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Police: Woman 'did not walk away voluntarily'

Laci Peterson
Laci Peterson

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CNN's Leon Harris talks with the stepfather of Laci Peterson, who was last seen Christmas Eve walking her dog in Modesto, California. (December 31)
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The reward for information on Laci Peterson, who is eight months pregnant, is up to $500,000. CNN's Rusty Dornin reports. (December 30)
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MODESTO, California (CNN) -- One week after a pregnant woman disappeared, police in Modesto said Tuesday that Laci Peterson was taken against her will.

"It becomes more apparent that her disappearance is a result of foul play," said Modesto Police spokesman Det. Doug Ridenour at a news conference, adding that Peterson's husband, Scott, and anyone else connected to her remain suspects in her disappearance December 24.

"Clearly she's not a person who did this on her own, she did not walk away voluntarily, we have no evidence to believe that," Ridenour said.

Hundreds of volunteers have joined police and the FBI in the exhaustive search for the 27-year-old mother-to-be, who was last seen by her husband at home around 9:30 a.m. on the morning of Christmas eve.

Scott Peterson was leaving for a fishing trip some 85 miles away, and he told police his wife, eight months pregnant, intended to walk their dog and go shopping for items for dinner that evening. The couple have been married for five years.

In a police news release, the husband said he came home later that night and found the dog, with its leash on, in the back yard. A neighbor had found the dog earlier in the day, authorities said, and put it in the yard. Scott Peterson said his wife's purse was still in the house and nothing had been disturbed.

Tuesday, police expanded the search for the woman outside this community, about 45 miles northeast of San Jose. Police explained that based on the behavior of canine search teams, they believe Laci left her house in a vehicle and not on foot.

Ridenour said some 850 tips -- some of them credible -- have come in to a tip line set up at the police department. Police divers have also been searching in rivers and other nearby bodies of water.

The reward for finding Peterson is $500,000.

Meanwhile, authorities continue to question sex offenders, people on parole or on probation, the homeless, and family members, Modesto Police Chief Roy Wasden said earlier Tuesday.

Police said Tuesday they had verified that a receipt Scott produced did come from a parking lot at the marina where he said he was fishing.

Authorities have searched the couple's home, their vehicles, and Scott's business. They also impounded his car and boat.

A plea for help

Scott Peterson's father, Lee Peterson, implored whoever had anything to do with his daughter-in-law's disappearance to bring her home safely. "Get her back to us and do the right thing, let's return this woman to her family where she belongs," he said in an interview on CNN.

A missing persons flier has been posted in the park where Peterson disappeared.
A missing persons flier has been posted in the park where Peterson disappeared.

Susan Caudillo, Scott Peterson's sister, also appealed for help in finding her sister-in-law. "To those that know anything, or have any information, if you have Laci, please have compassion, Scott needs her back," she said in the same interview.

A burglary that occurred across the street from Peterson's home on the morning she disappeared also has captured the attention of investigators. Police were offering a $1,000 reward for information about the identity of the burglar or burglars. They believe those suspects could have information about Peterson's disappearance, but said they doubt the two events were related -- the time frame, they said, was not right.



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