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Search for Laci Peterson Continues

Aired January 20, 2003 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, disturbing developments in the disappearance of pregnant women Laci Peterson. Still missing, due to give birth in three weeks. Could her husband Scott Peterson be involved. And is there a link between Laci and todays news of a recent break in at their Modesto, California home.
Joining us tonight from San Diego, Janey Peterson, Scott Peterson's sister-in-law. In New York, Court TV's Nancy Grace a former prosecuter. In Cleveland famed defense attorney Mark Geragos, In San Francisco, Mark Klaas daughter Polly was abducted from their home and brutely murdered in '93. And former FBI profiler Candice DeLong. And in Modesto, Kim Petersen, spokeswoman for Laci's family. All next on LARRY KING LIVE.


KING: We'll be taking a lot of calls tonight. Janie Peterson will join us in segment two. Kim Petersen, acting as the spokesperson for Laci's family, what is the latest on their end?

KIM PETERSEN, EXEC DIR., CAROLE SUND CARRINGTON FDN.: Well, Larry, they're still continuing to search for Laci and they won't give up until they've found her. They asked me today to make an appeal on their behalf that they know somebody has taken her. They know Laci didn't walk away on her own.

And they asked me to appeal to those persons or person that has taken her to call in anonymously to the tipline or send an anonymous letter to tell them where she is. They can't keep living this hell they've been living anymore. They've been living it for so many days and they appeal to have a heart, come forward and let them know where she is.

KING: What do they say about the possibility of Scott's involvement?

PETERSEN: They haven't really commented on that and we don't want to talk about that. They just want to focus on finding her. This has been a living hell for them and nearly a month and they want it to end. It has been agonizing for them.

KING: Haven't you asked them about him? I mean, with all these allegations coming forth and things that have occurred and police not eliminating him as a suspect, wouldn't it be natural, him to ask them what they think about him and a possible involvement? PETERSEN: On Friday, they asked me to read a statement on their behalf where they stated in there that about two weeks ago Ron Gransky's, Laci's grandfather, had asked Scott about whether or not he had a girlfriend and he said no. Now that they know that's not the case, they've seen pictures, he ask that he fully cooperate with the police and tell them everything he knows. But they know he's lied to them and they want him to come forth and be cooperative with the police department.

KING: Now, Nancy Grace, how do you approach this as an onlooker. He may have had a girlfriend, that doesn't mean he's a killer. How do you approach it?

NANCY GRACE, COURT TV: Larry, at the beginning, when we were discussing why he refused to take a polygraph, that doesn't mean he's guilty of murder or kidnap, it may mean he has a girlfriend and he may not want to come out in the public, but now it is out in the public. So my question would be, now that we all know about it, what is left to lose? Why are you still holding back and not getting a polygraph.

KING: Mark Geragos, is that not a fair question?

MARK GERAGOS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: If he hasn't given a polygraph, sure it is a fair question. It is only a week since you had both sets of parents on here and they were about as firmly allied in their, I guess, belief that he had nothing to do with it. And now you have the police going to Laci's parents and showing the pictures and obviously there is at least a rift developing in the families.

If there is any chance whatsoever that they're going to continue to have some of these -- the outpouring of volunteer support, I think Scott has to do something because you'll notice that the day after all of this -- these rumors started swirling around about him and the police were confirming the fact they had gone to the family and shown the pictures, volunteer efforts came to an immediate halt. I think Miss Peterson was just saying on your show that people are out there again and looking for her, but obviously it puts a real damper on people's volunteer activities.

KING: Mark Klaas, I know that many husbands when their wives get pregnant take out an insurance policy if there was a death during the birth, and they have the money to help with the raising of the child and the like. Do you count that insurance policy as a factor?

MARC KLAAS, DAUGHTER POLLY ABDUCTED: Well, yes, of course it is a factor. Just as the girlfriend is a factor. And, in fact, one of the reasons -- the reason Scott should have mentioned this to the police right up-front is they could provide possible clues as to the whereabouts of Laci.

If not Scott, perhaps the girlfriend had something to do with it. I mean, she would have had a motive to get Scott himself. So law enforcement can work off of information but they have to have complete information and they have to have full information so they can pursue their investigation with confidence and he hasn't done that. Again, he seems to be looking out for his own self-interests as opposed to the self interests of his poor missing wife.

KING: Candice DeLong is the former FBI profiler. Author of a book "Special Agent: My Life on the Frontlines as a Women in the FBI," and she's going to host "What Should You Do" a new program on the Lifetime Network debuting March 24.

What is the profilers' read on this, Candice?

CANDICE DELONG, FORMER FBI PROFILER: Well, we really can't do a criminal profile until a body is found. I think I know what you're asking and my assessment is the situation with the news that has come forth recently regarding the girlfriend and the life insurance policy. It certainly is pointing in Scott's direction. And his lack of cooperation, full cooperation with the police certainly puts him, I think, right in the bull's-eye. I can understand why a high level police person with the Modesto department the other day said that they are definitely focusing on Scott.

KING: A profiler looks for motive. Does he or she not? Does she not look for motive?

DELONG: Yes. Motive is important. It is also certainly down the road for prosecution or trial. It is juries like to have a motive, too. Since the revelations of the last week, the girlfriend, that's a motive. The money, that's a motive. One of the things I believe I read was that Mark -- I'm sorry, Scott himself did not have a quarter million dollar life insurance policy which I find curious, because any actuaryian (ph) would tell you the chances of the husband/father dying before the mother/wife are much greater. So, I find that very, very curious.

KING: Are you saying this is beginning to be a story that looks like a duck, acts like a duck it might be a duck?

DELONG: I'm thinking it is a story as old as time.

KING: Yes. But -- is there a danger, Nancy Grace, that we speculate before we have enough knowledge? Speculation is occurring on all the cable networks now. Are we a little bit overstepping the bounds?

GRACE: I think we are looking at the evidence as it is unfolding before us. However, the danger in this is if it turns up to be some totally unknown perpetrator, all this attention focused on Scott Peterson, a, is detracting the police, and b, can be used as a defense at trial. The real perp can say, look, it was really Scott Peterson, not me. And in fact, the police believe that. Even the cable networks believe it.

So, that's a problem. I was going to follow up on what Candice said. Everybody made a big to do about this $250,000 life insurance policy. I think it is even bigger than that. When you're expecting a new child, I would assume the father would take out an insurance policy on himself. At the same time so he can support the child even after death, but that did not happen. He took it out on her. I'm interested did she sign for that policy? KING: And -- but it is also, true, isn't it, Mark, that some fathers take out insurance on the mother in case of the death in childbirth?

GERAGOS: Yes, absolutely. It is absolutely true that fathers will take out insurance policies on the wives, prospective mothers in case something happens to them and they need somebody as an auxiliary caregiver. Obviously, though, if the policy -- if he didn't take a policy out on himself and if he's the primary guy bringing home money for this family unit, that does tend to lead or suggest some kind of suspicion.

Part of the whole problem, Nancy touched on it, is that if you have a situation where he gives too much credence to himself as a suspect, a defense lawyer is going to run with that if he is in fact not the person who is the suspect ultimately or the defendant ultimately. That's when -- that will be awful.

KING: Let me take a break. We'll take a break and talk with Janie Peterson. She has limited time with us. She's Scott Peterson's sister-in-law. The panel will remain with us and we'll take phone calls, don't go away.


SCOTT PETERSON, LACI PETERSON'S HUSBAND: If you go Modesto, every store, every corner there are posters everywhere. We have been working on that for 26 days. We simply have to expand the geographical area. We'll do it here. We'll do it in San Diego next weekend and we'll expand until we find her.




S. PETERSON: To some degree, we're getting through. It seems the time is shortening. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) she is safe and she is back. What else is there to say? I mean, we hope that she's not going through anything terrible.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How are you holding on to hope and optimism?

S. PETERSON: It is the only thing we have.


KING: That was Scott Peterson. Janey Peterson, his sister-in- law, joins us now. Janey, are you married to his brother?


KING: And today I understand volunteer efforts are going on in Los Angeles and next weekend in San Diego. Why L.A. and San Diego? J. PETERSON: Yesterday, the volunteer -- one-day volunteer effort in Los Angeles was based primarily on the fact that the hotel had been offered to us by the -- it's owned by the same people that own the Red Lion in Modesto, and Los Angeles is a big community. We have saturated the Modesto area and, you know, it has been four weeks and Laci could be anywhere. So we wanted to take that opportunity to get her picture out there and just ask for the prayers and support of the Los Angeles community.

KING: And then next weekend you go down to San Diego?

J. PETERSON: There is something in the planning, nothing firm yet, but potentially, yes.

KING: How is Scott holding up?

J. PETERSON: You know, this is just a difficult situation. I don't even know that there is words to describe it. I think the stress that all of us are under is -- I don't think any of us realize where we're at. That's just -- that's a difficult question to answer.

KING: Do you have any doubts about your brother-in-law?

J. PETERSON: Absolutely not. And Scott is a part of our family. We have absolutely no reason to doubt him. We know he had nothing to do with Laci's disappearance. And we're going to remain focused on helping him bring her home.

KING: Do you know why he wasn't more forthcoming apparently with the police about the girlfriend or the life insurance or whatever? Why he didn't offer these things or offer to take a polygraph?

J. PETERSON: You know, I don't even know the circumstances regarding any of those situations and whether what's out there is even the truth. You know, the only truth that we know as a family is that Laci's gone. And that's what we need to focus on. And that's where we've put all of our efforts in getting her picture out there and letting people know about the Web site, asking for people's prayers just for her safe return and for her protection. And, you know, just at this point with her due date coming up, anything -- anything out of the ordinary having to do with a baby being born.

KING: What do you make of Laci's home being broken into in the past few days?

J. PETERSON: You know, every day you just sit there and think this can't get any more unreal. And it's just -- it's just one more thing that is just, you know, makes this whole thing unbelievable.

KING: Police report nothing taken. Do you have any thoughts on what that could have been? I mean, your best hope is the kidnapper has her somewhere and was going to get something for her, right?

J. PETERSON: I think there were a few small things taken, but it's so hard. You can't help but think maybe potentially it had something to do with it, but it certainly -- it would be hard to believe that they would come back. But you just don't know. We don't know. We have no idea.

KING: How is your brother -- how is your husband doing?

J. PETERSON: I don't know that I know how to answer that. I think each and every day we just get on our knees and pray for the Lord to sustain us in this, and he has. And he's surrounded us with a lot of family and a lot of friends that are -- and wonderful communities both in Modesto and in San Diego that have come behind and surrounded our families with. I mean, people bringing us dinner and providing food and taking care of our kids and just meeting needs for us in so many ways while we do what we need to do every day.

KING: Janey, thanks so much and we hope all of this has a happy ending all the way around.

J. PETERSON: Thank you, Larry.

KING: Janey Peterson, Scott Peterson's sister-in-law.

Nancy, what do you make of that break-in?

GRACE: Well, I find it very odd and I also think that in criminal law or in this type of situation there is no circumstance -- I find it highly circumstantial, highly coincidental that around all of this kidnap and possible murder in the same location there is a burglary where nothing of significance is taken, and also we have seen the same fact pattern. Scott claims he's been away, he comes back, he finds out, hey, a crime has taken place. Same thing again.

And I know the family is in tumult right now, Larry, but I would have to turn to my relative and say, hey, what's all this about a girlfriend and a life insurance policy? What happened? Are they afraid to ask him? You know, that's not easy going down, Larry, but it's the truth. Why don't they ask him?

KING: Marc Klaas, do you wonder about that, why they aren't a little more concerned to turn the tables a little?

KLAAS: Well, perhaps they're afraid of the answers they may get. You know, one of the things about this break-in, though, Larry, one of the things that I always counsel people on and one of the things we were very careful about was making sure that there was always somebody at my home that knew Polly in case, A, she were to call the home, she would want to speak to somebody that knew her or, B, if she were to show up, she would want somebody there that knew her so that they could then get her into some kind of a reunification program.

And it just seems to me that, again, this is just another very odd situation here that this home has been abandoned for days and if not weeks at a time while Scott goes off and does these bizarre other acts like handing out posters in Los Angeles or even staying at the -- at the Red Lion hotel up in Modesto, as I understand he did for several days.

KING: Kim Petersen, what do you make of this break-in? And what do you read? I mean, it gets curiouser and curiouser, doesn't it? PETERSEN: It was unusual, for sure, but also the entire nation unfortunately knew that Scott was out of town because he did several interviews over the phone on his way driving to Los Angeles, so that was broadcast in front of the nation advertising that he was not at home. So, you know, I think that set him up possibly for everybody being aware that his house was empty, and I don't know, he probably didn't think about having somebody at home.

KING: Shouldn't someone be in the house?

PETERSEN: I think Marc had a very good point. I think Marc Klaas had a very good point in that he made sure somebody was home just in case Polly was brought home at any time. And I don't know the circumstances. I haven't spoken to Scott in the last couple of days to know what went into his mind when he drove down to L.A. I know he was focused on that effort.

KING: Candice, what is the FBI doing on this case now? Your memories of the bureau and profiling, what are they doing?

DELONG: Well, I don't know that the FBI has been invited into this case. They -- the FBI does lend assistance to state and local police jurisdictions in any time they ask for it, for either profiling services or extended investigative services, would certainly be there to help out for any reason.

One of the things that concerns me, however, is this whole Los Angeles thing, moving down there. I don't understand it. It baffles me. I understand he has family there. That's great. But I'm wondering -- he says he wants to extend the search. The nearest big city to Modesto is right here in San Francisco, yet he didn't come here. He went south, and now he's talking about next weekend, San Diego. As a former investigator, I'm a little concerned that possibility here that he might be making a run for the border. San Diego is only 10 miles north of Mexico.

KING: All right. We'll take a break and come back with more. We'll go to your calls in awhile too. This is LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.


KING: By the way, Michael Nader, formerly of ABC, was scheduled to be on the program tonight. He's the actor who had that drug problem and was fired from ABC and appeared in "All My Children" and in "Dynasty". He's suing ABC. He and his attorney will be our guest tomorrow night.

Nancy Grace, does it hit a point where you run into a roadblock here? You don't have enough evidence to indict anyone and you don't have a person and you just stop. Is that true?

GRACE: Yes, that can happen here, especially when you don't have a body. But, as you know, cases without a body can be prosecuted.

But Larry, even if Scott Peterson comes forward now, I don't know if police can trust him as far as they can throw him. You know, his own family still can't say, yes, no, he had a girlfriend. And reports are floating around out there that when the posters were first put up on television, that a woman called police and went, Why you to keep putting my boyfriend up on the screen with Laci Peterson? He's divorced.

OK, so if that's true, Larry this guy can convince anybody of anything. Just think about it. If that's true, she is at home getting ready to give birth to their first child, Conner (ph) in February, and he's out having an affair and lying about where he is. I don't think police can believe anything he says unless he's strapped up to a polygraph.

KING: Mark Geragos is Nancy making too much of a presumption here or is she in line?

GERAGOS: Larry, I understand that everybody's getting -- it's titillating in that there are suspicious circumstances.

But this idea, on the previous segment, where you're talking about he's slowly moving towards the border or this idea that somehow he had something to do with the burglary at the house -- I think is just as likely that the burglary in the house had something to do with some of the tabloid reporters as anything else. That's more likely to me than anything else than, some, you know, National this or Globe that reporter was inside casing that house.

And as far as what he's supposed to do or what he's not supposed to do, I don't know that there is any kind of a playbook that somebody in this situation is supposed to pick up, read and then act appropriately. I think that when you talk with his sister-in-law and when she says that everybody is sitting there and they're in shock and they don't know how to handle this and they're getting kind of the sensory overload, my feeling is let's just take a deep breath for a little while and see what we come up with.

Police are apparently doing an investigation. I don't get any sense whatsoever that they've abandoned the investigation. And let's see how it unfolds.

KING: Mark Klaas, what do you do if you're a husband and you have a girlfriend and you took out insurance on your wife but you didn't harm her?

KLAAS: What do you do?

KING: You're in a rock and a hard place, aren't you? What do you do?

KLAAS: Well, you know, I'll tell you one thing he could do, Larry, is he could look right in the camera. I have yet to see Scott's eyes during all of the vague little interviews he's done.

You know, the stories out there, they know about it in Johannesburg and Paris and in Shanghai and in Buenos Aires because CNN reaches all those places. So to suggest that they had to go to L.A. and hand out flyers to make people aware of Laci's situation is really rather disingenuous. He gets more attention for her case with 10 seconds on CNN than he'll be able to get by hanging flyers on telephone poles in 100 years. And the impression he's making with the public right now is one of a shifty guy who is trying to hide something.

So my advice to Scott is to come clean to some level so that this impression stops getting thrown out to the public.

KING: Kim, has the family asked him to come forward?

PETERSEN: Yes, and in a statement they had me read on Friday they asked him to come forward and fully cooperate with the police. When they saw these photos of Scott and the girlfriend, they knew that he had been untruthful with them about that and so they were concerned that there may be other things he had not been truthful about. So they asked him to please fully cooperate with the police, tell them everything they know.

As Marc Klaas said earlier, when you have every piece -- when the police have all the information, then they have a better chance of solving this case. But when they only have bit and pieces, it's very difficult to do that. And that's all her family is asking him to do.

And, you know, her family and Scott's family became very close during this nightmare and have been through a great ordeal together. And they support his family and they know that they're having a difficult time as well. But they do ask that he would fully cooperate with Modesto Police Department.

KING: Candice DeLong, is it considered suspicious that he doesn't go on the media and sit down for an interview?

DELONG: Well, he initially did a spot with "Good Morning America" shortly after she disappeared. And it was one of the things that made my suspicions go up a little bit, was that he seemed to be talking about Laci and the baby in past tense.

Then, he stopped doing any media at all, citing the reason he didn't want to take any -- anything away from Laci, which didn't make sense because that would imply that when her family was on camera that that was somehow taking away. It didn't make a lot of sense and now he -- since the information came out Friday about the affair and the life insurance policy, now he is in front of the camera down in L.A. So, it's actually one of the stranger cases I've seen in 22 years.

KING: We'll take a break and get the reaction of the public. We'll go to your phone calls right after this.


KING: We're back. Let's reintroduce the panel. In New York, Nancy Grace, the anchor for "Trial Heat" on Court TV, former prosecutor. We're going to interview Nancy on Thursday night on this program. It's an hour you'll definitely want to see. What's Nancy Grace really like? Thursday night. In Cleveland there's Mark Geragos, the famed defense attorney, based in Southern California. In Cleveland on a case.

In San Francisco's Marc Klaas, his daughter Polly abducted from her home, murdered in 1993. A parole felon was convicted of her death and sentenced to be executed. He is founder Klaas Kids Foundation. An advocate for child protection and crime victims' rights.

Also in San Francisco is Candice DeLong, the former FBI profiler, author of "Special Agent: My Life On The Front Lines As A Woman In The FBI". She's going to host "What Should You Do?" on Lifetime Network, debuting March 24.

And in Modesto itself is Kim Petersen who's been acting as the spokesperson for Laci's family. She's executive director of the Carole Sund/Carrington to memorial foundation. Carole Sund, her daughter and a friend were brutally murdered, you remember, in the Yosmite Park area in February of 1999.

Let's gone calls. Plesanton (ph), California, hello.

CALLER: Yes, good evening my question is for Kim. I was wondering if the family is still speaking to Scott.

KING: Kim?

PETERSEN; They have been in contact with him on occasion in the last few days. Yes.

KING: What was it like? Was it angry? Was it questioning? What was the contact like?

PETERSEN: I'd rather not discuss their personal conversations.

KING: But they still could talk to Scott's family too, right?

PETERSEN: Yes, they have been in regular contact with Scott's family.

KING: The families are still friendly, right?

PETERSEN: Yes, they are. As I said earlier they became very close during this and they still support them and want -- they both want to find Laci. And the Petersons, Jackie and Lee, became very close to Ron and Sharon during this time. And they went through a lot together and they have been through a lot. Continue to do so.

KING: Buffalo, New York, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. Love your show.

KING: Thank you.

CALLER: I'd like to ask do the police know who Scott's alleged girlfriend is and if so have they questioned her yet?

KING: Candice DeLong, do you know? Or Nancy? Candice first.

DELONG: Only from reports I've read that she called when she saw Scott on TV and said she was his girlfriend. So I believe they probably do know who she is and have talked with her. But I can't absolutely say that.

KING: Nancy, you want to add to that?

GRACE: Yes, I'm sure the police do know who she is because there is no dispute. They showed the family photos which were reportedly taken about a week or so before Laci went missing of Scott and the girlfriend posed together. So they've got the photo, they know who this woman is.

KING: Stockton, California, hello.

CALLER: Good evening, Larry. Incredible panel and please address my question to whomever you see fit.


CALLER: The case reminds me very much of the Jeffrey McDonald, for obvious striking similarities. And my question is Mr. McDonald was finally convict convicted on nothing but circumstantial evidence. Just how much circumstantial evidence is enough?

KING: Although in the McDonald case there was a body and two girls killed, his wife and two children. It certainly was a puzzling case. We had McDonald on this program a couple of years ago.

All right, Candice, what do they need to make an arrest when you never find a body?

DELONG: Well, a mountain of circumstantial evidence would help. However, if you recall during the Danielle van Dam case, David Westerfield was arrested prior to her body being found. But they had something very good. They had forensic. They had her blood on his shirt and her hair in his motor home. So that was quite a bit to go on.

KING: What you have now there would be no case.

DELONG: I'm not an attorney but I would be shocked if a prosecutor moved on what we have got so far.

KING: Nancy, would you agree?

GRACE: Right, I agree. Right now I don't think there is enough to go to a grand jury or a jury.

But something interesting, we know forensic evidence was taken out of the home, the car, the boat. We don't know what it is. But I do know this. I know that it was sent to the serology unit of the Department of Justice crime lab. And as Mark can tell you that means bodily fluid that's got to be saliva, semen or blood. That will be a big indicator if that helps the state that could be the evidence they need to go forward.

KING: Is that right, Mark Geragos?

GERAGOS: Yes, they're waiting for the results depending on which tests they decided to run. It takes anywhere from four to six weeks. Sometimes they can expedite that, do it as short as three weeks. And if they get results that tend to indicate or support the idea that there is some blood there, for instance, and it's her blood or his blood as well and they've got -- are able to put together some other evidence that tends to suggest maybe admissions by him to the girlfriend or something like that, that's the kind of case they would start building.

But they're not even in the ballpark, at least bit evidence that has been leaked so far, of getting to the point where they would file a criminal complaint in California.

KING: Temple, Georgia, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry.


CALLER: I'd like to ask are investigators looking into other women who have miscarried recently or within last couple of years? A child die (ph) that could possibly have taken her just for the baby?

KING: Would they do something like that, to your knowledge? Candice, do you know anything like that? Would they look at possible suspects in that area?

DELONG: Actually, yes. Actually, yes. There have been crimes of that nature. There was one actually not too far away from Modesto, ten to 15 years ago. It is rare that a pregnant woman would be murdered for the purpose of taking her baby. It has happened.

However, in cases like that, usually the individual, the perpetrator is deranged for lack of a better word. And the crime scene is very sloppy. The victim is usually killed right in her own home and the -- there is so much evidence left at the crime scene that it points directly to the person that took the child.

So I personally did consider that and I'm sure the police have considered that, too. But there is no indication that's what happened.

KING: New York City, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. This is a question for anybody on the panel. I was wondering since the timeline is so important why there isn't more of a focus on the possibility that she was taken the night before. Since Scott Peterson is the only one who claims to have seen her that morning and I had read some coverage that she always opened the drapes in the morning and the drapes were closed, why are we just assuming she was taken that day? She could have been long gone by the morning? Isn't that possible? KING: Nancy?

GRACE: It's absolutely possible and I agree with the caller. Now Mark Geragos and I got into an argument about this last week. He says the drape evidence means nothing. But all of you viewers, and, Larry, don't you have a routine every morning? Don't you do the same thing every morning?

For instance, hit the coffee button, go get the newspaper from in front of the door. You have your own schedule and so did Laci. And it's not just neighbors that said that her, her family members said it as well. First thing she did every morning, open up the drapes, let the sun in. Not so. The day of the 24th it never happened.

GERAGOS: Nancy, last week when we had that argument you'll remember the -- her step-father said that he doesn't know anything about her opening the drapes and that the -- if somebody was paying that much attention, he wanted to know where she was because that person obviously would have noticed if she left the house that morning. I don't know where you get that from. The stepfather said he doesn't know anything about that.

Because it has been reported on all the wires and not only did it...

GRACE: Because it has been reported on all the wires. And not only did the neighbors...


KING: Hold on, guys. Let me get a break. We'll get a break. Back with more phone calls. Don't go away.


KING: Kim Petersen, a caller called in and wanted to foe in there is a possibility here at all of suicide?

PETERSEN: Not any indication from anyone in the family. Laci was very happy, extremely excited about the baby and, you know, the holidays and everything. So there is no indication whatsoever of suicide.

KING: So also if there were trouble at home, the family members would have known about it.

PETERSEN: They believe that they would have and Laci -- there was no indication from Laci or any indication that any family member saw.

KING: Reno, Nevada, hello.

CALLER: Good evening, Mr. King. My question is two part. First, I'm curious, were there any neighbors that could actually substantiate Miss Peterson taking a walk that morning with her dog when she was apparently reported missing or could the dog have possibly been a plant or a ploy so to speak, left in the front yard with just the initiation of this development of the missing wife?

KING: Kim?

PETERSEN: There was no one that has seen Laci. When the police chief was on last week he told you their time frame they're basing it on is from 8:30 Monday night when Laci last spoke with her mother other than Scott's comments that he saw her before he left for -- at 9:30 to go fishing. But nobody ever saw Laci walking the dog, no.

KING: Mark Geragos, it is hard, assuming the worst here it hard to get rid of a body, isn't it?

GERAGOS: Yes, it is not an easy thing to do and it is hard to get a body out of a house in a residential neighborhood and take it somewhere. Obviously, Nancy, would probably suggest that it was done under cover of night and that the dog was there and that that was a cover-up or this, that or the other thing. The fact of the matter is I'd like to see something other than speculation and kind of a bad episode of a "The Practice" before I publicly lynch this guy.

GRACE: Well, I agree with that, too. I also think that more focus on Scott Peterson, if misdirected, is diluting the police focus on the real perpetrator. And once again that leads me to call for him to come forward and give his polygraph. But back to the timeline, the caller was absolutely correct. Nobody knows anything of Laci after 8:30 p.m. when her family spoke to her on the phone.

GERAGOS: Well, that we know of so far. For all we know there is somebody who saw it. And this person hasn't come forward and police aren't releasing it.

KING: Susan Maria, Ontario, hello.

CALLER: Good evening, Larry. I have a question for, Kim, regarding the pictures. It seems to me that everyone is drawing conclusions from pictures that we -- none of us have seen. Is there anything in the pictures to indicate other than a man and a woman together that there is an affair going on? Also, was the family aware of this woman's existence?

PETERSEN: I can't comment on the details of the pictures. I can tell you that after the family was shown the pictures by the police department, there is no doubt in their mind that he had a girlfriend. No, they certainly were not aware of her -- him being involved with anyone up until these pictures were shown to them last week.

KING: So therefore are they romantic kind of pictures?

PETERSEN: I can't -- I understand that. And the police have confirmed that, yes, Scott did have a girlfriend.

KING: Louisville, Kentucky, hello.

CALLER: Hi. Have only heard through the news a partial outline of Scott Peterson's day on Christmas Eve. Was wondering how that has been outlined in terms of him taking off at 9:30, driving, launching his boat, making any purchases and fishing for a while. And then in addition driving back home and then reporting his wife missing after whatever time it was that he designated that he got back home. Have not heard anything outlined. Only the beginning hours has anything been...

KING: Let's run down the panel. Nancy, you have a time outline here?

GRACE: Yes, the only other thing added publicly to that that we know for sure is that he had one of those little self-service punch-in receipts around 11:00 a.m. at the Berkeley Marina. There is no evidence he stopped for gas, bought bait, caught anything, spoke to anyone. That area is full of houseboats where people live there at the marina. No one sighted him. Nothing. He didn't even stop to get a soft drink, get a pack of peanuts on the way home, nothing.

KING: Can we assume, Mark Klaas, that the police have fully questioned him?

KLAAS: Well, the police are doing everything they can to corroborate his story. That's what this whole thing is about. You know, Larry, the reality is that Laci is out there some place and a well run volunteer effort out of Modesto, not out of L.A. or San Diego, but out of Modesto can help to locate her. Just as volunteers found Danielle van Dam and volunteers came very close to finding my own daughter, Polly. I wish they would get back to the basics on this and get these people out there, because people have a particular mind set of wonderful searchers. They want to go out, do something, take the burden off law enforcement shoulders and they can be magnificent at it.

KING: We'll take a break and come back with our remaining moments. Get in a few phone calls as well.

By the way, on the weekend, Martin Scorsese just won a Golden Globe, Catherine Zeta Jones, was brilliant in "Chicago" and Kathy Bates all with us on Saturday night. Don't go away.


KING: We're back. Vermillion, South Dakota, hello.

CALLER: Larry, early reports indicated that the dog had mud on it. Has that mud been analyzed from where it came from, neighborhood mud or from a local landfill or a lake nearby?

KING: Candice, do we know?

DELONG: I don't know if that has happened. However, Nancy said something earlier that I'm not so sure about. The time stamp at the dock, I believe was 11:59 a.m. And it's notable because he said he left his house at 9:30 a.m. It's a 98-minute trip. That leaves 50 plus minutes unaccounted for for that morning if it is 11:59.

GRACE: And what's interesting also about that, Larry, the timeline is the guy leaves at 9:30 in the morning, he doesn't get back until around 6:00 p.m., and there is no evidence he stopped and ate anything all day. So what was his mission? I mean, what was he doing out there? No McDonald's, no nothing the whole day.

KING: Kim Petersen, does the family think the dog is somehow part of the story?

PETERSEN: They certainly have said that they wish they could talk to McKenzie because McKenzie probably knows what happened, and unfortunately there isn't a way to do that. But I know that the dog being out and the leash having mud on it was something that they were told as well.

KING: Tucson, Arizona, hello.

CALLER: Hello. I love your show.

KING: Thank you.

CALLER: I'm sure the nation is praying for Laci.

KING: Sure.

CALLER: My question is what was her conversation with the mother before she disappeared? When I first saw this showed, I knew right away this gentleman was involved somehow. I think they just -- and another question was, have they looked in his house in the backyard?

KING: OK, Kim? What do you know about any conversation?

PETERSEN: The conversation that Sharon and Laci had Monday night was mainly talking about Christmas Eve plans. They were going over -- Scott and Laci were going over to Sharon and Ron's house that night, and -- for Christmas Eve dinner and they were talking about those plans. And that was about it.

KING: Mark Geragos, the caller implies digging in the backyard. Do they -- can they go in and dig up the backyard if they have enough suspicion to do so?

GERAGOS: Sure. I mean, that's not going to be a major issue. I mean, if they have got the suspicion, there is nothing inhibiting them from doing that.

KING: Sacramento, California, hello.

CALLER: Yes. Has there been any indication that the police may be close to making an arrest? It seems as though their response to many media questions is, oh, we can't comment on this at this time, very similar to how your Modesto family spokesperson has responded tonight to questions this evening.

KING: Kim? You hear anything? All right, go ahead, who wants to go?

GERAGOS: I was just going to say the -- in a case like this where you haven't recovered a body yet, and Candice, I think, has indicated before, you always want -- a prosecutor is always going to want a lot of circumstantial evidence. I would not believe that they're close to an arrest unless they know something that they haven't released publicly. In fact, I would think that all indications are the opposite, is that they're not very close to an arrest and that's why there is such a focus on trying to determine where the body is, where she is and where the baby is.

KING: Calgary, Alberta, Canada, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. I was just wondering if the family has exercised the option of a psychic to help locate where Laci could be.

KING: Kim?

PETERSEN: I know that they have been contacted by multiple psychics, dozens and dozens of them, as have the police department, as has my office, the volunteer center. I mean, we have received, I would say, probably 50 or 60 at least psychics that have contacted the police department, et cetera, and those have all been passed on to them. It's their choice what they're doing with them. But the family has not solicited the help of a psychic.

KING: We have a minute and a half left. Nancy Grace, any reason for optimism?

GRACE: Well, only the fact that the body has not been found, so we don't have conclusive proof that Laci has, in fact, passed away. We speculated a lot tonight, Larry, but one thing I do know in random killings, the body turns up in 72 hours, which leads me to think this was not random.

KING: Mark Geragos, any reason to be optimistic?

GERAGOS: I've said it when -- I guess we moved from missing children to missing wives, but in both cases as long as they haven't discovered a body, there is always a hope for optimism, and that's why there is all these volunteers out there and that's why there is so much, I guess, kind of enthusiasm, if you will, amongst the family, and that's why their prayers are there, so yes, the answer to that is unequivocally.

KING: Marc Klaas, quickly, yes or no, is there reason for optimism?

KLAAS: Of course there is always reason for optimism until it's proven otherwise. It just is again another example of showing that very horrible things can happen to very good people.

KING: We're out of time. Let me mention the family Web site about this case on the Internet. It's www.lacipeterson -- one word -- The police hotline number for tips on the case is 209-342-6166, 209-342-6166. Laci Peterson's due date is February 10.

We thank the panel. I'll be back in a minute to tell you about tomorrow night. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: By the way, I had a great time Friday night with five first ladies and two former presidents, Ford and Bush. A great time in Palm Springs, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Betty Ford Center.

Michael Nader tomorrow night, the actor who was on "All My Children" and "Dynasty," who is suing ABC over being fired.

Aaron Brown is next on this Martin Luther King day, and what a special show he has tonight. Aaron, I know you're ready to go.


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