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Where is Laci Peterson?

Aired January 13, 2003 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight after 21 days Laci Peterson, in her 9th month of pregnancy is still missing. She vanished from here Modesto, California home Christmas Eve. Here husband Scott says he was away on a fishing trip. Police thought they finally found something over weekend. But a search of the bottom of San Francisco Bay turned up only an old anchor. As the desperate hunt continues with no leads and no clues how is a here family holding up.
Joining us tonight from Modesto is Laci Peterson mother and stepfather, Sharon Rocha and Ron Grantski, Laci's sister, Amy Rocha and Scott Peterson's father-in-law, Lee Peterson and Scott's sister- in-law, Janey Peterson. Laci's husband has not been ruled out into the investigation of his wife's disappearance. We'll focus on that investigation in the second half tonight. When we meet Modesto Police Chief Ray Wasden. And that's Roy Wasden, sorry.

And Kim Petersen, executive director of the memorial reward foundation working with the Peterson family to help find Laci. And then debate with New York Court TV's Nancy Grace a former prosecutor. In Los Angeles, defense attorney Marge Geragos. And in San Francisco, Mark Klaas who's daughter was abducted and murdered nine years ago.

It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

By the way, Hedda Nussbaum, involved in the violent crime some years back in New York City was due to be our guest.

And Heather will be with us in the next couple of weeks. We'll let you know the date.

We thought this important lingering story deserves much more attention.

Sharon, how do you hold up with something like is what keeps you going?

SHARON ROCHA, LACI PETERSON'S MOTHER: Just the thought that Laci's still out there waiting for us to find her, and now the support that we have from all of the volunteers, and the police department and everybody around us, our friends and family, that's what keeps us going every day.

KING: Ron Grantski, the stepfather, do play in your mind at all? Do you play mine games, what do you think happened, that kind of thing? RON GRANTSKI, LACI PETERSON'S STEP FATHER: We try to think of anything and everything. Yes, we do that. Our main concern, like Sharon said, is to get Laci back. I have been in her life since she was 2 years old. So, I watched her grow up, go through school, get married and now we're expecting our first grandchild. So between our family and friends throughout the country and here at home, that's what keeps us going.

KING: Amy, what do you make of the public reaction to all of this?

AMY ROCHA, LACI PETERSON'S SISTER: It's overwhelming. It's really nice to see our community's come together to help our family and all of their support and everyone all around us and just overwhelming. It's really nice.

KING: Was your sister, Amy, is your sister the kind of person who would walk off with a stranger, do something...


KING: Not in the normal?

A. ROCHA: No, she's very smart. And she knows -- she's very smart. She's a smart person. She wouldn't take off with someone she didn't know.

KING: Lee, I know your son, Scott, has not made public appearances to discuss this, but how's he holding up?

LEE PETERSON, SCOTT PETERSON'S FATHER: Well, he's -- he's devastated Larry. He's just terribly distraught. He's lost a lot of weight. I've never seen him so sad. He's just what you'd expect from someone who is missing their wife and baby. It's terrible to watch. I feel so bad. I wish I could help him.

KING: Were they a very happy couple, Lee?

L. PETERSON: They were just outstanding. They were wonderful couple, just very devoted and did everything together. They had such a marvelous life. They were -- they had a home they bought about two years ago, they were remodeling. And well the baby was coming and they gardened. They just did everything together. They were just a super couple.

KING: Janey Peterson is Scott Peterson's sister-in-law. What do you make of all of this?

JANEY PETERSON, SCOTT PETERSON'S SISTER-IN-LAW: Well, Larry, you know, this doesn't happen. It's hard to know what to make of it. We just -- each and every day we look to our friends and family for more support and just can't think of -- thank them enough for all of their prayers. And this is, you know, for me personally, something I've learned there's no way I could get through it without just counting on god and leaning on him each and every day to sustain us in this situation. KING: Sharon, from all you knew, is this a very happy marriage, the Peterson marriage?

S. ROCHA: Yes. They just are really truly in love with each other. They do everything together. They're partners. They're a team. They love each other. They planned together, they play together. They're always smiling. They're just very happy, well- adjusted couple. Never been any indication, I never heard Laci say she was even angry with Scott for any reason at all.

KING: So, therefore, Ron, there is no thought in your mind obviously people always suspect the most immediate family member or something like this and the husband has not been released from that suspicion and no one, this program has not indicated that he is, but there was no question in your mind that he's not involved, right, Ron?

GRANTSKI: Well, that's correct. I, you know, it might seem unusual he went fishing by himself, but I go fishing by myself a lot. Heaven forbid something happen here because I do it all the time.

KING: So that's not strange to you that he would go fishing?

GRANTSKI: No. Not to me.

KING: And the baby's not due until February 10, right it wasn't that he was going to miss the birth of a child?

GRANTSKI: Just a few hours, I mean, just gone for a few hours. It's -- you have to remember that was a workday for most people. I went to work in the morning, then I was off in the afternoon and he happened to have the day off and so did Sharon. So everybody already prepared for our dinners. We were having dinner at our house that night. So, It was kind of like a lax time before the evening of all of us getting together.

KING: Amy, as far as you knew, is your sister very happily married?

A. ROCHA: Very happily married, yes.

KING: So you join your stepfather and your mother in saying that you don't question at all Scott's involvement?

A. ROCHA: We have no question in our mind about Scott, he's part of our family.

KING: One of the things that does come up, Lee, why Scott doesn't appear for interviews. Do you know why?

L. PETERSON: Yes. Well, he's very emotional. He would -- he would break down. He wouldn't be able to finish an interview. And he doesn't want the media focus on him, he wants it on having Laci's picture in front of the nation so that someone may report something and we can get her back in our family.

KING: Janey, what do you make of the search? You would think with all of this mass in search in an area where you live, something would have come up.

J. PETERSON: Well, we're hoping that Laci's going to come home with the baby and that most of the searching is going to, you know, prove few tile. We're praying for the miracle that Laci and the baby will come home safely. For that to happen, we need to whoever knows something to call in with the information that they have.

KING: Janey, in a sense, your best hope is she went off somewhere by herself, right?

In a sense, that's your best hope?

J. PETERSON: Yes, that's pretty unrealistic, but -- but, you know, that -- you know, our hope is that someone has her and that they just feel convicted and give her back and let her go.

KING: We'll be right back with more of the family of the missing girl in this tragedy, the missing pregnant lady, Laci.

This is LARRY KING LIVE. We'll be including your phone calls. Don't go away.


KING: Naturally, tabloids get involved in this. But unfortunately, tabloids in the past have sometimes hit it right on the button. So we'll ask Lee Peterson, the tabloid is saying this week that Scott may have mopped the kitchen floor, taken a shower and changed clothes before he called for help. The tabloid quotes a neighbor saying he was dressed in a blue long sleeved shirt and khaki dress pans and didn't look like a guy who had been fishing when he raised the alarm.

How do you react -- did you see that story, Lee, or hear about it?

L. PETERSON: No, Larry, I didn't see that story. How is a fisherman supposed to dress, I guess, is my question? Scott said Laci was mopping the floor when he left the house and I don't know any -- I can't comment on any of that other -- those other actions.

KING: How about these other stories, Sharon, that Scott may have had a girlfriend, that Laci may have seen an old boyfriend? What do you make of all of these? These are unfortunately stories that occur whenever a thing like this happens.

S. ROCHA: Well, I don't know where the stories are coming from, but I'm sure they're not true at all. Are you talking about a tabloid? I don't read the tabloids.

KING: Yes. I don't see them either, I'm just reading...

S. ROCHA: There is a very good reason.

KING: ... from what the notes tell me here. For example, a tabloid, one tabloid reports that Laci always opened the drapes when she was home during the day, but said the drapes were closed all that day. Do you know anything about what that means?

S. ROCHA: No, like I said I didn't read that tabloid.

KING: Does anyone have any comment on that?

A. ROCHA: You can't see the drapes from the street.

S. ROCHA: There are no drapes.

GRANTSKI: I don't think any -- if they had a set routine. I don't know how someone can keep track of whether they open the drapes normally or not. I mean, if they are watching the house that close, then they should know where Laci is. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) you know, if they watched the drapes that close, why don't they find Laci for us?

KING: One of the tragic aspects of this is that they always -- you would understand that, wouldn't you, Ron, they are looking for -- I don't want to use the word, well, I'll use the word, the sordid. Right?

GRANTSKI: I understand that, but sometimes I think we stray from the main purpose, and, yes, everybody wants -- has their own opinions. You know, I guess that's the way it will always be.

KING: There was a baby -- Amy, was there a baby shower held this weekend, one was supposed to be, did you go through with that?

A. ROCHA: No, we didn't go through with it. It was supposed to be this last Saturday.

KING: By the way, did she know what the baby -- does she know what the baby's going to be?

A. ROCHA: Yes, they...

KING: It's a girl or a boy?

A. ROCHA: A boy.

KING: It is a boy. And there was no problem in that marriage, no reason for her to be abducted, and of course, comes to mind is, why would someone, why would someone abduct a pregnant woman in her ninth month of pregnancy?

A. ROCHA: That's the question we all have, and that's the answer we would like to get.

GRANTSKI: It makes no sense to us, Larry, either. It makes no sense.

My only thing with Scott was that he did too much stuff around the house, which meant I had to do more stuff around the house. So he was very good. He was very good around the house with Laci.

KING: Janey, you mentioned belief in God. Do you believe we're going to welcome Laci back? Do you have confidence, or does it wane as the days go by?

J. PETERSON: You know, we just -- we just have to keep hoping for that, you know. And we just can't operate under any other assumption, you know. She's out there and we need to bring her home.

KING: I understand you -- the authorities have received over 2,800 tips, there's $500,000 in reward money, loads of theories running around. Sharon, does anything build your hope?

S. ROCHA: I'm still hoping that Laci is coming home to us. They are still searching. Nobody's giving up. Nobody will ever give up searching for Laci until we find her and bring her home, and her baby.

KING: We sure hope that somebody has some information that can lead to this. There is a Web site,, Thank you all very much. You're in our prayers. We're take a break. Our panel will be here to discuss this, including the sheriff who is in on the -- leading the investigation, of course. And we'll be including your calls for the panel, and we'll meet them when we come back.


KING: Laci Peterson remains missing since Christmas Eve. Joining us now in Modesto is Chief Roy Wasden, of the Modesto police force. In New York is Nancy Grace, the anchor of "Trial Heat" on Court TV and former prosecutor. Here in Los Angeles is Mark Geragos, defense attorney. In San Francisco, Marc Klaas, whose daughter Polly was abducted and murdered in 1993. He's founder, by the way, of Klaas Kids Foundation, an advocate for child protection and crime victims' rights.

And in Modesto, Kim Peterson, no relation. She's executive director of the Carol Sund Carrington Memorial Foundation, helping the family in the search for Laci as they have helped in so many other, tragically that there are so many other, searches as well.

Chief Wasden, what can you tell us right to the minute?

CHIEF ROY WASDEN, MODESTO POLICE: Well, to the minute, Larry, the investigation continues. There are still logical leads that need to be followed, logical things that need to be followed upon, and we're continuing in several directions at this point in time.

KING: Since they're all trying to link the husband, Scott, here what is your statement regarding him? By all, I mean tabloids and ther others while the family on both sides stands by him?

WASDEN: Well, I think it's important that we in the police department do the police work, do the investigation within the police department, not out in the media. So as far as the investigation surrounding anybody in this investigation, we won't speculate in public and we won't speculate in the media. We will follow through on that. At this point in time, Scott has not been eliminated from the investigation.

KING: But then, nobody has, have they?

WASDEN: There are other. There are many people that have been eliminated, Larry, from the investigation. We work through an extensive list of known sex offenders -- registered sex offenders, parolee. We've worked through close to 200 people in that arena. And they have been eliminated and accounted for.

There are other scenarios that have been worked through and eliminated. It's a difficult investigation in that we have to work from many possibilities and eliminate as we go along and so it's a process of elimination and then hoping for a break; hoping that someone out there listening will have information or provide information.

KING: So you need a lead?

WASDEN: Yes, we do.

KING: Is there a phone number you're giving out?

WASDEN: Yes, there is a tipline number. I don't have that with me, Larry, but I can get that before we're done.

KING: OK. We'll get it and we'll put it up and I'll certainly be mentioning it.

Nancy Grace, as a prosecutor with something like this just sitting around waiting?

GRACE: Well, I'm sure the prosecutor that will be in charge of the case, once it finally is a case, is not sitting around and waiting. And I think a lot of people right now are looking at Scott Peterson and naturally so.

KING: Why?

GRACE: Because statistically speaking -- statistically -- people are normally murdered by someone they know. And I would say that there's strong evidence here that she has met with foul play. Be she still alive, simply missing or, in fact, having passed away.

And I say for one main reason. From what I have learned about Laci Peterson, Larry, she's incredibly meticulous. There is no way she would have let her dog run the neighborhood on purpose, coming back muddy with his leash, dragged through the mud that way. No way.

And one more thing on this point. That dog was found around 10:30 a.m., according to wire reports, which means within one hour of Scott leaving the home, according to him, she was gone. It was over. Based on those facts alone, naturally people look to people that Laci knew.

KING: But it also could be an old boyfriend that you don't even know about.

GRACE: Well, of course it could be anybody. It could be extraterrestrials that came down from Mars. But statistically, it's probably not.

KING: Mark Geragos, do you need a victim to have a case?

GERAGOS: No, not necessarily.

But contrary to what Nancy says -- I mean I'd agree with her as far as she says it looks like foul play. I think it probably -- all indications are that it is foul play. Whether she's been murdered, I'd never go that far as to speculate to that.

KING: Could be anything, right?

GERAGOS: Could be a kidnapping, could be something -- some kind of a stalker -- could be virtually any kind of a situation.

Generally, where we start to speculate, whatever we say tends to be 180 degrees wrong.

KING: Nancy makes it logical to focus on the husband statistically. Is she right?

GERAGOS: Well, statistically, yes. And then, you know, the sheriff just gave you something that was quite extraordinary, at least in my experience. He's eliminated about 200 sex offenders but he won't eliminate Scott Peterson. That's a statement that's pregnant in its implications.

KING: Chief, do you want to comment on that? Hold it, Nancy. Do you want to comment on that?

WASDEN: Well, again, we're going to work through all of the logical things. The investigation is moving forward in a logical fashion. That's just about as much as I can comment publicly on the investigation.

KING: Marc Klaas, only you can really know what's going through the mind of that family, right?

KLAAS: Well, you know, Larry, you can see the strain on the faces, in the voices and in the words of Laci's family. Nobody's looking very good there. The only one that's looking good is a picture of beautiful Laci and unfortunately, that's fading with time.

I would have some advice for Scott. I've seen his own mother with, I believe, emphysema in her oxygen assisted weak breaths speak up on behalf of her son. I've seen all of these women in the family just that are just starting to show incredible strain speak up on behalf of Laci, speak up on behalf of Scott.

I think Scott should step around from behind these women and he should step up to the camera and he should tell people what's going on here.

GRACE: Tell it, Marc.

KLAAS: And I say this for a very important reason. There is a very important reason. I understand there are less and less volunteers coming to the search center every day and what we need to do is we need to re-energize this effort and get enough people out there so they can put out the grid searches and find Laci. And he may be the key to doing that.

KING: Marc, his father says he's very emotional.

KLAAS: We're all emotional and it's not fair, Larry. There's nothing fair about. His wife is missing.

GRACE: Wait a minute. Wait a minute, Marc.

Marc, another thing. Recall when Polly went missing you screamed on the courthouse steps, polygraph me, check my home, check my car.

KLAAS: The van Dams -- the van Dams, with more difficulties than almost anybody's ever had to do the van Dams stepped in front of the cameras every day and said, under unbelievable pressure, said, Please bring our daughter home. I just wish you would take this test.

KING: Before we ask Kim, should he, Mark?

GERAGOS: Well, look, there's a problem here. Obviously what Marc says, from the standpoint of generating interest, is absolutely true. You want to generate the interest.

At the same time, I'm certainly not going to sit here and second guess somebody whose wife was about to give birth to their child and whose wife, presumably they've got, by all accounts a wonderful marriage, and start to second guess this guy's emotions because he won't go on the camera because he might be camera shy?

I mean, I just think that -- I understand to generate the interest, to find her, that you'd want to do that. But, jeez, the humanity says that you want might want to cut this guy some slack.

KING: Kim, you're a veteran of these things. What do you think?

KIM PETERSEN, MEMORIAL FUND DIRECTOR: Well, Larry, I've been working with both families from the very beginning. And early on, the families decided you know, who felt comfortable going on TV and who was willing to speak and who wasn't comfortable doing it, and they stuck with they've decisions and I support them in that.

And it has been difficult for everyone who is going through this. They've all gone through their all trials and their own stresses in this. And I can't second guess any of their decisions, nor would I.

KING: All right.

Then, chief, it's fair to ask, has the husband been cooperative in the questioning phase?

WASDEN: You know, Larry, I just can't get into what has happened and hasn't happened within the investigation itself. I'll go back to the idea that the media attention is important. We appreciate the coverage and attention that's come to this case. We want to keep it out there as much as we possibly can.

KING: All right.

WASDEN: We have generated huge numbers of tips that we are following up on and then the logical things that we feel we need to do.

KING: Would it help you if he came forward?

WASDEN: Well, again, I'm not going to get into that, Larry. Let me give you the phone number for the tipline.

KING: Would it help you if he did come forward and plead for people to help him and you find his wife?

WASDEN: You know, I'll tell you right now, Larry, it seems that we're getting the media attention we need. I know this case has received national coverage. I'm not sure that we could handle more media coverage than we're currently doing.

And, as I promised, the tip line number is area code 209...

KING: What is it?

WASDEN: Area code 209-342-6616. And we welcome any information that anyone might have in this case.

KING: Mark -- Mark Geragos.

GERAGOS: Well, I was going to say arc long those lines, picking up on Marc Klaas' point, If what you're looking to do by having him come out, Mr. Peterson come out, and say something to generate more interest, the chief speaks volumes when he says, Look, we've got to -- we've reached the envelope, pushing the envelope, in terms of the amount of coverage and the amount of inquiries we're getting.

He may be smartest to just lay back until interest wains and the situation and then come back out -- well, then there's no other reason --

GRACE: It's not just that, Mark. Every day that he does not come -- it's not just about the camera. To heck with the camera. What I'm saying, every day he doesn't take a polygraph and allow himself to be cleared, he is diluting police investigation...

GERAGOS: We don't know that.

GRACE: ...from other people.

GERAGOS: Nancy, all you've done is speculate that he hasn't taken a polygraph or hasn't been cooperative. We don't know that. The chief won't commit to it. You're just speculating on that. For all we know, he has been cooperative.

GRACE: Mark, I asked his family. I asked his family if he had taken a polygraph and they said no. GERAGOS: It's inadmissible.

KING: Let me get a break and pick right up in a minute.

We'll be back with the chief, with Nancy Grace, with Mark Geragos, Marc Klaas and Kim Petersen. Also your phone calls. Don't go away.



DET. DOUG RIDENOUR, MODESTO POLICE: We continue as a department the desire to eliminate Scott Peterson from this investigation. So we need additional information regarding his whereabouts, the description of the pickup and the boat hopefully will help us in that matter.

QUESTION: Is he a suspect?

RIDENOUR: Again, we have not eliminated him, but we haven't eliminated a number of folks in directions at this point.


KING: The chief inverted the numbers. Let me give you the correct number for the tip line. It's 209-342-6166. 209-342-6166. Mark Geragos wanted to say something, then we get to calls.

GERAGOS: It's interesting how you can view the same set of facts in two different ways. Nancy finds the dog with the lease suspicious whereas I think it tens to show it was somebody who was either a stranger abduction or stalker or something else. She's out there, taking a walk, getting exercise, he's already gone, the dog's -- why did the dog have its leash attached to it unless somebody was about to take the dog for a walk? And if is the case that would tend to suggest somebody, at least in my mind, other than Scott Peterson.

KING: Good point, Nancy, isn't it?

GRACE: Very compelling the way he phrases it. My point was that Laci left unexpectedly that she is a victim of foul play because knowing what I know of her, she would never have let her dog, who she loved, run loose that way. He was very meticulously kept. And back to the polygraph, the point I'm trying to make is this, in order to allow police to pursue other leads it makes simple sense to me that you allow himself to be polygraphed and totally cooperate. That's my point.

KING: Chief, would that help you?

WASDEN: The polygraph is a useful investigative tool. I can't comment on the use of the polygraph in this case.

KING: Marc Klaas, do you think he ought to do that voluntarily?

KLAAS: Absolutely. You know, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) right. You have to eliminate yourself. Now, one of the reasons I thought that Scott should go out there is not necessarily to generate more leads for the police who do a wonderful job, these guys have been in so many high profile cases but instead to bring volunteers in so they can do the actual grid searches. You know, there's great value in the volunteer search effort. It has recovered people in the past. It gives people something to do and it takes burden off the shoulders of law enforcement.

KING: Kim, before I take a phone call, what did the friends do in having a baby shower?

K. PETERSEN: Well, her friends that had planned to have the shower on Saturday had a slumber party. Laci often organized slumber parties for all of her friends and so they did that in her honor instead of the shower which was a fun time but a very difficult and painful one.

KING: Anybody ever hear of a case like this, a pregnant woman abducted?

GERAGOS: In the last seven years, a woman in Pasadena. And there was another in I believe in Arizona.

KING: What happened to her?

GERAGOS: One in, unfortunately, one in Pasadena ended up being murdered. But it was a stranger abduction.

KING: Waterberry, Conneticut, hello.

CALLER: Hi. Yes, I was asking about the polygraph, but I want to know if anyone feels it's strange that he went out on Christmas Eve because most people have a lot to do Christmas Eve, and especially with a pregnant wife. Go fishing, you know, that's why I think a lot of people think it's him, because he did something crazy on Christmas Eve.

KING: His step father-in-law though, Nancy, said nothing wrong with that, he's a fisher man, he goes fishing alone.

GRACE: I agree, I heard the stepfather say to that. I wanted to know what he expected to catch. Did he buy, gas up, buy bait, did he catch anything? I haven't heard any of that. I think it's unusual to go out on Christmas Eve. Yes, it's unusual. I agree with the caller.

GERAGOS: I heard he was going out, looking to catch sturgeon. I don't know if the chief can confirm or deny that he described where he went, produced a receipt, which was the marina, which has been dragged.

KING: He did produce the receipt, that's generally known?

WASDEN: We do have a receipt from the Berkeley Marina. And outside of that, I can't go into...

GRACE: Do you have any fish? WASDEN: I can't go into that.

GRACE: Did the man really go fishing? That's what I'm asking, did he really go fishing? Look, I'm not blaming him. I'm just asking obvious questions.

KING: But you ask it in a way, Nancy, that implies he did it.

GRACE: Well, look, I'll tell you this much. If somebody in my family went missing and police asked my where were you? I would say here, here is the mess of fish I caught, here's my receipt, here's my gas receipt.

GERAGOS: Nancy, if you were 8 1/2 months pregnant and I was married to you, I'd be going fishing Christmas Eve. Trust me.

GRACE: You're scaring me right there. Lets stop that right now.

KING: Fresno, California, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. First of all, I want to say my thoughts is prayers are with Laci and her family. My question is that there were reports Laci's neighbor was robbed the same day as her disappearance. Could there be in connections to that?

KING: Chief.

WASDEN: Yes, we were very concerned about any connection to burglary across the street from Laci's home might have had to this case. We had two detectives work it full time. We posted a reward for information leading to the identification of those involved and found out, we solved that burglary, found out that in fact it occurred on the 26th, was when the home was broken into. We know that the people left for vacation about 10:35 on the morning of the 24th and returned late in the day on the 26th, to find their home had been broken into. In solving the case we found out it had been burglarized the morning of the 26th.

KING: Kim, you're a veteran at a lot of these. What is the most puzzling aspect to you?

K. PETERSEN: It's so difficult because we don't have any clues where she is and they have done such an expensive search. All of the law enforcement agencies that have cooperated in this have worked as such a team. And you know that time is of the essence because her baby is due in less than a month and we need to find her right away.

KING: Kansas, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. I was wondering if anybody considered the fact they may have kidnapped her to get the baby from her.

GRACE: I've heard that theory out there. I don't buy into it.

KING: Marc Klaas?

KLAAS: That's occurred maybe once or twice. It's not totally out of the question. But it's a very, very, very remote possibility.

KING: OK. Let's go to Rhode Island, hello.

CALLER: Hi. I have two questions. One is, do they know what the exact condition was of the dog when they found -- when they found the dog, his behavior, disposition? And the secondly, are they looking into any previous relationships either the husband or Laci had, like previous boyfriends and have they surfaced into the investigation?

KING: Chief, anything about the dog?

WASDEN: The dog had been returned to the backyard by a neighbor when she found the dog in the front yard about 10:30 in the morning. And I can't comment directly on the investigation other than to assure you we're following up every logical direction that we can.

GERAGOS: Except you know, we were talking in the green room before we came out here, chief. The one thing that is puzzling to some of us, the neighbor found the dog with the leash on it puts it in the yard, did the neighbor -- the neighbor did not call the police at that point, didn't think anything was out of the ordinary?

WASDEN: The neighbor did not call. Knew it was Laci's dog, returned the dog to the yard. And then the call was made by Ron, Laci's stepfather, about a quarter to 6:00 in the evening.

GERAGOS: That's so -- to me, it's peculiar. Why not call? If you're returning the dog, the dog's on a leash, you know the woman's pregnant, it's a neighbor, putting it in the backyard. You would think you figure out what is going on, where is somebody, why is the dog returning around the yard -- the neighborhood with a leash on, especially if as Nancy describes this woman, they so meticulous in the way they take care of the dog.

KING: We'll be back with more calls right after these words. Don't go away.


KING: By the way, the baby boy's due date is February 10, February 10. The phone number, the tip line is 209-342-6166.

Tomorrow night, Ed Bradley and Steve Kraft of "CBS 60 minutes."

Back to the calls. Castleton (ph), Indiana, hello.

CALLER: Yes, I had a question. Did the husband have a cell phone? Have records been checked? Did he make calls home that day?

GERAGOS: My understanding is did have a cell phone. I don't know if the chief's going to confirm it. My guess is not only have they checked the cell phone for what calls were made but they have the ability to determine from what cellular location the calls were made or received and they can then pinpoint his location that whatever time the phone is used. KING: Chief, correct?

WASDEN: Those are correct assumptions.

KING: All right.

Nancy, sometimes -- is your part -- blame is wrong -- is part of your inclination to suspect the husband based on the fact he's not come forward to the media?

GRACE: Well, yes. Of course, in the court of law you have the right to remain silent. But this is not a court of law. This could be a life or death situation.

Back to what Mark said the process is called triangulation. I find it very, very interesting all of those hours passed before it dawned on him, she's now been missing hours and hours and I can't find her.

Also, the time line is disturbing to me, Larry, because his words are, he leaves at 9:30 in the morning. By 10:30, she's gone. And to me, it looks as if she disappeared exactly the time he left the home. Is disturbing.

GERAGOS: Unless they left the house together, he was going fishing and she was going to walk the dog, kissed her good bye, and said, Bye, honey. I'll be back.

KING: Why would he leave his own dog running around on a leash, Nancy?

GRACE: I don't know that he would. I find it very disturbing, unless there were pressing matters that made it impossible for him to pursue the dog.

But him not coming forward, not necessarily to get media attention, but to me, by not coming forward, by not taking a polygraph, he is diluting police effort.

KING: All right.

Kim, that family is staunchly behind him, are they not, as they showed earlier tonight here?

PETERSEN: Yes, they are, as they stated earlier on your show, yes. They love him and their marriage everything everybody says was one what everybody would dream of.

KING: Dallas, Texas, hello.

CALLER: Hi, I just wanted to know what happened to the blue tarp. There was a -- if they had a tarp out there at the marina. I want to know if his boat was covered when he went out there with the tarp. I feel like -- I just -- I feel something. Like he -- there's something there. If he covered that boat, if -- I want to know if the boat was covered. When he went out to that marina. KING: Chief, do we know?

WASDEN: I couldn't comment on that but I can tell you that the blue tarp is in our custody, police custody, being examined.

KING: You said earlier they don't ever need -- she may never be found, this is one of the tragedies of this?

GERAGOS: That's absolutely the case. It's unfortunate, but there are cases that just go either unsolved or you don't find a body. You just hope and pray that this is not one of those cases. You hope that she's somewhere and that she's okay and that her health and the baby's health are OK.

KING: Now asked before. Kim, what is your best-case scenario here? She left voluntarily, went somewhere, is going to come back?

PETERSEN: That would be everybody's hope. But all inclinations of Laci's and her patterns were that definitely did not happen. And that's why the police have said that they believe foul play is involved.

Our hope that is somebody is holding her, maybe waiting for the baby to be born and there's still three or four weeks before the baby is due maybe somebody is waiting for the baby to be born and we need to find her as quickly as possible because it's close to her due date.

GERAGOS: That's probably the best...

KING: The baby is the motive?

GERAGOS: Either the baby is the motive or the fixation that the person has is on the baby or the pregnancy itself.


GERAGOS: Somebody under the heat -- the baby's got a name, I didn't know that.

GRACE: Yes, Conner. Yes, they went and picked out the name Conner.

GERAGOS: Then hopefully, hopefully that's what the motivation of whoever is involved in this.

GRACE: Another thing, though, Larry, is everyone naturally assumed someone in the family, the husband, the boyfriend, and that's not unusual. That doesn't make it so.

For instance Marc Klaas was suspected. And when he was suspected in his Polly's disappearance, his daughter, he stepped up to bat, hit a home run, took a polygraph, went public and was ruled out and police could then focus on the real perp.

KING: Marc, you were a suspect? KLAAS: Sure, Larry. In these cases, the police are going to go where the numbers take them. They are going to run parallel investigations and only as the various possibilities eliminate themselves from suspicion will law enforcement be able to focus their attention and move forward with what really happened.

Which again is another reason why one hopes that Scott Peterson is being totally and completely cooperative with law enforcement.

KING: If it's a kidnapping, Chief, you expect a ransom, correct?

WASDEN: Well, some -- some kidnappings result in a ransom, yes, they do. With the reward money that's been posted for Laci's safe return, we would hope if anyone had information and knew where she was alive, they would be willing to come forward and hair share that information. Five hundred thousand dollars is a substantial amount of money.

KING: How do you assign police, Chief, on this? I mean, you have other things to work on all the time, don't they other crimes are being committed?

WASDEN: Well, it's one of those things where we're using up all of the resources, it's a high priority for us to get the case resolved. There are other cases that have to be worked but there's a dedicated core group of investigators and a dedicated group that's involved with the searches and ongoing searches that are continuing even today until we feel that we've covered every logical area. I know that everyone involved is very, very dedicated to getting this resolved.

KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with our panel. More of your phone calls on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.


KING: We're back. Let's take another call. New York City, hello.

I'm sorry, I should hit the button. New York, hello.

CALLER: Yes, Larry, I'd like to know what his profession was and also if she was a working soon to be mother.

KING: Do we know, Nancy? What did he do, Scott? What does he do?

GRACE: He was in sales. He was in sales. They both met at an agricultural college and she had quit her job to be a homemaker and a mother.

K. PETERSEN: She was a substitute teacher.

GRACE: Ah, thank you.

K. PETERSEN: She was doing substitute teaching.

GRACE: I thought she had quit.

K. PETERSEN: She had quit about a month ago. But up until then she had been doing substitute teaching all over the Modesto area.

GRACE: So at the time she disappeared she was not working, is that right?

K. PETERSEN: Correct, she did not work in December, because of her pregnancy was so advanced at that point.

KING: Also, if this guy were involved, any kind -- isn't it weird, Mark, to have -- I was out fishing on Christmas Eve? That's so weird...

GERAGOS: It's one of those things where I say, if the alibi by is so ludicrous or seems so odd, if you will, then a lot of times it's because it's true. It's just because...

GRACE: You said that in Westerfield, too.

GERAGOS: I never said that in Westerfield.

GRACE: You did too.

GERAGOS: It makes for good TV for you to say I did.

GRACE: He drove around for hours and days out in the desert.

GERAGOS: In this situation, you've got at least a receipt. So at least there is some indicia what he said appears subjectively to be the case.

KING: Long Beach, California, hello.

CALLER: Yes. Has anybody considered that maybe Laci disappeared on the 23rd and perhaps it's just an alibi that somebody's -- the husband's -- using for the 24th?

GERAGOS: Well, I don't know if the chief will confirm it, but my understanding is there are people who saw her between those days.

KING: Chief?

WASDEN: The last time Laci was seen was when -- not seen, but she talked to her mother at 8:30 in the evening on the 23rd. Other than Scott's account of leaving the scene or before he left for fishing at 9:30 on the 24th, there is no one independent that has seen Laci. So, the time frame starts on the 23rd at 8:30 in the evening.

KING: What keeps family members going, Marc Klaas?

KLAAS: Oh, hope. Hope keeps them going. You know, this beautiful young lady that everybody adored is out there somewhere and they're bound and determined to keep this case alive. It's going to become more problematic as days go by, particularly if Scott continues to hide behind his family.

I really think it's important for him to come out so that they can move this investigation forward.

KING: You got to admit, Mark, that it wouldn't be a bad idea for him to come forward. In age of public relations -- in an age of public image.

GERAGOS: I understand that. And If I were advising, I probably would be.

At the same time, you talked to his family. The family is 100 percent behind him. I think I defer to those who know him best, including Laci's family, and -- I don't detect even a whisper of suspicion about him.

KING: Kim, has any progress been made since this occurred?

K. PETERSEN: Any progress in which direction are you referring?

KING: In the direction of that you would say a step two we're at step two or step three?

K. PETERSEN: Well, I think the progress that we want is obviously to find her and as the chief said earlier, they have done so many things to eliminate people. But we still haven't located her and we still have volunteers that are coming out. But certainly they're not coming out like they were, because people have gone back to work and we still need that help.

So, while some progress is made, there's still a lot further to go until we bring her home to her family.

KING: The truth is, Nancy, it could be anything, couldn't it?

GRACE: You know what, Larry? That is the truth. And when we talk about statistics they're all true. That's well and good. It does not mean this man had the fortitude to murder not only his wife, but his baby boy.

That's something that I totally reject. But if the evidence takes us there, we've got to be strong enough to look the evidence in the eye.

GERAGOS: Yes, except I'd like to give the guy the benefit of the doubt.

GRACE: I agree.

GERAGOS: If he's innocent and he's got his wife and his 8 1/2-- month-old-old missing, what is he going through? And the idea that we're speculating he's the guilty one, it's ghoulish.

KING: Thank you all very much. I'll repeat the number. Chief Roy Wasden of the Modesto Police, Nancy Grace of "Trial Heat" on Court TV, defense attorney Mark Geragos, Marc Klaas of the Klaas Kids Foundation, and Kim Peterson of the Carol Sun Carington Memorial Foundation and the phone number for tiplines is 209-342-6166. 209- 342-6166.

We'll tell you about tomorrow night right after this.


KING: Tomorrow night, Ed Bradley and Steve Kroft of CBS "60 Minutes" will be our special guests.

We now turn the podium over to the master of 10:00 Eastern and now worldwide, the host of "NEWSNIGHT," the irrepressible, the man among men, my man, Aaron Brown -- Aaron.


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