testified that he told Grogan about the Salon's surveillance and would check the videos to see if he could get hold of them. Johnson subsequently placed 2 videos on his manager's desk, Laurie Wesenberg, and asked her to review them for footage of Laci. She noted nothing relevant to the 23rd and placed the tapes back into the rotation cycle. She said they had already been taped over. Johnson said he first thought of the possibility Laci was captured on Salon's surveillance video when he heard that Copeland checked its video surveillance after someone reported seeing Laci in that store. Johnson also said that MPD inquired about Amy's timecards and her inheritance.
18 Jan 2003 Kristen Smart Case
The Modesto Bee falsely reported that Scott is linked to the disappearance of Kristin Smart in 1996. "Investigators are not looking at Scott Peterson in connection with the disappearance of Kristin Smart," Sheriff Patrick Hedges said in a recorded statement." After consulting with investigators working on the Laci Peterson case, we have determined there is no basis to shift the focus of investigation in the Smart case." On May 3, the Globe reported an interview with Kristen's mother, who is asking for a thorough investigation of Scott's involvement in her daughter's disappearance.
18 Jan 2003 Jacobson suspected Amber
According to the Jun 4 '04 Abrams Report, Investigator Jacobson defended more wiretaps, saying they would show Scott's further involvement and possibly Amber's involvement in Laci's disappearance. In an affidavit used to get wiretaps, Jacobson said Amber referred to Scott as "her rainbow or pot of gold."
18 Jan 2003 Gene Ralston discovers a 65-inch object
Gene Ralston first became involved in the San Francisco Bay searches on January 18, 2003. Ron Cloward assigned Ralston to start from the Berkeley Marina and head towards the west end of Brooks Island where buoy #4 was located. Investigators already theorized that Scott tied the boat to a buoy in order to steady it while he dumped the body overboard. They had found red paint transfer on the boat and hoped to match it to one of the even-numbered buoys in the area, which were painted red. Red paint transfer
Ralston worked the area around buoy number 4 and thought some images were of particular interest: square-shaped objects near an object 65 inches long. He reported this to Cloward, who sent other teams to search the area, but nothing came of the searches. Ralston returned to the Bay on March 12, when he again found the 65-inch object.
19 Jan 2003 Scott in Los Angeles
Scott spent the day at the Volunteer Center at the Doubletree
Hotel in Los Angeles passing out fliers about Laci. He returned
home to Modesto that evening to find his house has been
burglarized. Several items of his clothing and Laci's clothing
have been taken from the house. When neighbors report that Kim
McGregor is the person responsible for the burglary, Detective
Brocchini is put in charge of the investigation. He suggests to
Scott that this is just a harmless incident and that he
shouldn't press charges.
Interview Scott did in LA.
19 Jan 2003 Covena home burglarized
At 1:53 a.m., Amy Krigbaum saw a heavyish woman carrying some stuff out of the Peterson home, and called the police.
In the early morning hours, Kimberly McGregor entered the Peterson home, drank some alcohol and left with items in hand, including Laci's wedding dress. Geragos said she took "all kinds of clothes" and made a couple of trips to carry it all out. Some of the clothes were Scott's. She also took a video camera, and dumped both the camera and some of the clothes. When caught by the police, she lied about when she was there and what she took. LE turned her into an informant against Scott.
The police initially said the burglary was not related to Laci's disappearance, but in mid-July authorities claimed that it could be part of the case being prepared against Scott. Scott reported the burglary upon his return from Los Angeles on the 19th.
19 Jan 2003 Strange visitors to the Covena home
At 3:00 am, Karen Servas saw some people mingling around in the front yard of the Peterson home, talking about I wonder if he's home or will he open the front door. They stayed about 3 minutes. Both Karen and Amy said they did not go into the house or into the backyard.
20 Jan 2003 The Red Paint from Buoy Number 6
Detective Phil Owen met officers Mark Larry and Greg Lattice at the Richmond Harbor Master Pier. Their assignment was to take a paint sample from the Richmond Turning Basin Buoy Number 6 and see if it matched with any paint transfer on Scott's boat. Owens said, "we discussed the possibility of the boat being tied to something in the Bay to steady the boat for the possibility of a body dump. . . . Based on that conversation, we discussed the possibility that there could be some sort of paint transfer on the trim of the boat." After getting the paint sample from the Buoy, Owens examined the boat. He did find some red paint transfer on Scott's boat, but it did not match the paint from Buoy Number 6.
20 Jan 2003 Scott's Private Investigator
The police wiretap intercepted a 10:10 p.m. phone call between Scott and Amber, in which Scott told Amber that the National Enquirer had attempted to hire private investigator Gary L. Ermoian. Ermoian had already been hired by Scott through his attorney Kirk McAllister.
21 Jan 2003 Kim McGregor's polygraph
Kim McGregor called Scott to tell her she had taken the polygraph and that it was easy. She said she was asked if she knew Scott and Laci before Laci's disappearance, and she said No. The denial registered as inconclusive, which surprised Kim, she told Scott, because she didn't really now them before.
21 Jan 2003 Scott suspected Dennis, Ron and Brent of being involved in the January 19 break-in
Scott told Lee in a phone conversation that "they smashed up my French doors pretty good," and that he had to get them repaired. Scott said he thought Dennis Rocha might have done it while on a drunken binge, and speculated that Brent might be involved. Scott told Lee that he'd given the police Dennis' name as the number one suspect. Lee agreed that Ron Grantski could be involved, but Jackie didn't think so because Ron had called Lee that afternoon to say he hoped the two could still go fishing together. Scott replied, "this guy is a snake," and that he didn't have a "good past."
21 Jan 2003 Brocchini's report on Scott's inconsistencies
In his January 21 report, Brocchini included a section called Inconsistencies, which was 3 paragraphs. One of the two inconsistencies he named is Scott's statement that the Martha Stewart show was about baking with meringue on the 24th, but when he viewed the video, he heard no mention of meringue.
21 Jan 2003 Grogan interviewed Rose Rocha for 2nd time
Rose testified that this interview was the first time she told MPD about Scott's statement that he was hoping for infertility when Laci was trying to get pregnant.
22 Jan 2003 Scott again inquired about selling the Covena house
Scott called Brian Argain to inquire about selling the house. Transcript The phone conversation lasted 4 minutes and was captured in one of the wiretaps. Scott asked Brian about getting together with him to discuss the possibilities. He wanted to put it on the market right away, as a furnished home, and wanted it kept secret from the media. Scott said, 'no way is Laci coming back to that place.' Brian said since LE had already searched the house, he didn't know of any reason why Scott couldn't sell it, but he would check for him. They arranged to meet for lunch the next day to continue the conversation.
22 Jan 2003 The call from Lt. Aponte
MPD received a call on the tipline from Lt. Xavier Aponte, CRC
at Norco, about a taped phone conversation between a prisoner,
Tenbrink and his brother, Adam. The tip included the following information: Aponte's telephone number, the fact he is an employed at "CRC Norco," the inmate's name and the name of the inmate's brother.
22 Jan 2003 Grogan's 41 reasons why Laci will be found in the Bay
Late in the evening Detectives Buehler and Grogan have a
brainstorming session. They are certain she will be found in a
body of water
"Because of the cement debris in the warehouse, the circles on the
flatbed trailer in the warehouse, and the boat that he had in the
warehouse that no one seemed to know about, except for the person
that sold it to Mr. Peterson, Bruce Peterson, the defendant, and
possibly Laci Peterson" (Grogan)
They decided that Laci's body will be found in the San
Francisco Bay. All of their reasons are based on Scott and his
fishing trip. 41
23 Jan 2003 Details about the Aponte tip
The following details are noted about Aponte's call. "RECEIVED
INFO FROM SHAWN TENBRINK (INMATE) HE SPOKE TO BROTHER ADAM WHO
SAID STEVE TODD SAID LACI WITNESSED HIM BREAKING IN. COULD NOT
GIVE DATES OR TIME. APONTE HAS FURTHER INFO."
Aponte did not receive a call back from detectives so he called
again the following week. Sometime after that an interview was
an MPD detective with Shawn Tenbrink.
23 Jan 2003 Scott met with Brian, but didn't discuss selling the house
In a wiretapped voicemail to Brian, Scott confirmed that he met with Brian as arranged on the 22nd, but they didn't have an opportunity to discuss selling the house. Transcript Scott spoke with Brian again about selling the house on January 27.
23 Jan 2003 Amber took a polygraph at the MPD
In her book, page 132, Amber says: "Then on January 22 I got a call from Detective Buehler, asking if I'd be good enough to go to the Modesto Police Department for a polygraph. I told him I didn't have a problem with that, and I agreed to drive up the next day." A woman at MPD administered the test which took about 2 hours. After the test, Buehler asked for a few hair samples from Amber. According to the June 4 '04 Abrams Report, the polygraph examiner wrote: 'I asked the subject if she would suspect anyone of causing Laci's disappearance she stated she would suspect Laci's husband Scott Peterson because of the things he told during their relationship about being married.'
23 or 24 Jan 2003 First report of the Longview WA Laci sighting
On either the 23rd or 24th of January, Susan Anderson, a clerk
at Sinnett's Market in Longview, WA reported to the Longview
police that Laci Peterson had been in the store about a month
24 Jan 2003 The Rochas withdrew support from Scott
The Rocha family publicly withdrew support from Scott and said Scott has admitted the affair to them. Brent Rocha said "I trusted him and I stood by him in the initial phases of my sister's disappearance. However, Scott has not been forthcoming with information regarding my sister's disappearance. I'm only left to question what else he may be hiding."
24 Jan 2003 Amber went public
admitted the affair in a news conference, accompanied by Modesto
Police. The police say they brought Frey forward because the
media had tracked her down. They say she is cooperating with
investigators and is not a suspect. She was eliminated as a
suspect, according to News 47, because she took and
passed a lie detector test. This is the text
of Amber's press announcement: "I met Scott
Peterson November 20, 2002. I was introduced to him. I was
told he was unmarried. Scott told me he was not married. We
did have a romantic relationship. When I discovered he was
involved in the Laci Peterson disappearance case, I
immediately contacted the Modesto Police Department."
After Amber spoke, Doug Ridenour made these comments:
"Amber Frey had contacted the MPD on Monday, December 30th,
2002. She met with detectives and gave the information about the
relationship with Scott Peterson."
25 Jan 2003 Amber called Scott
Amber and Scott exchanged 5 phone calls. According to FoxNews, a source close to Amber says Scott sometimes called her five to six times a night after she went public with details of their affair, and that he repeatedly asked to see her, offered her expensive gifts, and sent her expensive jewelry. The method and place of delivery might prove an interesting point in the case, according to the source.
2 of Scott's calls to Amber were admitted into evidence and played to the Jury. In the first, Scott tells Amber how brave she was and she has amazing character. Transcript In the second call, she talks about the media frenzy and he about his plans to do some media interviews. He referred to meeting with a "a bunch of media people" to decide what shows to do. Transcript
25 Jan 2003 Amber reached out to Laci's family & friends
The day after publicly acknowledging her affair with Scott, Amber began reaching out to Laci's family and friends, apparently in an effort to convince them that she did not know Scott was married when she started dating him in November and to share their hopes for Laci's safe return. By March 14, Frey had reached out 53 times to people close to Laci, totaling nearly 6 1/2 hours of telephone time. More than half of these calls were with Lori Ellsworth, one of Laci's closest friends--at least 20 calls totaling nearly 3 1/2 hours of conversation. On January 28, the day Good Morning America aired Scott's public acknowledgement of the affair, Amber was on the phone with Lori for 90 minutes. Phone conversations over the six week period included 9 calls to Brent Rocha, 2 to Amy Rocha (both in February), two calls to the Grantski home phone, and two calls to Sharon Rocha's cell phone.
25 Jan 2003 Appearance on "America's Most Wanted"
Ron Grantski confirmed that the police met with the Rocha family on January 15. He said they showed the family four pictures of Amber and Scott together, and told them Scott had taken out a $250K life insurance policy on Laci.
26-27 Jan 2003 Scott at the Berkeley Marina
Documents entered as evidence in the Pre-Trial hearings said Scott made trips to the Berkeley marina on both the 26th and 27th of January, each time in a different vehicle. On the 26th, he drove the Rover to the Marina, circled around, and then drove south to Sunnyvale. On the 27th, he drove a Dodge pickup along a frontage road just north of the marina at about 3 pm, then circled back before going to San Francisco International Airport about six hours later. Geragos, in his OS, revealed that Grogan called Scott on the 26th to tell him, "She's in the Bay, we're gonna find her." Geragos said that if Scott had not gone to the Bay, Grogan would have said Scott didn't care.
27 Jan 2003 Sharon & her friends remembered incriminating things about Scott
Sandy Rickard, Sharon's best friend, testified that the night before the Diane Sawyer interview, she and some other ladies were gathered with Sharon at Patty Amador's house for the purpose of trying to remember things about Scott. Patty called Grogan to tell him that she heard Laci was afraid of Scott because he was making concrete weights. Sharon made a call to Grogan to report remembering Scott had said Laci was missing when he called her on December 24. Sandy called Grogan to report that she remembered Scott coming up to her on the night of the 24th, with his hands raised, and saying that he wouldn't be surprised if they found blood in his truck.
27 Jan 2003 Scott told Diane Sawyer that he told Laci about Amber
Scott began a series of national media interviews with Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America (aired in two parts on the 28th and the 29th). Scott says he told Laci about the affair in early December. Laci's family and friends reply that they don't believe Laci knew about the affair, or she would have told someone. Scott also said he didn't love Amber and can't explain why he had the affair with her or continued to see her after he told Laci about it. Distaso played a portion of this interview in his Opening Statement on June 1. Scott: 'our relationship, and that is inappropriate, was inappropriate, and I owe a tremendous apology to everyone, including Amber and her family. . . . This should have been brought forth by me.' Diane: 'When did you tell the police?' Scott: 'I told the police immediately.' Diane: 'When?' Scott: 'It was that first night.' Diane: 'you told them about her? . . . your wife found out about it?' Scott: 'I told my wife early in December.' Diane: 'Did it cause a rupture in your marriage?' Scott: 'it was not a positive, obviously inappropriate, but it was not something we weren't dealing with.' Diane: 'Was there a lot of arguing?' Scott: 'no, no I can't say that, that even she was okay with the idea, but it wasn't anything that would break us apart.' Diane: 'There wasn't a lot of anger?' Scott: 'nope.' Diane: 'Do you really expect us to believe that an 8 months pregnant woman finds out her husband is having an affair and is casual about it, is accommodating with it, makes peace with it?' Scott: 'Well, no one knows our relationship but us. At peace with it, not happy about it.' Diane: 'Why did you tell her?' Scott: 'it was the right thing.' Diane: 'And did you see her again after you told her these things?' Scott: 'yes.' Diane: 'You saw her but didn't tell her, didn't tell Amber?' Scott: 'No, no, definitely not.' Video Pt. 1, Video Pt. 2
When Connie Chung asked Sharon Rocha if she believed Scott told Laci about the affair, Sharon said Laci was "a happy, upbeat person. We would have noticed a difference in her attitude, in her behavior. Whether she said anything to anybody or not, there would have been a definite and obvious difference in her attitude. And if she had known about it, I truly feel that she would have told somebody. If not have said something to me, she would have said something to at least one of her friends. And nobody was aware of it."
In his Jan 28 call, Scott told Amber he was coached by "Waltona," who is Waltonia Manion, Janey Peterson's stepmother. The subject came up when he was explaining his "no" to the question did he love Amber. Scott said GMA cut out what he said about caring about Amber.
27 Jan 2003 Experts analyzed Scott's interviews
Several experts who study words and behavior have analyzed Scott in these media interviews. Based on shifting eyes from side to side, changing past tense to present, and crying without losing composure, these experts say the interviews increase suspicion that Scott is guilty.
27 Jan 2003 Scott talked again with Brian Argain about selling the house
In a captured wiretap conversation, Brian agreed to speak with his manager about Scott selling the house. Transcript Scott talked to Brian again on January 29.
28 Jan 2003 CA DOJ examined Scott's Llama hand gun
Ronald Welsh, a criminalist with the California DOJ, testified on the results of his examination of the gun, which was given case number CV-02-10941. This is the gun that was removed from Scott's truck on the night of Dec. 24 by Brocchini. His initial observation of the gun was that the grips were missing and it had a lot of adhering material, like fibers and dust, just seemed like it was dirty. The gun is a Llama and is .22 Long rifle, which designates the cartridge type that is used not only in rifles but many different types of firearms, including small semi-automatic pistols, such as this one. Semi-automatic means that the firearm uses the energy from the cartridge to not only force the bullet out of the barrel, but also to uses some of that energy to cycle the firearm, which means that it extracts a spent cartridge case and eject it from the gun, and then loads a fresh cartridge, all using the power of the cartridge that was fired. The bullet is the actual projectile that comes out of the gun. A cartridge is composed of a cartridge case, gunpowder, primer, and a bullet. A striking mechanism in the firearm hits the primer, ignites the powder, and the expanding gases from the burning gunpowder push the bullet out. The power of the cartridge forces the top of the gun, which is called the slide, backwards. That extracts and ejects the empty cartridge case and also compresses a spring, and that spring returns the slide forward again, and it picks up a fresh cartridge from the magazine in the process. A magazine is a generic term for any mechanism used by a firearm to hold extra cartridges in the firearm. Scott's gun had 8 cartridges in the magazine when Brocchini seized it, the maximum capacity. This is a single action type of firearm, which means that the hammer has to be cocked, and then the hammer is released by a pull of the trigger; as opposed to a double action firearm where, if the hammer is down, you can pull the trigger and it will both cock and release the hammer.
Welsh test fired the gun with similar ammunition from their reference collection and with 5 cartridges in the magazine. It fired all 5 times, with no function problems. He did a similar test with 4 of the cartridges that were in the magazine when it was booked into evidence, and the gun fired without function problems all 4 times. Welsh also said that if the gun misfired, it would leave an impression on the cartridge, and none of the 8 cartridges in the magazine when he received it had any such impression. Scott had told Brocchini that the gun misfired the last time he used it.
On cross examination, Welsh confirmed that the gun had no blood or tissue on it and had not been recently fired. Two rust stains that appeared to be blood was tested using LMG (Leuko Malachite Green) a chemical test for blood. When Welsh tried to remove the debris from inside the barrel, the first attempt took some force, but the second was easier. He said lead deposits would account for that.
According to Welsh's testimony, the chain of custody was:
AB Jan 15, 03 booked as evidence
Jan 22, received by CA DOJ lab and put into evidence vault
Jan 28, examined by Welsh
29 Jan 2003 Scott sold Laci's Land Rover
Scott traded in Laci's Land Rover for a pickup truck.
29 Jan 2003 Scott again talked to Brian Argain about selling the house
In a captured wiretap conversation, Brian told Scott he would probably have to obtain a court order to sell the house since Laci's name is on the Deed. Scott then brought up the possibility of renting it, and Brian said he could have his Property Management group handle it. Brian was not to proceed, however, until he heard back from Scott. Transcript
29 Jan 2003 Grogan told Scott he knew what happened to Laci
In a phone conversation captured by wiretap, Det. Grogan first played the sympathetic cop. Scott confided in Grogan about his frustrations with the media not helping to find his wife. Grogan asked a couple times if he is alright and told him not to do anything to hurt himself. Then:
G: You and I both know what happened to Laci?
S: You know what happened to her?
G: We both do? . . . Let’s be serious with one another.
S: Craig you know what happened to her, you know where she is?
G: We know where we are looking for her, and I think we are going to find her over there in that Bay, just a matter of time.
S: I had nothing to do with Laci’s disappearance
G: Scott what I’m offering you is an opportunity to end this nonsense. I’m going to find her. Why don’t you come back here and tell me what happened.
S: Craig I’m going to find her. . . . I need your help to find her, I need officers out there, and I just hope you are looking.
G: We have looked at everything that has come in, and trying to eliminate all the stuff coming in. . . . if you want to end all of this nonsense, you can call me, we will sit down, I will not treat you badly, we can get Laci back, think about it.
S: I am not involved . . .
29 Jan 2003 More media interviews
Scott did interviews with Jodie Hernandez, NBC11 (Part 1, Part 2); Gloria Gomez, CBS KOVR13 (Video); and Ted Rowlands, KTVU.
30 Jan 2003 Buehler interviewed Laci's friends
Buehler called a couple of Laci's friends together, including Stacey Boyers and Lori Ellsworth, after they learned about Amber to see what they remembered, looking back. One of the subjects of that interview was that Laci asked Scott to do a lot of the chores around the house. Lori thought it was so cool that Scott didn't get upset over that.
30 Jan 2003 Longview WA sighting
The Longview sighting became public. Leslie Snape's story
about the Laci sighting appeared in the Longview Daily News.
• Scott spoke with his attorney, Kirk McAllister at 2:42 p.m.
• Associated Press came out with news about Longview sighting around 3 p.m.
• Scott spoke with Jodi Hernandez (media) at 3:41 p.m.
• Amber called Scott on his cell phone 2 at 3:49 p.m.
• Scott spoke with Kirk McAllister, his attorney, at 4:44 p.m.
• Scott called directory assistance at 4:47 p.m. and got a direct connect to a number (probably Longview PD)
• Rita Cosby called Scott about the Longview WA sighting at 9:09 p.m.
• Scott spoke to Heidi and Aaron Fritz at 9:18 p.m. and said he talked to Longview PD earlier that day.
30 Jan 2003 Rita Cosby called Scott about the Longview WA sighting
At 9:09 p.m., Rita Cosby, Fox News, called Scott to tell him about the Longview WA sighting. Transcript Scott told Cosby he knew about the sighting but didn't have any details. Cosby provided this detailed information to Scott:
31 Jan 2003 Washington police said sighting not Laci
Police in Washington state reviewed surveillance tapes from a grocery store where a clerk said she may have spotted Laci Peterson, but said the tapes revealed nothing of significance.
31 Jan 2003 Scott called Washington about the sighting
Scott's mom left a voice mail for him, asking if he was ready to jump on a plan to Washington to find out about the sighting, which was captured by the wiretap. The transcript for this call indicates Scott laughed, and is one of the editorial comments in the transcripts that Judge Delucchi advised the Jury to disregard and make their own judgment from what they heard on the tape recording.
At 10:11 am that same day, Scott called her back. They talked about the new tip lines as well as the Washington sighting.
31 Jan 2003 Scott consented to polygraph
Detective Jon Buehler instructed Amber to ask Scott to take a polygraph the next time he called her. Scott called Amber at 7:06 p.m. and they talked for 25 minutes. 6 minutes after hanging up, he called again. In this second call, which lasted about 12 minutes, Amber told Scott, "You keep telling me how much you love me and want to be with me. But I have to know that you had nothing to do with Laci's disappearance. Will you take a lie detector test and put my mind to rest once and for all?" Scott did not yet consent. Within seconds, Amber called Buehler and talked to him for 12 minutes. They talked again at 11:40 p.m., followed by an immediate phone call from Amber to Scott to tell him, "If you'll take the polygraph, I'll come with you and take one to prove that I knew nothing about what has happened to Laci." Brocchini testified that "he vaguely recalled officers telling her to pretend she was a suspect in the disappearance so that Peterson would feel sorry for her and take the rap."
In her book, Amber says she asked Scott to take a lie detector test and he "had the gall to tell me he had already taken it, which I knew to be a lie, so I asked him to take another one" (pg. 149).
31 Jan 2003 Brocchini sent letter to Trade Corps attorney
Brocchini was having an on-going discussion with Ross Lee, attorney for Trade Corps. On Jan 31, he sent Ross a letter and included the Jan 16/17 ModBee article about Scott taking out life insurance on Laci. It was a 2-page letter.
1 Feb 2003 Scott's polygraph arranged by Amber
At 12:06 a.m., Amber called Buehler again, and they agreed to pursue the polygraph for Scott. Calls between Amber and Buehler resumed at 9:01 a.m. At 9:19 a.m., Amber called Melvin King, the same polygrapher who tested Cory Carroll, and then called Buehler again. At 9:36 a.m., she called Scott, and they talked for 13 minutes. Another report back to Buehler, and another call before 10 a.m. to King to setup the appointment. 2 undercover cops in Fresno would be on hand to arrest Scott if he said something incriminating. Later, Amber called Scott to tell him she was on her way to King's, and was he coming? He replied, "I would do it but my lawyers say I can't. The police are trying to frame me." Amber called Scott a total of 9 times, for a total talk time of almost 90 minutes. She called Buehler 19 times the same day, with the calls lasting a total of 61 minutes. Scott and Amber exchanged a total of 12 calls, with 4 from Scott to Amber. (The total number of calls from the two sources don't add up.)
However, Amber tells a different story in her book, "Witness." She says Buehler never consented to have her participate in the polygraph with Scott and that she never intended to meet Scott at King's. She said Scott had arrived at King's to take the polygraph, but then spotted Detective Brocchini's car. She said Scott "went up to his car, angry, and demanded to know whether I'd tipped him off. Brocchini said nothing, and Scott stormed away" (p. 150-51). Scott then called her and accused her, "You set me up!" She denied having anything to do with it. She said Scott was sobbing (p. 151).
Detective Brocchini tells a different story. He testified that Scott did go to Fresno. Brocchini said the police learned through a wiretap that Scott was going to be at a location in Fresno, but did not specify the location, except to say it was near where Amber lived. Brocchini went to Fresno to try to locate Scott. Scott was parked, and Brocchini drove by him for a few blocks and parked in a school parking lot. Scott approached Brocchini's car, so Brocchini got out.
Scott: Thank you for going on 'America's Most Wanted', and answering the phones.
Brocchini: You got some explaining to do.
Scott: You don't know. I just stop on the side of the road and break down for no apparent reason.
Brocchini told Scott he wasn't acting like somebody that missed is his pregnant wife, and Scott had to explain the other girlfriends that he had identified. Scott said, "Right, other girlfriends." Brocchini replied, "Well, I got pictures." Brocchini described Scott's demeanor as "Emotionless, matter of fact. Just calm." and that Scott just walked away.
3 Feb 2003 Scott talks to Det. Jacobs, Longview PD
Scott finally reached Detective Jacobs at the Longview PD. Jacobs tells him that a copy of the tapes has been given to MPD. Jacobs said there is a pregnant woman in the tapes, but it isn't Laci. Scott called MPD and asks to speak to Lt. Aja immediately after talking to Longview PD.
3 Feb 2003 Grogan's report outlined theory
Detective Grogan filed a police report on February 3, 2003, which outlined the current theory on how Scott disposed of Laci. Grogan and Detective Phil Owens, also a member of the core detective group working this case, thought Scott's boat would have to be tied to something to get the necessary stability in order to dump Laci's body without capsizing. They suggested areas by buoys be searched as that would provide an area for both cover and to tie off the boat. Owens was tasked with examining the boat for any signs of red paint transfer. He found some red paint on the side of the boat and in some of the threads of the screws on one side where the fishing pole holder was located. Samples of the paint transfer from the boat and red chips taken from Buoy 6 were sent to the DOJ for testing, but they were not similar. In fact, the paint transfer likely came from a red dolly that was by the side of the boat in the MPD's storage unit.
4 Feb 2003 Wire-tap ended
Investigators ended the wire-tap on Scott's phones, saying "further progress in the investigation would not be gained through additional interception." Amber called Scott at 9:20 p.m., 10:02 p.m., and 11:19 p.m. Amber continued to call Scott until February 19. Amber also spoke on the phone for 22 minutes with Sharon Rocha. Amber and Scott exchanged 5 calls.
5 Feb 2003 Scott in Mexico
Scott checked out of a hotel in Guadalajara, Mexico, where he had been attending a trade show. Geragos said in his OS that LE tried to get Trade Corps to not let him go to Mexico.
Word leaked out that he sold Laci's Land Rover and inquired into selling the house. Ron Grantski held a news conference to issue a family statement, which included their comments on his selling the Rover and his attempts to sell the house. Ron said they found out about the Rover when they saw the new truck in the driveway. Later, Scott called Ted Rowlands, KTVU, from Mexico to answer the Rocha family criticisms. Talking from an undisclosed location, he 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 he had used for his fertilizer business was taken into custody by the Modesto Police early in the investigation. On the house, he 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?"
5 Feb 2003 LE subpoenaed credit card information
Detective Brocchini gave FBI agent Terry Scott a list of Visa purchases made by Scott from Home Depot, Orchard Supply, other hardware stores, and Lowes. Agent Scott obtained these records through a Federal Grand Jury subpoena. In the preliminary hearing, McAllister suggested the purpose was to get Scott fired from Trade Corp, and this information was turned over to Trade Corp and that Brocchini had conversations about it with Trade Corp's corporate attorney, Ross Lee. Brocchini denied the investigation into these Visa charges had anything to do with Trade Corp, but did admit he had communications with Trade Corp on some Trade Corp expenditures Scott made, to see if they were legitimate. He said he received records from Trade Corp on consent from Trade Corp. McAllister asked Brocchini if he received an email from Lee on March 19 confirming an internal audit that concluded nothing inappropriate about the purchases. The question was overruled.
7 Feb 2003 Scott asked Amber to meet him
In a 10:43 pm call transcript Scott asked Amber to meet him somewhere. He wanted to come to Fresno, but she said no, that there was too much risk from the media. He suggested Lake Arrowhead, near LA. He said he wanted to see her in person because there were things he wanted to tell her and he wanted to look into her eyes.
8 Feb 2003 Scott asked again to see Amber
Scott expressed a continued desire to be with Amber:
Yeah, you know. And that I just need to tell you how much I care about you. And I desire so much to be, you know, for the rest of our lives, your best friend, your biggest comfort and the second most joy in your life. I wanna be those things so bad for you. Are you there?
He also offered helped to help her financially and send her on a trip so she could get away for a few days. She declined his offers. Transcript
In a second phone call that same day, they discussed the nude photos of Amber in the media, and the conversation suggests another set of nude photos exists, which Scott personally saw. He also asked her the significant of March 28, 2003 to her, but she didn't recall having told her it was significant. Transcript
8 Feb 2003 Sharon begged Scott to bring Laci home
Transcript of phone message to Scott Peterson from Sharon Rocha — Feb. 8, 2003
(SCOTT, Recorded Message): Hi. I'm sorry I missed your call. If it's media, please call 866-Laci-Info, that's 866-L-A-C-I-I-N-F-O and leave your request. All others please leave a message after the tone. I'll return your call immediately. Thank you very much. (Beep)
SHARON ROCHA: Scott, this is Sharon. I'm calling to ask a — to ask you to please either call Ron and I or call Brent or call the police department anonymously, disguise your voice, whatever you have to do, but please call and let us know where Laci is. We need to have her home — immediately Scott — please, I know you loved her once, please don't leave her out there. Please call us. Please call the police department anonymously or call us — tell us where she is. We need to bring her home. She needs to be home. The baby's due date is Monday, we want to have her home, Scott. You loved her once. I think you still do. So please don't leave her out there all alone. Call us and let us know where she is, please.
8 Feb 2003 Family Search - Delta-Mendota Canal
For the first time in weeks, a large scale volunteer search is staged for Laci. This first of three planned by the Rocha family for consecutive weekends in February. The 500 searchers, some with dogs, others on horseback, combed the Delta- Mendota Canal area near Vernalis, Calif. The search turned up nothing new.
10 Feb 2003 Laci's due date & Amber's Birthday
The first of two due dates for Laci (the other being 16 Feb), Amber Frey's birthday, nude photos of Frey taken four years earlier first hit some National Enquirer newsstands. Amber called Scott 4 times, and they exchanged 5 phone calls. The previous night, Amber and Scott spoke for 34 minutes.
Scott called Amber at 8:55 a.m. to wish her a Happy Birthday and to tell her he wanted her to make a stop at a certain place on her way to work. Transcript Also entered into evidence were transcripts of 3 more calls that day. In the calls, he tells her he wants her to stop by the Children's Hospital, but does not tell her why. Amber testified that Scott left her birthday present there. Transcripts for the 9:30 am, 9:31 am, and 12:01 pm calls.
11 Feb 2003 Detectives become aware of the pliers
Detectives Brocchini and Grogan were examining all of the pictures taken in the various searches and noticed the picture of a pair of pliers with a big long hair sticking out of it. Brocchini then reviewed the pictures he had taken of the boat on the night of the 24th, and discovered that the pliers did show in one of the pictures.
11 Feb 2003 Request for another Search Warrant outlined Grogan's theory
Seeking another search warrant for the Covena home and storage shed, Lead Detective Grogan outlined his theory.
Evidence at the scene suggested that Laci Peterson was the victim of 'soft kill' where there would be limited blood evidence at the scene. The small amount of blood recovered in their bed could indicate a location where Laci Peterson had been assaulted.
The fact that Scott Peterson had no significant injuries aside from a scuffed knuckle indicates the victim did not likely have the ability to take defensive action. Laci may have been drugged prior to suffocation or poisoning or otherwise incapacitated without a struggle. The cleanup by mopping the floor and vacuuming may be a result of wrapping Laci in a tarp inside the home and pulling her out the door causing the throw rug to be wadded beneath the doorway. Scott could have carried Laci Peterson's body wrapped in a tarp to his vehicle and then transported her to his shop after releasing their dog with the leash attached.
The motive of that crime could be linked to Scott's failing business in addition to pressures of becoming a parent when having no desire to have a child and the expensive desires of his wife Laci Peterson including Laci's want of a new vehicle and home. Scott's continued desire to have a relationship with Amber Frey may add to the motive.
Grogan listed 24 items he was looking for, including any poisons or injectable drugs or fluids that could cause death and any syringes or items used for injection of drugs. He also wanted to take a sample of McKenzie's hair so it could be compared to dog hairs found on a blue tarp recovered in the Bay. When Grogan asked Scott where McKenzie was, he asked if they were going to impound his dog, too.
11 Feb 2003 Suspicious Man on raft south of Bay Bridge
A predawn sighting of a man in a wetsuit steering a motorized raft toward the Bay Bridge on Tuesday sparked a massive multi-agency effort to explain a report that raised grave homeland-security concerns. The search began soon after 3 a.m., when the captain of the Alameda-based tugboat Polaris telephoned the U.S. Coast Guard to say his boat had nearly collided with a 10-foot Zodiac-style raft about a mile south of the Bay Bridge." This raft had no lights, which looked fairly suspicious," said Dale Kline, Seaway's general manager." The guy (on the raft) is either incredibly stupid or he was trying to hide something."
12 Feb 2003 The hair in the pliers
Detectives Al Brocchini and Dodge Hendee examined the hair found in the pliers in Scott's boat on December 27 before sending it to the lab to be tested. Their intent was to determine if the single strand of hair about 5-6 inches in length had a root. If it did, nuclear DNA testing (can indicate probabilities of 1 in 1.2 billion) could be done; if not, mitochondrial DNA testing (probabilities of 1 in 250,000) would be performed. The hair did not have a root. However, the detectives say they found two strands of hair on the 12th. Hendee wrote in his report: "When Detective Brocchini and I opened and emptied the envelope, we both observed what I had originally thought was a single hair, was actually two hairs." The two hairs were submitted to a state Department of Justice crime lab the next day along with two of Laci's brushes. Citing a "complete break in the chain of custody" and the relatively new and unreliable mitochondrial DNA testing used to positively identify the hair as Laci's, Scott's defense sought to have the hair excluded as evidence. Several experts have voiced opinions on how the single hair could become two hairs without involving a break in the chain of custody, and prosecutors contend the single hair found broke in an evidence package and was not mishandled by investigators. When a criminalist at the state Department of Justice lab examined the two hairs, he found one measured 4› inches and the other 1« inches. He had this exchange with the Judge:
JUDGE: Okay. Can I ask the witness a question? Mr. Oswalt, based on your examination did you form an opinion as to whether or not this was originally one hair or was it your opinion that it was originally two hairs?
OSWALT: My opinion is that they came from two hairs.
JUDGE: There were two separate hairs?
OSWALT: That is my opinion.
JUDGE: Not one hair that fell apart?
OSWALT: It's possible, but not probable.
12 Feb 2003 Connie Chung Interview
KTVU's Ted Rowlands asked Scott if he was concerned about a leak from a reliable source that claimed he was the focus of the police investigation and that an arrest may come in "weeks, not months." "Not all," he said. "They have to have something to arrest me on. I'm not worried." In an interview, Connie Chung asked Sharon, "Do you believe that Scott Peterson is capable of doing something terrible to your daughter?" Sharon replied: "The way they were as a couple, we would never be able to believe that. They were just so loving to each other. They were always happy together. And there was no indication that there was ever any kind of a problem between the two of them." Laci's family now described Scott's behavior as "weird" and said they are troubled about what they call his lack of emotion and grief since Laci disappeared. "When my sister's car needed to be repaired from the police work that was done to her car, he asked that one of us take it there, so he didn't have to go there and be questioned by police," said Brent Rocha. "It's just little actions like that where he's trying to avoid them that make you wonder."
13 Feb 2003 Sharon called Scott
About 10 a.m., while Sharon was talking to Gwen Kemple, a call came from Scott on call waiting. This was a brief conversation in which Scott told Sharon about the press conference that was to be held in San Diego that day.
After the press conference, Sharon called Scott back with specific questions. She used a recording device provided by LE to record the conversation. Click here for the complete transcript. Sharon told Scott she just wanted to know everything that happened from the time Laci called her at 8:30 on the 23rd till Scott said goodbye to her on the 24th. She asked what they did the night of the 23rd, if Laci was sick or tired, what time they went to bed on the 23rd, what she wore to bed, what time she got up on the 24th, what she was wearing on the 24th, what plans they had for the 24th. She also asked if they had previously had plans to do something else besides go to Sharon's, since Sharon had to ask Laci a couple of times before Laci said yes.
Sharon testified at the trial that she had attempted to have this conversation several times before with Scott, notably on December 28 and January 1, but he always had something else he had to do.
About 4 p.m., Sharon called Scott a second time, with more questions, and again recorded the conversation. In her book, For Laci, Sharon provides a transcript of this call. In addition to asking some of the same questions about what Laci was doing on the morning of the 23rd, she specifically asked him if he told Laci about the affair and when. Scott said early December, but he would figure out the exact date if she wanted. He admitted to seeing Amber once again after telling Laci about the affair.
13 Feb 2003 Scott offered to pay Amber's Phone bill
In one of the phone conversations Amber taped, she told Scott her cell phone was disconnected fro service because her bill had reached over $800. When she called for an explanation, she was told she had gone 2000 minutes over her plan. Scott offered to pay for the phone bill, but she declined. She also asked for the PO box address so she could send him a book. And, interestingly, she notes an apparent breach in her relationship with Shawn Sibley. Shawn did not attend Amber's birthday party and did not otherwise send birthday greetings, and Amber didn't receive an invitation to Shawn's wedding. Click here for the transcript and audio of this phone call.
14 Feb 2003 Scott called Amber 7 times
Amber reported that Scott called her 7 times on Valentine's Day. Phone records show that she also called Scott. However, Investigator Steven Jacobson testified at the preliminary that Amber and Scott did not exchange any phone calls on the 14th.
15 Feb 2003 Family Search - Lake Don Pedro
Second of three Rocha family searches, focusing on Lake Don Pedro. 25-30 private boats were employed in the search.
15 Feb 2003 Scott's note to Amber
During a conversation in the wee hours of the morning, Scott asked Amber to read a note he had sent her:
All right. Okay. Um...okay, I guess I'll begin, it says, "Seeds into your life are soon to bloom...first joy will be...I said you deserve wondrous ecstasies in all aspects of your life. All these things will be yours soon."
Amber is calling Scott at 2:42 am because she promised Scott she would call when she got home from a party she attended. Transcript
18 Feb 2003 Scott criticized Grogan and MPD investigation
On February 18, 2003, Scott voiced concerns that he was not permitted to view the surveillance tape from Longview WA after the clerk said she thought Laci might have been in the store. He told Grogan that being a family member, he would be better able to identify her than strangers. He also criticized the police for releasing photos of his truck and boat under pretense of wanting to verify his alibi on the 24th when they already had witnesses to verify it. Finally, he chastised Grogan for spending so much time investigating him instead of following up on other leads.
18-19 Feb 2003 2-day Search of the Covena home
Police conducted a 2-day search of the Covena home. According to the Globe, this search was prompted by the results of the forensic tests on the kitchen mop removed during the December 26-27 search--tests which detected traces of Laci's blood and vomit. Detective teams wearing rubber gloves measured the home's driveway, yard and front side, while others gathered more evidence inside. After driving away with more than 90 items, Modesto police spokesman Doug Ridenour repeated that the husband is neither a suspect, nor has he been ruled out as one. "We have not been able to eliminate Scott from the investigation," Ridenour said. "We'd like to and are hoping we are going to be able to do that at some point." Sources later admitted no traces of blood were found in either this 2-day search or the December 26-27 search. However, information from a GPS tracking device put into Scott's new Dodge Dakota pickup will likely be introduced into evidence by the prosecution. The police seized the pickup during this search, but returned it after a few hours. The police obtained search warrants for 3 other vehicles used by Scott, but media reports do not specify the vehicles or the dates of the warrants.
Scott's storage unit was also searched. A trash can contained a small album of Scott and Laci's wedding pictures. The nursery at the Covena home was beginning to look like a storage room, with several rocking chairs and other items in it.
18 Feb 2003 Envelope addressed to Kirk McAllister
During the execution of the search warrant on the Covena home, officers found an envelope addressed to Modesto Attorney Kirk McAllister, who was hired by Scott in the early days after Laci's disappearance, and asked the Court to appoint a special master to examine its contents. State law requires a special master when the gathering of evidence might violate four legally protected relationships: between an individual and his or her (1) lawyer, (2) psychologist or psychiatrist, (3) priest or (4) doctor. During a February 26 hearing, Judge Wray Ladine ruled that the envelope contained confidential information between client and attorney. According to court records, at least 3 items were in the envelope.
18 Feb 2003 Amy identified Laci's clothes
Amy Rocha was asked to facilitate the search of the Covena home by identifying the clothes Laci was wearing at the Salon Salon on Dec. 23.
19 Feb 2003 Amber's last call to Scott
Investigator Steve Jacobson testified at the preliminary hearing that this was last documented phone call between Scott and Amber. During the 93 day period from November 19, 2002 through February 19, 2003, Scott and Amber exchanged a total of 241 calls. According to Detective Jon Buehler, Amber told Scott to stop calling her. However, the Enquirer claims "their frequent conversations continued almost until April 18, when Scott was arrested."
In the call that started at Amber's initiative at 7:36 a.m. Amber told Scott she didn't think they should talk anymore until there was a resolution. Scott agreed. The call lasted only 2 minutes 52 seconds. Transcript
19 Feb 2003 Jackie Peterson interviewed by Greta Van Susteren
In the interview, Jackie confirmed her confidence that Scott had nothing to do with Laci's disappearance and her concern that everyone had stopped looking for her. She also said: "in the beginning, there was the dog found with his leash and their hound dogs found that she had gotten into a car in the middle of the street, and they followed the scent out to a rural area, out of town, and people have lost sight of that total picture." Jackie described Laci as: "She's wonderful. She's like the sparkle in the family. We all just couldn't wait for her to come and be around us, and we visited her as often as we could. She's just delight, and everybody loved her. The grandkids are nuts about her. The siblings adore her. She just makes everything wonderful for people. She's just the nicest person you'd ever want to meet."
20 Feb 2003 Det. Buehler called a tip in to the Peterson hot line
Scott and his mother Jackie had set up a tip line separate from the LE. Detective Buehler suspected that the Petersons might not be reporting all the tips to the LE, so he called in a tip that the LE had received, exactly as the LE received it. The tip was the Marietta Wallace tip called in on January 9, which implicated Scott. Buehler testified in the Preliminary Hearing that the Petersons never referred this tip to the LE. McAllister's cross examination suggested the Petersons had someone other than the LE following up on the tips they were getting. Buehler said in his testimony that a female FBI agent also called tips in to the Peterson tip line to see if they would then report them to the LE. Buehler had the FBI subpoena the tip line records.
21 Feb 2003 Hair fragments & Pliers examined by Federal Crime Lab
The hair fragments reportedly found in the pliers taken from Scott's boat were examined by criminalist Rodney Oswalt at the Federal Crime Lab in Ripon CA. Oswalt's comparison tests determined that the two fragments were in a range of variation for sample hairs taken from a hairbrush that belonged to Laci, and thus could have been Laci's hair. The hair color varied between the two fragments. Fragment 1, which would have been closest to the root, the hair got lighter, from darker to lighter moving away from the root. Fragment 2, which would have been furthest from the root, was brown all the way through. Also, fragment 2 was darker brown than fragment 1. The hair fragments were not sent for mtDNA testing until June.
Oswalt also examined some hairs that were collected from a red rope and a black and orange nylon rope. These hairs were nonhuman, some of which were dog hairs and some of which could have been cat hairs or dog hairs. Oswalt was asked to compare the nonhuman hairs to a sample from McKenzie, but not to a sample from Twist, a cadaver dog who was taken through the Covena house on December 27th to sniff out cadaver scents and then taken to the boat to do the same.
About the same time, the pliers and a pair of wire cutters were examined at the Federal Crime Lab by criminalist Sarah Yoshida. Yoshida reported rust on the cutting edges of both tools, and they had not been used recently because the cutting edges did not show a clearing or destruction in the rust.
22 Feb 2003 Family Search - New Melones Reservoir
Volunteers searched the waterways and wilderness areas of the New Melones Reservoir over the weekend, but came up empty in their attempt to find any trace of Laci. More than 100 volunteers came out under clear skies Saturday to mount the search. Scott did not take part. "We had about 100 people (on foot), six teams of horses and 10 boats searching the reservoir today, but we didn't find anything," Ron Grantski said. It was the last of three searches organized in February by Laci's family.
24 Feb 2003 Scott suspected an Asian Crime Gang
"Scott told me he felt the checks may be linked to his wife Laci's disappearance and the suspects that took the checks may also be responsible for abducting his wife," Det. Grogan wrote in a Feb. 24, 2003 report. The checks referred to were sent by Scott's credit card company as part of his Jan 22 billing statement to the Trade Corps mailbox, which is part of the cluster-type mailboxes used by so many industrial complexes. Sarah Taberna, the woman arrested for having the checks in her possession, along with keys to a stolen car and a Laci Peterson missing persons flyer, said she often used a crowbar to break into cluster-type mailboxes and removed mail from credit card companies and banks. Taberna told MPD that she was high on meth on Christmas Eve, 2002, and partied with her friends much of that night. She said she was also high on meth the day she took the checks, and didn't actually remember taking them.
Det. Mike Hermosa, the arresting officer, testified on July 21, and on cross Geragos asked about the thefts at the cluster mailboxes previous to Laci's disappearance. Hermosa said MPD focus was on Taberna and her alibi for the 24th, not the previous thefts at the cluster mailboxes. Other information came out about Taberna during the cross examination: she had a miscarriage in July 02, she was afraid to steal from the house so she stole from the cluster mailboxes at the warehouse, and she learned how to do the break-ins from the Asian gang.
26 Feb 2003 Cement residue in the boat
Police asked Bruce Peterson to examine the boat he sold to Scott. Bruce told police one life preserver was missing, as well as the boat's auxiliary wheels. He also noticed something else: "It looked like cement residue. Like the powdery stuff that comes out of the bag."
27 Feb 2003 Vacant house at 344 Covena re-investigated
On December 27, 2002, Officer Corder was dispatched to 344 Covena, which is one block down from Encina. A person passing out fliers walked up to the house and thought they saw someone run to the back of the house. It was a vacant house under renovation. Corder peered through the windows on all sides. A van was parked outside that looked like it hadn’t been driven for some time. Buehler asked about it, and so Corder went back to the house on February 27, 2003, and the house was in the same condition.
Feb 2003 Dr. Cheng consulted on search for Laci
Sometime in February, the MPD consulted with Dr. Ralph Cheng, USGS in their search for Laci in the Bay. Cheng used a computerized program to determine where Laci's body might end up if it were placed near the Richmond Turning Basin. Cheng was told to assume that Laci weighed 153 lbs, and either 4 8-lb anchors were used to weigh her down OR she would be wrapped in chicken wire or plastic. At least some of the Bay searches were based on Cheng's computer simulations. Cheng opined that Laci would likely wash out to the ocean or bank on Angel Island. On April 2, Grogan interviewed Dr. Boyd Stevens, giving him basically the same information.
The first map shows the general location of the Richmond Turning Basin, with the inset identifying the location where Ralston believed he found Laci's body in mid-March. The second map shows the searches in the Bay before the bodies were found. Click to enlarge.
3 Mar 2003 Arrest is imminent
Sources say the Modesto police were 'right on track' for an arrest in the Peterson case, adding that authorities have discounted alleged sightings of Laci on the day she disappeared. KTVU's Ted Rowlands reported that sources close to the case have told him that 'it's not a matter of if, but when' an arrest will come in the more than two-month-long investigation. Scott, meanwhile, remained a suspect.
4 Mar 2003 Spilled concrete
Private Investigator Bill Garcia found some spilled concrete mix on a path along the Delta-Mendota Canal, a waterway near Modesto. Garcia said the mix appeared to be marked with the track of a trailer tire. The Delta-Mendota Canal is twenty feet deep, 116 miles long and stretches all the way from Mendota to Tracy.
5 Mar 2003 Case classified a homicide / Reward Offered
Police classify the Laci Peterson case a homicide. "As the investigation has progressed, we have increasingly come to believe that Laci Peterson is the victim of a violent crime" says the lead investigator, Detective Craig Grogan. A reward of $50,000 is announced by the Carole Sund Carrington Memorial Reward Foundation for information directly leading to the location and recovery of Laci.
10 Mar 2003 Case file to DA
The police file on the case was submitted to the District Attorney's office in Modesto.
12 Mar 2003 Laci's body discovered
Gene Ralston returned to the Bay searches on March 12. Using GPS coordinates provided by the MPD for water dog alerts, he searched the area marked with the red X in the map below and located an oblong object he designated "Target 2." The object was the shape and size they expected Laci to be, wrapped in plastic or a tarp, with weights attached, and appears to be the same object Ralston found on January 18. The next day they scanned the same area and saw an object that looked more like a body than Target 2 -- and it was dubbed "Target 1." Ralston says that the image he saw on the screen was that of the "head, neck, shoulders and most of the back of a prone person." He also says that the body was covered with crabs, the torso had no clothing, but streams of light-colored fabric floated above the lower portion. Ralston believes that what he saw March 13 was Laci's body, based on where she was found. "Piecing all the information we have now, I believe it probably was Laci Peterson," Ralston said. But, he admitted, at the time, there was doubt. At the time, the police kept this find by Ralston a secret, fearing Scott would flee. This map shows the location where the body was found, and its relationship to Brooks Island, the Richmond Marina, where Conner's body was found, where Laci's body was found, and the Berkeley Marina. Click to enlarge.
Ralston said he was unable to retrieve the objects on the 13th because of the choppy waves and murky waters caused by high winds. On the 14th, when Ralston, Cloward and others returned, the ROV could not locate either Target 1 or Target 2. However, Ralston claims that on the 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th both targets were still in place. A team of commercial divers from Tracy didn't arrive until March 25, but by then both targets were gone.
Ralston also claims to have recorded images of a drag line, allegedly the body being moved by the tides, dragging the anchors. The drag line follows the trajectory for Laci's body on the map above.
On May 2, after the bodies were found, Det. Dodge Hendee contacted Marine Technologies for a second opinion on Ralston's images. They did not agree that it was a body, and Ralston was not asked to testify at the trial, nor was his theory presented as evidence that Laci was in the Bay. Instead, the State went with Dr. Cheng's theory that traced Conner back to Scott's fishing route.
14 Mar 2003 Calls from Amber to Buehler
Phone logs obtained by the ModBee show that Amber called Detective Jon Buehler's office phone, cell phone and home phone 191 times in the 75 days from December 30 through March 14, totaling more than 19 hours of conversation. Many of the calls came immediately after her conversations with Scott.
Sometime in Mar 2003 Amber Frey's vacation
Amber Frey, stressed out from her involvement with the investigation of Scott, left Fresno with her daughter for a brief vacation in Vero Beach, Florida. Det. Jon Buehler actually drove them to the airport in San Jose himself and watched as they boarded the plane to make sure Scott didn't make an unexpected appearance.
18 Mar 2003 Brocchini interviewed Brian Argain again
Argain told Brocchini that "he had rejected
invitations to go golfing with him at the country club because 'he
did not feel comfortable golfing with Peterson any more'"; "several
members of the exclusive club had expressed displeasure at
Peterson's use of the facilities and said the country club board was
going to buy back Peterson's membership from him"; Scott "had asked
him to talk to the press about what a good guy he was, but that he
had refused after Peterson seemed to 'beat around the bush' when
asked about circumstances of Laci's disappearance."
19 Mar 2003 Grogan interviewed Michelle Buer, Sweet Serenity
Grogan asked Michelle Buer to identify the clothes she thought Laci wore to the Sweet Serenity Day Spa on December 23rd. Buer testified that she was shown photographs of clothing and she identified the Mary Jane shoes Laci wore that day. In his cross examination of Buer, Pat Harris noted several incorrect statements in Grogan's report, which said Buer had worked at the volunteer center at the beginning of the search but stopped doing so because Scott's behavior was unusual and she was uncomfortable because Laci's friends were defending Scott. Grogan also reported that Buer said she suspected Scott on the night of December 24. Buer said those statements were incorrect and/or misinterpretations. Buer had told Brocchini in her Jan 17 phone interview with him that she did not become suspicious of Scott until Christmas Day. Buer also told Grogan that Laci never griped about Scott, or ever said anything negative about him.
29 Mar 2003 Last search at the Bay
This was the last search at the Bay before Conner's and Laci's bodies were found on April 13 and 14, respectively.