Skip to comments.Husband (Scott Peterson) Arrested in Calif. Woman's Death
Posted on 04/19/2003 6:06:03 AM PDT by TaRaRaBoomDeAyGoreLostToday!
MODESTO, Calif. - Authorities said genetic odds "in the billions" proved that two bodies that recently washed ashore were those of Laci Peterson and her baby, in an announcement that came hours after the missing woman's husband was arrested in their deaths.
Scott Peterson, 30, arrived at the Stanislaus County jail just before midnight after being driven there from San Diego, where he was arrested 12 hours earlier. Prosecutors said they planned on charging him with double murder, which would make him eligible for the death penalty.
The body of Laci Peterson, who was eight months pregnant, and her unborn child were found this week about three miles from where Scott Peterson said he was fishing when his wife disappeared Christmas Eve.
Plainclothes agents who had been tracking Scott Peterson's movements with phone taps and vehicle sensors made the arrest before the DNA test results on the bodies were known because Peterson was considered a flight risk, and because he had indicated he knew he was under surveillance, California Attorney General Bill Lockyer said.
Apart from the two badly decomposed bodies, Modesto Police Chief Roy Wasden declined to describe the state's evidence. But he said it suggested that Laci Peterson may have been killed on Dec. 23 because no "credible witness" saw or heard from her after that.
Officials wouldn't discuss Scott Peterson's possible motives.
Wasden said there were no other suspects in the case. The fact that a $50,000 reward for information leading to her body went unclaimed, he said, "continued to reinforce that one person knew what happened to Laci and where Laci was."
Scott Peterson's first court appearance will come on Monday or Tuesday. His attorney, Kirk McAllister, did not immediately return telephone messages Friday from The Associated Press.
The dramatic turn in the case came nearly a week after pedestrians found the bodies of Laci Peterson and the son she had already named Conner washed up about a mile apart on the shoreline.
The bodies were identified Friday evening through a comparison with DNA samples from Scott Peterson and Laci Peterson's parents.
"There is no question in our minds that the unidentified female is Laci Peterson. The unidentified fetus is the biological child of Laci and Scott Peterson," Lockyer said. "We're scientifically convinced the match is one in billions."
A spokeswoman for Laci Peterson's family said relatives were devastated by the confirmation of the deaths, but grateful they finally had an answer after months of uncertainty.
"Families in their circumstances will always tell you the worst thing is not knowing," said spokeswoman Kim Petersen, executive director of the Carole Sund-Carrington Memorial Reward Foundation. "I don't know if relief is the right word. ... The waiting this week has been horrific for them."
Virtually from the moment his wife was reported missing, Scott Peterson's moves and statements have been scrutinized by authorities.
Modesto police seized his boat, pickup truck and nearly 100 items from the couple's house but had not formally named him as a suspect in his wife's disappearance.
Peterson traded in his wife's Land Rover for a new pickup truck, considered selling their home and eventually admitted he'd had an extramarital affair with a massage therapist while his wife was pregnant with the couple's baby.
Peterson said he'd told his wife about the affair in the days before she vanished.
"It was not a positive, obviously ... but it was not something that we weren't dealing with," he told ABC's "Good Morning America." "It wasn't anything that would break us apart."
The affair turned Laci Peterson's family against the son-in-law they had earlier supported. They begged him to cooperate with Modesto police, who had labeled him "uncooperative."
Scott Peterson launched his own search effort, separate from the one organized by his wife's family and sanctioned by police. At one point, as searchers looked in the San Francisco Bay and around Modesto, Scott Peterson showed up in Los Angeles to distribute fliers to volunteers at a local hotel.
"We simply have to expand the geographical area," he said at the time.
In February, Scott Peterson told MSNBC he missed his wife and the child she was to bear.
"I can't drive. I can't sleep," he said then. "Sometimes I feel I just can't do it. I feel like I'm in a dark corner and I just can't function."
Stanislaus County, California, Sheriff's Department released this booking photo of Scott Lee Peterson on April 19, 2003. Peterson was charged for two counts of murder at the time of booking. The arrest of Peterson came as authorities confirmed that two bodies that washed ashore this week were those of Laci Peterson and her baby. Laci Peterson was more than eight months pregnant when she vanished from her home in Modesto, California on Christmas Eve, 2002. REUTERS/Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department/Handout
Interesting that Scott Peterson was arrested BEFORE the DNA test results. Did they gag this in the media... I wonder, atleast until the DNA tests came back? I wonder if Laci's family were notified about Scott's arrest before he was arrested???
PREVIOUSLY (two months ago)
I triple guarantee you I an not a flight risk. Pay no attention to the dyed hair and beard. Do not believe your eyes! Believe me!... *handcuffs click*
They were tailing Scott, and realized his change of appearance might mean he would flee the country. (Could have been because he wanted to go public in-cognito, who knows for sure).
Since Scott has been unwilling to speak with Laci's family for months, I think NOW, the Rocha's are going to sit across that cold table from him, look him in the eye and say "WHY, Scott, WHY?". They can't wait.
They said they had seen Scott in the past 2 weeks & saw his bleached hair. Scott told them he had been swimming in a friend's pool and water bleached his hair.
Also said Scott called them after he was arrested, however, they did not say what was discussed.
Yeah Scummy Scott and I got a bridge in Brooklyn for sale.
Scott Peterson tells police in Modesto, California, that his wife, Laci, who is eight months pregnant, has not been seen since mid-morning. Peterson tells police he had gone fishing in San Francisco Bay, and that Laci had stayed home to shop for dinner and to walk their dog in East La Loma Park, commonly called Dry Creek Park. Scott Peterson and family members begin searching the park. Hundreds of volunteers would later join the search.
December 31, 2002
Laci Peterson's disappearance is the result of foul play, Modesto police spokesman Detective Doug Ridenour says at a news conference. "She did not walk away voluntarily," he says, and adds that no one, including Scott Peterson, has been ruled out as a potential suspect.
January 4, 2003
Authorities use cadaver-sniffing dogs to search Berkeley Marina, where Scott Peterson says he went fishing the day his wife disappeared.
January 17, 2003
Sources reveal that police have shown Laci Peterson's family pictures that link Scott Peterson with another woman. The family is told that Scott Peterson took out a $250,000 life insurance policy on his wife.
January 20, 2003
Authorities reveal that the Peterson home was broken into between January 16 and 19. Modesto police Detective Doug Ridenour says the "bizarre" break-in was not connected to Laci Peterson's disappearance and that nothing significant was taken.
January 23, 2003
Amber Frey reveals at a news conference that she was the woman photographed with Scott Peterson. Frey says she did not know Peterson was married when they began their affair, and police say she has been eliminated as a suspect in Laci Peterson's disappearance.
January 29, 2003
Scott Peterson tells reporters that he cut his hand and bled inside his truck the day his wife disappeared.
January 30, 2003
Modesto police ask Scott Peterson to cooperate with investigators.
January 31, 2003
Police review hours of surveillance videotape from a grocery store in Longview, Washington, and then discount a clerk's claim that she might have seen Laci Peterson on December 24.
February 10, 2003
Laci Peterson's due date arrives. The Petersons had decided to name the boy Connor.
February 18, 2003
Modesto police conduct "a follow-up search" at the Peterson home, the second search since December 26, two days after Laci Peterson was last reported seen.
April 14, 2003
The remains of a woman and baby boy that washed ashore at Point Isabel Regional Park, in Richmond, California, are discovered. Officials investigating the case of Laci Peterson are waiting for DNA test results to determine whether the bodies are those of Peterson and her son. The bodies were found about two miles from where Laci's husband Scott told police he went fishing on the day she disappeared and about 80 miles northwest of their home in Modesto.
April 18, 2003
Scott Peterson is arrested in connection with Laci's murder. Prosecutors announce the arrest after confirming the two bodies that washed ashore along San Francisco Bay April 13 and 14 are those of Laci Peterson and her baby.
That's got to be one of the lamest excuses I've ever heard.
On Fox News this morning, one of their experts, Bo Dietl, said the police had the arrest warrant a couple of days before they positively I.D.'ed the bodies. This indicated to Dietl that they had enough to arrest him without the I.D.
Wonder who else he's been calling since incarceration? Golf courses to cancel future golf dates?
Slap, slap. The whole world is stupid, according to Scott Peterson.
I've got news for the chief. Thats not how time of death is determined. I hope investigators can provide a better timeline for how long those bodies were in the water. Preferably based on scientific evidence, rather than police guess work.
I was suprised the coroner didn't address this (time of death) question more directly during the news conference.
Did the a$$hole Scott feel so guilty he could not live with himself so he got scuba gear and dived and released the cement anchor??? from Laci's body, therefore (the body rising up fast) more so causing the combustion of the baby being born? SICK-but maybe he is so sick he felt guilty and for some sick Scott reason released the cement anchor (s). They found traces of cement in his car (or was it boat) so he did utilize cement right???
"Laci's husband Scott Peterson apparently had cement residue in a rented storage unit, and some was found in his boat. Modesto police have not named Scott Peterson as a suspect, and he has maintained his innocence."
The story about the pool is ridiculous. I felt the same way when he said he told Laci that he was having an affair and that she was "okay with it" and that they were working on it. Any woman knows she'd go berserk.
BAWHAHAHA, Vintage Scott. He even lies about THIS? Jeeze.
BTW, Laci's sister (the family hairdresser) gave them both haircuts the day before Laci went missing. I'd love to hear her professional reaction to this new whooper.
By DAVE JONES
BEE LOCAL NEWS AND STORY EDITOR
Scott Peterson was arrested Friday morning in the slayings of his wife, Laci, and their son, Conner.
Several hours after his arrest in La Jolla, state Attorney General Bill Lockyer announced that DNA tests had positively identified the two bodies found earlier this week along San Francisco Bay as those of Laci and Conner Peterson.
Just before midnight Friday, Modesto police detectives arrived at the Stanislaus County Jail with Peterson, after driving him here from San Diego County.
Police had blocked off the street, and a crowd of about 200 waited outside the downtown jail. Many of them cheered as the police convoy drove up.
His arrest came nearly four months after his wife, 27 years old and eight months pregnant, disappeared from the couple's home in the La Loma neighborhood, setting off a media frenzy that captivated the nation.
Police Chief Roy Wasden, speaking at police headquarters Friday, would not discuss details of the investigation. He said there are no other suspects.
District Attorney Jim Brazelton said Peterson, 30, will be charged with two counts of murder, making it a capital case. Brazelton said he had not decided whether he will seek the death penalty.
Peterson's arraignment in Superior Court is likely to take place Monday or Tuesday.
His wife was reported missing Christmas Eve. He said he had gone fishing, alone, and she was gone when he came home.
Police searched his house twice, and seized his pickup and boat, but they never named him a suspect. Nor did they rule him out.
The arrest came at 11:10 a.m. Friday, even before police had received results of DNA tests that identified Peterson's wife and son as the woman and "full-term male child" whose bodies came ashore near Richmond.
"We've really tried for, hoped for, prayed for a different outcome than the one that has occurred," Wasden said. "While it's happy to have a conclusion, it's truly sad to have that conclusion."
The state lab made its determinations on the identifications shortly after 5 p.m. Friday. Agents with the state Department of Justice arrested Peterson earlier because law enforcement officials feared he might flee.
Lockyer, appearing on CNN's "Larry King Live," said officers had been following Peterson for a number of days -- and saw that "he was in San Diego, near the border."
Arrested near golf course
Agents arrested Peterson after pulling him over in a Mercedes-Benz that he was driving near Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla.
Authorities declined to comment on the evidence against Peterson, but Lockyer offered his opinion on its totality.
"This is a compellingly strong case," he said. "I would call the odds slam-dunk that he is going to be convicted."
Peterson's attorney, Kirk McAllister of Modesto, could not be reached for comment.
Peterson's family, many of whom live in the San Diego area, also could not be reached.
Members of Laci Peterson's family asked for privacy and announced that they would make a public statement at 4 p.m. Monday.
Wasden and Lockyer held back-to-back news conferences Friday evening. Lockyer went first, at the state DNA lab in Richmond where technicians worked with bones and muscle tissue from the bodies that washed ashore, DNA samples from Laci Peterson's parents and a blood sample from Scott Peterson.
John Tonkyn, a supervisor at the lab, said it was "more than a billion times likely" that the woman's body was Peterson's. He gave a similar likelihood that the baby was hers and her husband's.
Then, at Modesto police headquarters, standing before cameras that sent his words across the country, Wasden announced Peterson's arrest.
Since late January, Peterson had mostly been keeping a low profile. But law enforcement had been keeping tabs on him. "Wiretaps on phones, tracking vehicles, all of the technology available," Lockyer said.
The attorney general revealed that police had attached a tracking device to Peterson's pickup. "We were careful about that information," Lockyer said.
Keeping that information secret was one reason police and prosecutors worked so hard -- successfully -- to keep all the search warrants sealed.
Peterson told police Dec. 24 that he last saw his wife at about 9:30 that morning, as he left for the Berkeley Marina and as she prepared to take their dog for a walk at East La Loma Park.
Peterson even provided a time-stamped receipt from the marina's boat launch ramp.
Search teams had worked the marina area, going north to Brooks Island where Peterson said he went fishing.
The bodies washed ashore a mile apart, in south Richmond and at Point Isabel, not far from Brooks Island. People walking along the shore came across the bodies, the baby's on Sunday and the woman's on Monday.
Causes of death had not been determined, said Contra Costa County Sheriff Warren Rupf, whose agency is handling the autopsies. He said the bodies appeared to have been submerged for "some time."
Police believe the killings occurred in Stanislaus County, Wasden said, but he would not go into detail.
Asked about a possible change of venue, Brazelton responded: "Where are you going to go to find somebody that hasn't heard about this case?"
At the outset, the nation saw Laci's and Scott's families united, attending news conferences together, pleading for the public's help in finding Peterson.
Then came a split, brought by the revelation of Scott Peterson's affair. Laci's family said he had denied an affair previously. But on Jan. 24, Amber Frey came forward to say that she had met Peterson on Nov. 20 and they had a romantic relationship. The Fresno-area woman said he had told her that he was not married.
Acknowledging the affair
Within a week, Peterson went on national television to acknowledge the affair and call it "inappropriate."
"It was not a positive, obviously but it was not something that we weren't dealing with," he told ABC's "Good Morning America."
He said he had told his wife about the affair and that she had made peace with it. "It wasn't anything that would break us apart."
The affair turned Laci Peterson's family against the son-in-law they had supported earlier. More strain came when he traded in his wife's Land Rover for a new truck. They begged him to cooperate with police, who had labeled him "uncooperative."
Peterson launched his own search effort, separate from the one organized by his wife's family. At one point, as searchers looked in San Francisco Bay and around Modesto, Peterson showed up in Los Angeles to distribute fliers at a hotel.
His own family stood behind him, with his mother, Jackie Peterson, the most vocal. She suggested that police had only one theory, that her son was guilty.
After Laci Peterson's due date came in mid-February, Jackie Peterson repeated her assertion that her daughter-in-law had been kidnapped by someone who wanted her baby.
Friday, calls and knocks at the door went unanswered at the Peterson home in Solana Beach, north of San Diego.
"This is a tragedy that is affecting many lives," Wasden said. "Lee and Jackie Peterson are Scott's parents, and they'll have to deal with that. They wanted to believe in their son, and they chose to do that. We went through with our investigation."
Peterson had kept mostly out of sight since his interviews with ABC and other news outlets in late January.
In February, though, he spoke with MSNBC, saying that he missed his wife and the child she was to bear.
"I can't drive. I can't sleep," he said then. "Sometimes I feel I just can't do it. I feel like I'm in a dark corner and I just can't function."
Bee staff writers John Coté and Patrick Giblin, and The Associated Press and Knight Ridder Newspapers contributed to this report.
Posted on 04/19/03 05:21:00
Kinda weakens his case if there's a bail hearing, wouldn't you say?
Wow. Hard to believe no media had a clue, or if they did, that they didn't blab about the arrest shortly after it happened!!
No one watches the news at this time but folks like me getting off an afternoon shift. But it seems like they did this at midnight for a reason.
But, to be arrested yesterday morning.... and no word of it in the media???? Then wait 12 hours, close to mid night to move him....
Why all the secrecy?
I think the Amber girlfriend was at the time of the murder(s) (wife and baby) somehow worth something to him. Then Amber freaked and dumped him as she thought he was a widower!!!
He also reportedly took out (jacked-up the $$$$$$) of a life insurance policy on Laci. He better not cop an insanity plea as the a$$hole is sane enought to sell everything dye his hair and try to flee.
Yes, we are all stupid because we haven't figured out that the friend's pool was filled with hydrogen peroxide.
So he was probably blonde and then changed to a red head to further trick everyone LOL!!! As a poster on this thread stated, he was big time monitored with a GPS gadget on his vehicle so Scott could have turned into Saddam Hussein and still been cought.
Bumpity bump to that. She'd clock him.
Yeah, and I'm the bloody Queen of Prussia. What a laugher.
I have dark brown hair, and I was a W.S.I. and lifeguard for years at a local pool and at summer camp. I was in the sun and in and out of the pool all day. My hair bleached out at most to a reddish brown with light brown highlights by the end of the summer - not that fakey peroxide blond that Scrotty is sporting.
This guy is not only evil, he's an idiot. He might as well have had a sign around his neck from the very beginning of this, saying "ARREST ME"
Hope he burns (although I guess CA doesn't even gas 'em any more.) A simple peaceful death is too good for this monster. I'd drown him by tying him to a rock with concrete weights on his legs and letting him watch the tide come in. . . .