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Mike Brooks: Police had case before bodies found

CNN's Mike Brooks
CNN's Mike Brooks

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(CNN) -- Scott Peterson was being held in California on suspicion of killing his pregnant wife, Laci, whose remains and those of their unborn boy were found on the San Francisco Bay shoreline. CNN's Mike Brooks spoke with CNN anchor Heidi Collins from Modesto, California.

BROOKS: Scott Peterson is under arrest and locked up a few blocks away from here at the Stanislaus County jail. He was picked up yesterday by Modesto police in San Diego. They had been following him around for ... days using some different technology. The attorney general is saying they had a bug on his car so they would know exactly where he was going.

A couple of times, he even got out and came back and spoke to detectives and said basically, "Why don't you go ahead and arrest me?" They finally did yesterday afternoon.

A short time ago last hour, I spoke with (Modesto) Police Chief Roy Wasden. They discovered the remains of a child and woman last Saturday in San Francisco Bay [later identified as Laci Peterson and her unborn baby boy]. I asked the chief if they had not found those remains, would they still have a case against Scott Peterson.


CHIEF ROY WASDEN: We believe that we were very close to having enough information to make an arrest in this case. Of course, the discovery of the remains really accelerated everything forward, but the detectives were working toward that conclusion. They were consulting with the prosecutors, the district attorney's office.

BROOKS: Now, the autopsy was performed on the adult that we now know is Laci Peterson. They have still not determined a cause of death. So they're going to go back. The body was not totally intact. They're going to go back later, the chief says, and attempt to search for more evidence in San Francisco Bay.

Yesterday, at the time of his arrest, we had seen Scott Peterson during a number of searches and all along the last four months. Yesterday, when he was booked into the jail here in Modesto, his hair was lighter and he had a full beard. Now, the law enforcement was concerned since he was so close to Mexico that he could have been a flight risk and that is one of the reasons they went ahead and arrested him yesterday.

COLLINS: I know a while back in February they had done an extensive search of Laci and Scott's home, as well, in order to try to find possibly some sort of evidence or articles to look at that might be of interest, something like 95 items were taken from the home and the yard and their cars.

Any idea what has happened to that and will that now come into play as they try to build the evidence or the case, I should say, against Scott Peterson?

BROOKS: Well, that was the second search they had done of the home and in talking to law enforcement sources, they did get some evidence out of the home. Now, they were there for two days. They were also assisted by the FBI's evidence response team that worked here in the area with the Modesto police and law enforcement sources said they did glean some positive evidence out of the home.

As you also recall in the first searches, they took his truck and his boat. They still have the truck and the boat and have not returned that to him. Yesterday, when he had the time of his arrest, he was apparently driving a different car. Whose car that was, we still don't know. He is arrested here and locked up in the Stanislaus County jail and will be arraigned.

The district attorney says he could face the death penalty on capital murder for the double homicide of Laci and his unborn son.

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