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Police discount possible sighting of missing woman

Review of surveillance tape does not reveal Laci Peterson

Laci Peterson is expecting a baby in mid-February.
Laci Peterson is expecting a baby in mid-February.

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LONGVIEW, Washington (CNN) -- After reviewing dozens of hours of videotape Friday, police here discounted a store clerk's claim that she might have seen Laci Peterson, the pregnant woman who disappeared Christmas Eve from Modesto, California, 600 miles to the south.

Longview police Chief Bob Burgreen said authorities reviewed grocery store surveillance camera videotapes from December 24 after the clerk said a pregnant woman told her she'd been kidnapped and asked her to call police.

Police saw no image of the missing woman.

The clerk said she became distracted and forgot to call police, remembering it only when she saw a report on Laci Peterson's disappearance on CNN.

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Police in Modesto said they have received nearly 6,000 tips in the case since December 24, with more than 90 percent of them of "absolutely no value."

Laci Peterson is expecting a baby boy in mid-February. She was last reported seen by her husband, Scott, the morning of December 24, when he left the house for a fishing trip about 85 miles away.

Friday night, Laci's family is playing host to what it hopes will be a worldwide candlelight vigil for the missing mother-to-be and her unborn baby boy, already named Conner, at 10 p.m. EST.

"Light a candle, say a prayer or think a positive thought for their return," said the announcement on the Web site the family has created, www.lacipeterson.com.

Scott Peterson has not been named a suspect in his wife's disappearance, but police have said he has not been eliminated.

Shortly after the disappearance, authorities impounded and searched Scott Peterson's Ford F-150 pickup and his 14-foot aluminum boat.

"We would love to eliminate Scott Peterson from this investigation, and we would encourage him to cooperate with us to that end," said a statement from Modesto police released Thursday.

The statement came a day after Scott Peterson told reporters that he had cut his hand the day his wife disappeared, leaving a blood stain inside his vehicle.

Examiners at the Central Valley Regional Laboratory in Ripon, about 10 miles north of Modesto, began conducting serology tests in early January on evidence collected in the case, authorities said. They would not disclose where, when or from whom the samples were taken, nor what they were seeking to determine from the tests.

Katy Ciula, the lab's assistant director, said at the time that results would take months.

Last week, a woman who said she was having a romantic relationship with Scott Peterson came forward. Amber Frey said he had told her he wasn't married when they met in November.

In interviews with national and local media Wednesday, Scott Peterson acknowledged the affair and said he had told his wife about it.

A $500,000 reward has been posted for Laci Peterson's return.

-- CNN correspondent David Mattingly contributed to this report.


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