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Peterson investigation slow, methodical

Scott Peterson is seen through a window at the Stanislaus County Jail.
Scott Peterson is seen through a window at the Stanislaus County Jail.

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MODESTO, California (CNN) -- From the onset of Laci Peterson's disappearance last Christmas Eve, her husband Scott Peterson came under police scrutiny.

The nearly four-month investigation into the California woman's disappearance -- and now death -- has been the result of slow, methodical investigation that always kept her husband the subject of media speculation.

Scott Peterson maintained that he had gone fishing in the San Francisco Bay the day of Laci's disappearance, who was eight months pregnant at the time. Investigators verified a receipt the husband supplied from a parking lot at the Berkeley, California, marina where he said he was fishing.

Police nevertheless impounded Scott Peterson's Ford 150 pickup truck and a 14-foot boat shortly after he reported his wife missing.

One week after the she was reported missing from the Petersons' Modesto, California, home, police said the case was the result of foul play. Modesto police spokesman Det. Doug Ridenour said no one, including Scott Peterson, had been ruled out as a potential suspect.

On January 4, authorities used cadaver-sniffing dogs to search Berkeley Marina, where Scott Peterson says he went fishing the day his wife disappeared.

On January 17, police showed Laci Peterson's family pictures that linked Scott Peterson with another woman. The family also was told that Scott Peterson took out a $250,000 life insurance policy on his wife.

Authorities also revealed that the Peterson home was broken into between January 16 and 19. Police spokesman Ridenour said the "bizarre" break-in was not connected to Laci Peterson's disappearance and that nothing significant was taken.

On January 23 police announced that Amber Frey, the woman who acknowledged having an affair with Scott Peterson, had been cleared in the case.

By January 30 Modesto police asked Scott Peterson to cooperate with investigators.

On February 18 police conducted what they termed "a follow-up search" at the Peterson home, the second such search since December 26. During the two-day search police removed more than 90 items from the home and temporarily impounded Scott Peterson's new white Dodge Ram truck.

"[Scott] is not a suspect yet, nor has he been eliminated from the investigation," Ridenour said.

On April 12 two bodies were discovered that washed ashore on a San Francisco Bay park shoreline a woman and a baby.

On Friday, the bodies were identified as Laci Peterson and her unborn boy. Scott Peterson was arrested. On Saturday, Modesto Police Chief Roy Wasden said Investigators were "very close" to arresting Scott Peterson in the death of his wife.

"It was a process of elimination," Wasden said. "At the outset you have the universe to work from. ... We were never able to eliminate Scott."


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