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Search For Laci Peterson Hits One-Month Mark

Aired January 24, 2003 - 21:00   ET


BRENT ROCHA, LACI PETERSON'S BROTHER: Since Scott is no longer communicating with anyone in Laci's family, and because we have so many questions that he has not answered, I am no longer supporting him.


NANCY GRACE, HOST: Tonight: the search for Laci Peterson hits the one-month mark, and her husband's affair with another woman is confirmed. As Laci's family embrace their silence in heart-wrenching press conference, Laci's due date is approaching. Tension mounting in her home town of Modesto, California.

With us tonight, high profile defense attorney Mark Geragos. In Boston, former prosecutor Wendy Murphy. In New York, forensic psychiatrist Dr. Michael Welner. And Marc Klaas, whose daughter Polly was abducted from her home and murdered in '93.

And in Modesto, with the latest on the search for Laci, reporter Ted Rowlands for KTVU-TV. It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Hello everyone. I'm Nancy Grace from "Court TV" in for Larry King tonight. As you know, across the country we are waiting for a press conference scheduled for this hour. We'll take you there live as soon as that conference begins. Right now, let's go straight to Modesto and KTVU-TV reporter Ted Rowlands. Ted, we are waiting for a police press conference. What do you expect?

TED ROWLANDS, KTVU-TV: Well, we've been told that the Modesto Police Department is going to come down and read a very short statement. They will not answer any questions. We did find out a little bit ago that they "have figured out one of the pieces of this puzzle," but have not solved the entire puzzle. They're going to share with us that piece in about a half an hour.

We have learned that most likely what is going to be divulged is the identity of Scott Peterson's girlfriend. Reportedly that information was about to be made public, and the Modesto Police Department wanted to address that situation before it went public.

GRACE: Ted Rowlands, what is the latest on the investigation? Tonight marks the one-month date for the search for Laci. ROWLANDS: Well, according to the Modesto Police Department, they are on track in a methodical investigation. They haven't been sharing much with the press openly by choice, which leads everybody to believe that they really have a specific direction in this case. And they are building a case presumably against the only person that we've heard as a possible suspect, and that is Scott Peterson, who has yet to be cleared.

Of course, on the other side, today was a very emotional day. The Rocha family spoke for the first time in over a week since they found out that Scott Peterson had been have an affair. They said in that press conference that they've lost contact with him, and as we heard at the beginning, they have not -- they have stopped supporting Scott Peterson.

GRACE: Marc Klaas, let me go to you. In this particular investigation Scott Peterson stood by and allowed Laci's family to go on national airwaves and defend him against allegations of affairs and wrongdoing. What do you think of that at this point? Marc, I think you're not with me.

Let me go back to you, Ted Rowlands. Back to the family on that same vein. The family made it very clear in their press conference that they are no longer supporting Scott. That they want him to, as they say, fully cooperate with the police. What do they want him to do? What has he failed to do the police have asked him?

ROWLANDS: Well they didn't take any questions at the press conference. And this has been a bit of a gray area. What do they mean by fully cooperate with police?

You talk to Scott Peterson, he says he is doing that, he's fully cooperating. And the family won't go into specifics. Presumably it's that he hasn't agreed to a lie detector test, which is, although not completely confirmed, it's pretty much assumed by anybody who is following this.

Other than that, we're not quite sure where they're going and what they know. The Modesto Police Department came to them a week ago Wednesday, and they told them not only about the girlfriend, but most likely that also he's considered a suspect in this case. He has not been cleared by the Modesto Police Department.

You talk to Scott -- I just talked to him a little bit ago, even since this press conference -- he says that he doesn't know what anybody's talking about and that, indeed, he is cooperating. So it's a real gray area. Presumably it's that lie detector test.

GRACE: Well, Ted Rowlands, I understand you are in very close contact with Scott Peterson. And again, he has not been named a suspect, but he hasn't been cleared either. What is his frame of mind after today's press conference?

ROWLANDS: Well he said he watched it. He is in San Diego tonight. And he said he watched the entire press conference and he said it was emotional for obviously the Rocha family. He said it was emotional for him as well.

And when I asked him what his reaction was to Brent's specifically comments about not supporting him, he said, "Well, Brent's hurting. We're all hurting. We want Laci to come home. And I plan on continuing to search for Laci."

Brent, of course, also in that press conference today, said that communication between the Rocha family and Scott has been halted. Scott says that his phone is wide open and he's more than willing to not only talk to them but answer any questions. And he also reiterated that he did not have anything to do with his wife's disappearance.

GRACE: You know, Ted Rowlands, the investigation took a very bizarre and unusual twist this past week, when Scott Peterson's home was broken into. What's the update on that? I understand that nothing "of significance" was taken from the home.

ROWLANDS: Yes. From the very beginning, the Modesto Police Department characterized the burglary as bizarre in nature. They have identified the person responsible for that. They are not releasing the identity of that person.

They say -- they're not saying whether or not it's a family member. The items that were taken from the home have been returned. And presumably no charges will be released. Most folks figure that it was somebody either in the family or very close to it, that went in to get something.

GRACE: Wow. Let me go to you, Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor. I had thrown this question to Marc Klaas earlier. What do you make of the fact that Peterson allowed her family, Laci's family to go on national television and defend him, to basically vouch for his veracity, his credibility, all the while lying through his teeth about this affair?

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Boy. You know, Nancy, that was low. I mean whatever his guilt status in this case, that was down right cruel. And I think it tells us something about his personality, it tells us something about his conscience or lack of his conscience.

Frankly, I think it's equally rude and irresponsible of him as a human being to let his mother, who's breathing through an oxygen tank because of her emphysema, to go on national television and defend him because he won't step up to the media and speak. He won't let himself be heard. And what does that tell you?

He has a criminal defense attorney, Nancy. He has a criminal defense attorney who should be at the microphone instead of his ailing mother, speaking in behalf of his defense. But you know, he doesn't have that defense attorney up front and center on the media because that might suggest his guilt. He has a criminal defense attorney. He is selfish man who's letting people suffer harm in his interest.

GRACE: Well, Mark Geragos, I know exactly what you're going to make of descriptions like "rude," "selfish." That doesn't hold up in a court of law. But you've got to admit, he is seeking cover behind his family and her family.

MARK GERAGOS, ATTORNEY: Yes, and the response is, is I guess I don't dispute -- I mean, if I had my in-laws up there and they're talking about what a wonderful guy I am, and I've told them I'm not having an affair, and then I've got my mom up there and my mom saying something through her oxygen -- with the oxygen tube strapped around her, and then it comes out that now the police are going to my in- laws' family and they're telling my in-laws that I had an affair and here are the pictures -- presumably they've got pictures that are indisputable -- I don't know what those pictures are, but apparently they've got pictures. All of that makes you want to make this guy I guess guilty of felony stupidity or felony bad taste, felony being a cad. You can -- you know all the epithets that Wendy just threw out there.

But then the question still becomes, what do we have in terms of evidence? Because the police, as you know, Nancy, aren't going to do anything until they come up with some evidence. And I think what they're doing right now, if what this report that's coming out of Modesto is true, is they're going to come out and they're going to name this girl or they're going to put pressure, they're trying to put pressure, on either him or on his lawyer, or on somebody else who knows something to come forward. That's what this gambit is about.

GRACE: Mark Geragos, as a veteran defense attorney, wouldn't you agree that if they are prepared to name the so-called other woman, then they have fully interviewed her at this point and have whatever evidence they can get out of her?

GERAGOS: They've either interviewed her or they can't find her, one or the other. Or she's not talking and this is the way they want to make her talk. But I think the one thing that I will tell you without a doubt is, when is we say he's not a suspect, that's just not true. He is clearly a suspect at this point.

GRACE: Right.

GERAGOS: When the chief went on a week and a half ago with us, Nancy, and said, "I've cleared 200 sex offenders, but I haven't cleared him," and now the chief goes to the family, or at least the detectives go, and they show the pictures, they have got him right smack dab in their sights. He's the chief number one suspect.

GRACE: Everybody, we are taking a break. But I want to remind you, we are waiting to go live to Modesto for a police press conference in this hour. As we go to a quick break, here is what Laci Peterson's brother Brent had to say just this afternoon.


ROCHA: I would like to confirm that on January 16, 2003, by phone, Scott Peterson did admit to me that he was have an affair with a Fresno woman. I confronted him with this allegation after viewing pictures of him with this woman. I would like Scott to know that I trusted him and stood by him in the initial phases of my sister's disappearance. However, Scott has not been forthcoming with information regarding my sister's disappearance . And I'm only left to question what else he may be hiding. Since Scott is no longer communicating with anyone in Laci's family, and because we have so many questions that he has not answered, I am not -- no longer supporting him.



GRACE: Welcome back, everybody. Let me go straight out now to Dr. Michael Welner. He's there in New York. Dr. Welner, what can psychiatry tell us about the mind of a husband that would actually claim the life, take the life of not only his wife, but his child?

DR. MICHAEL WELNER, MD. FORENSIC PSYCHIATRIST: It's called familicide. And notwithstanding the movies and stories that we've read about people who have affairs and kill for lust or love, interviews with people who have killed family, including a spouse, have shown almost exclusively a husband crime. But that it's primarily motivated by failing financial considerations, or morbid jealousy, and that includes questioned parenting of the unborn child.

So in my professional opinion, all bets are off with this case. I think that in the court of public opinion he may look incredibly guilty. But if this was 10 years from now, he could just as easily be somebody that Barry Sheck is springing, having been wrongfully convicted in the court of public opinion.

GRACE: So doctor, you're telling me that one of the major motivations is financial problems? Yes, no?

WELNER: Correct.

GRACE: Let me go to you, Ted Rowlands. Are you with me?


GRACE: Ted, I've read recent reports, as a matter of fact, that the couple had filed bankruptcy just recently and were already deeply in debt? Are those reports true?

ROWLANDS: Well, I have read those reports as well, and we haven't been able to independently confirm those reports. So that's about as much as I can say on it. I, too, have read that, that they're having financial problems and that their business failed. It reportedly was a successful business. But that, quite frankly, came from a source that I wouldn't be comfortable citing. And so I'm not going to touch that one.

GRACE: Ted, I agree. Now the business you're referring to, are you talking about the restaurant that they had earlier together or another business?

ROWLANDS: Yes, they had a restaurant in San Luis Obispo. They met at Cal Poly University there. And from what all indications are, it was a very successful restaurant. They had it for a while.

And then they moved up to Modesto to start a family. That's where Laci was from. And it all seemed to be a wonderful story coming up here. And Scott had a good job, and they were expecting their first son, Connor (ph).

GRACE: Well, let me go back to you, then, Dr. Welner. And that information was obtained from the Laci Peterson Web site that keeps everyone up to date regarding the possibility of a recent bankruptcy and mounting financial problems. So Dr. Welner, by your own theory, he could fit into the profile.

WELNER: Oh, there's no doubt about it. And it's not even so much a profile. It's really just a history of people who have admitted responsibility. That the real important motivator or force behind it is actually financial collapse and not necessarily lust or love.

And if he really is such a playboy, as he's being portrayed, at least quietly, then it's even hard to believe that this person that he's involved with that could have such an intoxicating effect on him, that he would implode his family. So with all of the titillating discussion about this girlfriend, as a forensic psychiatrist, I find it to be a red herring. And I think that the history of their relationship and what was going on in that household, from a standpoint of somebody who has been involved in death investigations, that's going to be more relevant when all is said and done. What's in the household, not what's going on outside of it.

GRACE: Well put, Dr. Welner. Mark Geragos, I want you to buckle your seat belt. Wendy Murphy, I have to agree with Mark Geragoes on the fact that...


GRACE: ... an insurance policy...

MURPHY: Oh, Nancy.

GRACE: Hold on.

GERAGOS: Stop the presses here, Nancy.

GRACE: ... does not equal murder. However, what about the timeline, Wendy Murphy? You've prosecuted plenty of homicides. The fact that she's last seen by Scott Peterson at 9:30 in the morning. By 10:30, it's over.

So timeline in our hip pocket. What about the likelihood that, in one hour, someone comes into a fairly nice neighborhood, kidnaps an eight-month pregnant woman and does away with her? A complete stranger?

MURPHY: Oh, come on. Nancy, what if aliens flew in from a spaceship and did it? I mean, you can speculate about the world of possibilities. But they have to make sense. What makes the most sense, particularly given the drape evidence, which you know about -- I mean, the drapes in her house were shut the morning she went missing. And you know her habit was when she would wake up in the morning she would open up the drapes and let the sun in.

Well that tells you something about this timeline. Because it's certainly very possible that she went missing, not that morning, as her husband would have us believe, but sometime the night before, or at least sometime after she spoke with her mother the night before. And that morning, before she woke up. I mean there's a real open gap in this timeline, Nancy.

GRACE: Wendy, hold that thought. We've got to go to break. Mark Geragos, I'm sure wants to respond to the drape argument. But I'm with you on that timeline. Everybody, we've got to take a break.

Again, we are waiting to take you live to a police press conference there in Modesto. Stay with us.


SHARON ROCHA, LACI PETERSON'S MOTHER: Our one and only focus is to find Laci and to bring her home to us. I love my daughter so much. I miss her every minute of every day.

I miss seeing her. I miss our talks together. I miss listening to the excitement in her voice when she talks to me about her baby.

I miss not being able to share with her the anticipation of her approaching delivery date. I miss listening to her talk about her future with her husband and her baby. I miss sharing our thoughts and our lives together. I miss her smile and her laughter and her sense of humor. And I miss everything about her.



GRACE: Welcome back. It as dark day in Modesto, California, as the search for eight-month pregnant Laci Peterson hits the one-month mark tonight.

Let me go to you, Marc Klaas. You have lived through this all too well with the death and disappearance of our little girl, Polly. What do you have to say about the closing of the volunteer center, Marc? That was an incredible move on behalf of the family, when they discovered coincidentally that day that Scott Peterson had been lying about having that affair.

MARC KLAAS, DAUGHTER POLLY MURDERED: And I don't know if one is connected to the other. But what I do know is that it was a horrible mistake to close that center. The people in Modesto very much want to be able to assist this family. And unless we get volunteers out there actually doing the physical grid searches, using professional supervision, this could take a huge burden off of the shoulders of law enforcement. It could give citizens something to do. And it might very well result in finally finding Laci. Remember, it was volunteers that found Danielle van Dam, it was volunteers that turned the Elizabeth Smart situation into such a huge story. And certainly they had a very impressive track record in our case as well.

GRACE: Point well taken. But, Ted Rowlands, as far as Scott Peterson is concerned, basically every stone has been turned over in the Modesto area, and he is moving the search to San Diego, I believe, and L.A. Why?

ROWLANDS: Well he said that -- well that was his reason. He said, that we've searched Modesto enough, and when the volunteer center closed here he said he was going to take the search on the road. First to Los Angeles, and then he was going to be in San Diego with a volunteer effort this weekend. They postponed that at least a week, saying they didn't want to compete with the Super Bowl. They had some etrouble organizing it.

GRACE: Hold on. Hold on. Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Don't want to compete with the Super Bowl? This is a search for his wife. How is that competition with the Super Bowl?

ROWLANDS: Well I think that goes into what one of the volunteers expressed after the L.A. thing, that it was just a media circus, that it was just a photo opportunity. In fact, the lead volunteer in that case, the guy that organized all of this, says he will have nothing to do with Scott Peterson anymore because of what happened in Los Angeles. He said it was just really a joke.

They walked in there, all the TV cameras were there, showed Scott, he left, and that was it. So he said that it was complete nonsense. He won't be involved in San Diego.

GRACE: OK. Ted Rowlands, let me get this straight. In the L.A. volunteer search, are you telling me Peterson walks in, has his photo taken and leaves? Is that what I just heard?

ROWLANDS: Well this according to the guy that organized it, who is now back here in Modesto. And he is very concerned about the motivation, put it that way, of Scott Peterson for the Los Angeles event. He said that Scott was there for a while, and was answering questions from volunteers and talking. And then he left, and no thank you, no nothing, and that was it.

It was sort of a lifeless, flat thing. And he thought, in his opinion, that it was a photo opportunity.

GRACE: Wow. Wendy Murphy, we've got one minute left before we go to break. What's your response to that?

MURPHY: You know, it's consistent with what some other reports have said about his demeanor at the scene of the search center. I mean, one of the reports, the manager said, "I saw all of her family members here and they were working and they were sobbing and crying. I never saw Scott cry." Some of the pictures of him, he was laughing. And I'm talking about four days after she went missing. He's laughing and sort of jovial about it. And he in fact, Nancy, is reported by the manager to have insisted that he walk in the front door of the hotel that was sponsoring the search center so that the cameras would catch him, even though the manager offered to take him up the back stairs so that he could have privacy in this terrible moment in his life.

He said, no, I want to go where the cameras are. And it's a really absurd way to conduct oneself. I'm not saying there's a right way to be when your wife goes missing, but this just doesn't seem to be on the scale at all.

GRACE: Everybody, we are waiting to take you live to a police press conference there in Modesto. Stay with us.


GRACE: Welcome back, everybody. You are seeing a live shot of the podium there in Modesto as we wait for the Modesto Police to commence their press conference regarding the one-month mark tonight for the search for Laci Peterson. Peterson, eight months pregnant, went missing on Christmas Eve. The last person to see her, her husband.

Dr. Welner, regarding this insurance policy we've heard so much about, to the tune of $250,000, Scott Peterson took it out on his wife Laci, what will death investigators be looking for?

WELNER: I sure hope they ask who the recipient is. Because if there's no child that's the recipient, and that policy was taken out when she was pregnant, then what indeed was he planning for?

GRACE: Well put. Let me go to you, Mark Geragos. I know you're going to say that's circumstantial. But that doesn't bug you?

GERAGOS: No, actually, I want to know who the beneficiary is, number one. And I want to know who the insured is. Because it's entirely possible that he's the insured. It hasn't been established yet that policy was taken out on him, whether it was taken out on Laci, whether it was taken out on both of them with the child as the beneficiary. So you're going to want to know that.

And then also you're going to want to ask yourself, I think, if this guy is responsible, if Scott's the one who's responsible for this kidnapping or, God forbid, a death, then doesn't he expect at some point that somebody's going to want to have to discover where the body is in order for him to collect on this insurance policy?

GRACE: Good point, good point.

GAREGOS: And, yes, I mean, you know, the -- it just doesn't make much sense. Why go hide this body if he thinks it's never going to be found, and so he's never going to be able to collect on the policy? It just doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. And I haven't heard a whole lot about the financial situation that convinces me that that's something that would necessarily be the reason.

And the doctor hits on a point that at least anecdotally is my experience. This guy -- most cads, people who are cads -- are cowards. They aren't the kind of people that you find that are going to commit this kind of what I consider to be one of the most heinous acts that you can think of, is your -- not only your wife, but your unborn 8 1/2-month child.

And that just -- so far, this guy, as I said, may be felony stupid, may have a giant black hole in his character. But I just don't get the impression that he's this kind of sociopath that it would be required to do this kind of an act.

GRACE: Ted Rowlands, what can you tell us about that $250,000 life insurance policy?

ROWLANDS: Well, I talked to Scott about that actually this morning, and he says that when he -- when they were having, you know, planning for the baby, he got a life insurance policy out on himself, and during that process also took one out on his wife, Laci, which is not uncommon. In fact, when my wife and I were having our first child, we went to buy life insurance for me, and the agents convinced me -- For a couple of dollars more, you know, type of thing. And I have one out on my wife too.

GAREGOS: Exactly.

GRACE: So you're telling me, Ted, there are two life insurance policies, one on either parent, correct?

ROWLANDS: That's what Scott told me today when I tried to clarify that with him. That's what he told me. That's all I could tell you.

GRACE: Well, Ted, since you are in touch with Scott Peterson, why isn't he taking a polygraph?

ROWLANDS: Well, he won't talk with me about that. Whenever -- you know, he'll talk with me about certain subjects for a certain amount of time, and then if I pry with him or try to get more information, you know, there's a limit there, and it's a real defined line. And it -- if I try to jump over it, he'll end the conversation fairly abruptly. And he just doesn't want to talk about certain things, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the polygraph is one of them.

GRACE: Well, like what? What is the -- what is it he won't talk about?

ROWLANDS: Well, any really something of substance, I have to get over a period of time, like the life insurance situation. He just doesn't want to talk about it. I think -- I don't know if it's the lawyer that's telling him, Do not talk about the specifics involving this investigation, or what. But he really does have a little voice in his head that cuts him right off, and he'll cut me right off too.

GRACE: What do you make of it, Wendy Murphy? MURPHY: You know, it's interesting. I would like to know the truth about the life insurance policy. Were they both the insured? Or just her? Who was the beneficiary? Really important questions. But the only source of the answer at this point is Scott. And he lied about the affair, he's lied about so many things...

GAREGOS: That's not true, Wendy. That's not true.

MURPHY: I don't -- he lied about the...

GAREGOS: Just go to the, go to the insurance salesman.

MURPHY: ... affair.

GRACE: Go to the insurance salesman. Ask the insurance salesman, was he buying the insurance policy for himself? Did you convince him that he should to have Laci covered as well?

MURPHY: Mark...

GAREGOS: Or did he come to you...

MURPHY: Mark...

GAREGOS: ... and want to buy that insurance policy on Laci alone?

MURPHY: Mark...

GAREGOS: That makes a world of difference...

MURPHY: Mark...

GAREGOS: ... in terms of a motive.

MURPHY: ... I agree with you, I -- that's just what I said.

GAREGOS: Just go to that -- he's not the only...

MURPHY: I said...

GAREGOS: No, you said he's the only source.


GAREGOS: He's not the only source.

MURPHY: No, he's a source at this point. He's the only source at this point...

GAREGOS: Just go...

MURPHY: ... saying that he is -- purchased a policy for himself and for her. And I'm saying, those are important questions, I agree with you.

GAREGOS: Exactly. Just, just go ask.

MURPHY: But I don't believe him, because he's got a pretty solid history of lying in this case...

GAREGOS: Which is...

MURPHY: ... and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in fact...

GAREGOS: ... which is exactly...

MURPHY: ... remarks.

GAREGOS: ... which is exactly why...

GRACE: Well, Mark, Mark, hold on.

GAREGOS: ... go find the insurance salesperson and ask them.

GRACE: Mark...


GRACE: ... Mark, I got a question for you, Mark Garegos. She's talking about his track record. And when you don't know a horse, Mark...

GAREGOS: I know, you look (UNINTELLIGIBLE) track record, I said that.

GRACE: ... you look at his track record. And you know darn well the reports are floating around that once Laci Peterson's photos began to hit the press, along with Scott Peterson, a woman called police and said, That's my boyfriend, why are you showing him with that woman? So if that is true, Mark, I'd say he's got a pretty good track record of deception.

GAREGOS: Of being an adulterer, but that doesn't make him a murderer. He may well be, Nancy. At the end of the day, they may find some evidence, this guy may be the sociopath that everybody's painting him out to be.


GAREGOS: So be it.


GAREGOS: But so far, why don't we get to a point where we've at least got something that makes some sense to tag it on him?

WELNER: I've got to agree with...

GAREGOS: Instead of going into a feeding frenzy.

WELNER: You know, Mark, you're raising an interesting point. In my experience of dealing with defendants, they lie all the time. GAREGOS: Of course they do.

WELNER: And the more the pressure goes up in the public arena, especially with a media high-profile case...

GAREGOS: And they start compounding the lie.

WELNER: ... that contributes to the quality of the questioning and possible forced confessions, the more they are likely to lie...


WELNER: ... because they feel a urgency hanging on every word. So you may not be...

GRACE: Doctor...

WELNER: ... surprised that he may be...

GRACE: Doctor...

WELNER: ... guilty, but that doesn't surprise me.

GRACE: Doctor, I don't think we have to be concerned about a forced confession at this point, since Peterson is basically refusing to cooperate with police, according to Laci's family.

Let me go to you, Marc Klaas. Regarding this whole issue as to deception, OK, just because he's having an affair does not mean that he is a killer. However, what does it mean to you, Marc, that at a time when his wife's life is possibly hanging in the balance, he chooses to lie to save his own skin on the affair issue?

KLAAS: Well, he certainly put his own self-interest ahead of the interest of his missing wife. And, I mean, that's alarming in itself. But it was only a week ago that he made the statement that both the affair and the insurance policy were a pack of lies.

So this guy's got a whole revisionist thing going down here where the current truth is based upon new evidence that's being uncovered, or new theories that are coming out, and it sort of refutes the things he said even days before.

So, I mean, he's got absolutely no credibility at all. You can't believe a word that he's saying, and probably very little of it is true, as far as I can see.

GRACE: Let me go back to you, Ted Rowlands. That may all be true, the inconsistent stories about the life insurance policies, the affairs. But let's get back to the heart of the investigation. We know police have fanned out in their search for her body, God forbid. Or for Laci. Are there any other theories out there, Ted? For instance, the theory that someone kidnapped Laci simply for the child, the unborn child?

ROWLANDS: Well, yes, nothing that's of note and especially now. The Modesto Police Department, you would think, has something concrete that links Scott Peterson to this, because they do have a quiet confidence that a small department wouldn't have if they didn't have something solid.

They would be sharing with the media any possible lead, maybe a car that was seen in the area, a tip from New Jersey. It's been nothing out of northern California, and it really has been nothing except Scott Peterson. In fact, the only flier of a vehicle was Scott Peterson's that they held up, and they wanted information on that.

So you have to think that this department has something concrete, and really, that's the only direction they seem to be going.

GRACE: Well, you know, Ted, I got to agree wit you on that. Pretty quickly, we -- the police had out scuba diverers, water dogs, sonar equipment, and an all points bulletin on his vehicle and his boat. I would agree with you that they are focusing on him.

Wendy Murphy, before we go to break, quickly, I understand that the boat, the home, the vehicle, the business, were all searched. And evidence was taken, according to reports, to the serology unit of the crime lab. What does it mean?

MURPHY: Well, look, you know what serology means, Nancy. They found some body fluid. I mean, that's what you do at serology. You figure out what the fluid and is, and then you type it. Usually you can find either secretive (ph) status or saliva or blood or DNA evidence.

I mean, that's a pretty strong sign that they found something. Now, the problem is, of course, if they find stuff and it simply identifies Laci, and they got it out of her home, that doesn't necessarily make much progress in the case.

On the other hand, if it's blood, and it's in an unusual place, suggesting that there was something violent that happened in the home, that could add up to a great, great deal of evidence and really could make the difference in this case.

GRACE: You're right, Wendy, even finding blood attributed to Laci would all depend on where it was found in the home or the car, the condition it was found, the circumstances around it, before it can actually prove anything. Everybody, we all know by now that Laci Peterson's family, heartbroken today, gave a press conference this afternoon, today being the one-month mark in the search for Laci.


BRENT ROCHA, LACI PETERSON'S BROTHER: Laci, the last month has been the most disturbing, the most (UNINTELLIGIBLE) time of my life. Your disappearance has completely changed my life as I once knew it. I miss your beautiful smile and your fun-loving personality. Every time we were together, I could feel the unconditional love between the both of us.

As your older brother, I only wish that I had the opportunity to be there to defend you from the person that decided to take you away from me.




AMY ROCHA, LACI PETERSON'S SISTER: This past month has been the most painful time I've ever experienced.


GRACE: That was Amy Rocha, the sister of Laci Peterson. She couldn't give her statement today, today being the one-month mark in the search for Laci. But the statement went on to say she trusted Scott Peterson in the beginning and now believes that he has, quote, "lied to our family." She calls on him to give police all information possible to conduct Laci's investigation.

Let me go to you, Dr. Michael Welner. At the very outset, as soon as Laci went missing, Scott Peterson did make an appearance on one of the network morning shows, and he was immediately referring to Laci in the past tense. Discussing how they had worked on Conner (ph) -- that's the unborn baby boy's nursery, but now they'd never get to use it. And I'm paraphrasing, but he definitely spoke of her in the past tense, almost immediately.


WELNER: Well, it's certainly unusual. And I'll tell you what's striking is seeing how the family members show so much emotion, and he has so much composure. It's hard not to be struck by just the disparity in their reactions.

And yes, it may well turn out that he's responsible, because she wasn't involved in anything antisocial, she wasn't involved in drugs, there's no reason for her to have come upon hard times by virtue of her lifestyle. But at the same time, I'm sure that the authorities, if they do make an arrest, they want it to stick and not be something that will one day be overturned, especially in a murder case.

GRACE: Marc Klaas, you went through this nightmare in the search for your little girl, Polly. And in fact were a suspect until you volunteered to take a polygraph and passed with flying colors. What's concerning me right now, that -- are statistics. In a random killing, if that be the case here, a body would have turned up by this point, statistically. This would suggest to me that whoever has taken and/or killed Laci has gone to great lengths to conceal the location of her body.

KLAAS: Well, she's probably above ground, she's probably within 100 yards of some road somewhere. That's inevitably where you're going to find these bodies. And that's why I think it's imperative that you get a volunteer search back out there and just start searching these roadways.

She also could very easily be under a body of water someplace. And that's why they dredged San Francisco Bay as much as they did.

But, you know, I'd like to just step back a little bit and remind people that Scott's own mother has emphysema, and she breathes with the aid of oxygen. And there was a 911 call while she was still in Modesto. She was rushed to an emergency room because of high blood pressure. There have been two more doctor visits since she's been back in San Diego because of high blood pressure.

And all this woman has been doing for last month is going on TV and trying to defend a man who won't go on TV to really defend himself. And I'm very worried that his wife is missing, his own mother's health is in great jeopardy, and he's unwilling to step forth and try to clear the air about himself or anything else. And one wonders how many women have to go down in this guy's life before he's going to step from behind the apron strings and stand up for himself.

GRACE: Well, you know, Mark Garegos, Marc Klaas is making an excellent point. But from a legal defense point of view, I'm sure you would counsel Scott Peterson differently.

GAREGOS: Look, the problem with being Scott Peterson at this point is that Scott Peterson has turned from the initial stages, I guess, what was it, a week and a half ago when we were all here and the families were united, and this was a victim. And he's now become a pariah. And that's taken exactly 10 days for that to happen.

Scott Peterson has got to make certain decisions. And his lawyer is either going to counsel him to do that based on what the lawyer knows, or Scott's going to make the decision to ignore his lawyer's advice.

I mean, the common theme of any criminal defense lawyer, if he believes that Scott is in the target or is a target of the investigation, is to close him down and shut him down. In fact, I don't think most criminal defense lawyers, if they honestly believed that Scott Peterson was the main suspect here, would have allowed Scott to go out to those press conferences or would allow Scott to go and talk to reporters like he has been doing.

So, I mean, there's obviously some tension here between Scott and what his lawyer must be telling him to do, if that lawyer is truly, as Wendy says, a criminal defense lawyer. I'm not familiar with his lawyer, so I can't tell you that.

But I will tell you that there is something peculiar, because you might remember 10 days ago, and this is the thing that struck me, when everybody asked, Why isn't Scott going out? His father said, Because he's too emotional, and said that because he would just -- he would become -- he wasn't able to compose himself.

And, you know, the evidence would seem to suggest otherwise. That bothers me. And I suppose if you're going to have this guy become a pariah, you might as well shut him down completely. Why let him go out there and do kind of a half-baked job, if you will?

GRACE: Right. Let me go to you on that, Wendy Murphy. We saw this happen during the Chandra Levy case, we saw Condit falling under suspicion because of his extended affair, alleged affair, with Chandra Levy. And then when forced by the public to take a polygraph, he had a private polygrapher to ask questions that he and his press people and his lawyer picked out. And then those results were kept secret for a very long time.

MURPHY: And you know what, Nancy? I mean, Mark is right, that he's allowed to do whatever he wants. He can thumb his nose at all of us. He can say, Look, my lawyer's making me do this, I'm not cooperating except I'm going to cooperate a tiny bit, or what have you. And we are allowed to judge him, and the law enforcement folks are allowed to use that against him. His reluctance to fully cooperate and come clean is a fair factor to be considered in terms of the suspicion we all feel about him.

You know, remember Danielle Van Dam's family. They had all sorts of terribly irrelevant and unfair and embarrassing things brought out about them in the trial. It was just horrible to watch them go through that. But you know what they said? And to their credit, they said, We want to capture the person who killed our child. Ask us anything you want. We will tell you our dirty laundry till the cows come home.

And they captured the guy, and that helped solve the crime.

And look at what Scott Peterson is saying. He's saying, I don't want you to know about my affair, I'm not going to take a polygraph, I'm only going to partly cooperate, and I don't want you to feel suspicious about me, because my lawyer's making me do it. Forget about it, we are suspicious, for good reason.

GRACE: Well put.

Everybody, we are taking a break. Again, we are waiting to take you live to Modesto for the police press conference that's about to start. This afternoon, Laci Peterson's mother broke her silence.


SHARON ROCHA, LACI PETERSON'S MOTHER: I miss everything about her. Someone has taken all of this away from me and everyone else who loves her. There are no words that can possibly describe the ache in my heart or the emptiness in my life. I know that someone knows where Laci is, and I'm pleading with you, please, please let her come home to us.



GRACE: welcome back, everybody. I'm Nancy Grace from Court TV, in for Larry King tonight.

The search for Laci Peterson goes on. Just absolutely beautiful young girl, 8 months pregnant at the time of her disappearance. Let me go to you, Ted Rowlands, you're there on the scene in Modesto with KTVU-TV. I understand that today there was a meeting between Scott Peterson, Laci's husband, and his family in San Diego. Is that true? And what was it about?

ROWLANDS: Well, according to a family representative, all of the family, the Peterson family, got together in San Diego this morning for a meeting. This was kind of the third triad, it -- and it was extensive meeting, it went more than three hours. Presumably they were discussing sort of their strategy in dealing with media.

And from that, they said that they had canceled the San Diego event planned for this weekend, and they were going to wait at least a week. And that family members would be partially available to the media starting next week. But they warned that Scott most likely would not be.

GRACE: OK, Mark Garegos, help me out here. The man's wife is gone. The baby, Conner, gone. And they're meeting to discuss media strategy? Explain.

GAREGOS: Well, as you know, Nancy, these kinds of cases, when you have this media swirl around you, and you're being attacked, and this guy has been, as I indicated before, he's probably -- I can think of only a couple of other people who have reached the pariah status that he's reached at this point.

And I don't know that there's any playbook for how you're supposed to act when your wife and baby are missing. I've got a friend of my son's just lost his mother and his older brother about a week and a half ago in a tragic auto accident. And the husband and this little 9-year-old boy are the only survivors. And we saw them within five days of the auto accident, I mean, just a horrific situation.

And I don't -- it's hard for me to know how to talk to somebody in that situation. And I certainly don't think there's a playbook for how somebody's supposed to act in that situation.

It's been a month now. Obviously, when you say discuss media strategy, I mean, that's the appellation that was given to what this meeting was about. Maybe the media -- the meeting was about the family saying, Look, Scott, you've got to do this or you've got to do that, and trying to say, Don't follow the lawyer's advice, you want -- we want you to do this, or we...

Who knows what was going on in that discussion? But the fact of the matter is, is, I don't know that there's any playbook, and that they're -- as we're sitting here, at least until he's either charged or convicted, that he doesn't deserve the benefit of the doubt, because if he is innocent, he is truly the victim here.

GRACE: Well, Marc Klaas, you have been there. You have been in the midst of a media swirl when you were under suspicion, when your little Polly went missing. KLAAS: Well, listen, first of all, let's not call Scott Peterson the victim here. Let's call Laci Peterson and little Conner the victims there. They're the ones that we haven't found.

You know, we had a media strategy. It was very simple. I will talk to any reporter at any time about anything. No more, no less.

GAREGOS: Yes, and I -- Marc, all I said was, if he is innocent, I think you would agree, he is a victim. And that's what worries me, that we get to a point where -- at any point where we've completely demonized this guy, because you know as well as I do, if it turns out that it was somebody else, that somebody else is going to go into court, and they're going to use the Scott Peterson defense.

KLAAS: But we're not doing it to him, we're commenting on his behavior. He's doing it to himself. He's indicting himself in the court of public opinion.

WELNER: Well, we are allowing him -- we're allowing him to eclipse the discussion of Laci. And what he is is someone who's demonstrating, quite obviously, that he's a weak character and perhaps a liar and an adulterer and a scoundrel. But that is still a far cry...

GRACE: Guys...

WELNER: ... from a murderer.

GRACE: Guys...

WELNER: Still...

GRACE: ... we've got to go. I understand the press or the police press are there in Modesto, it's about to start again. Scott Peterson not named as a suspect. A major tragedy would be if all focus on him, while the real perpetrator escapes.

There you see the podium. We are waiting to take you to for that presser, everybody. Aaron Brown will be up next on "NEWSNIGHT" as we continue to wait. Stay with us.


GRACE: Our thanks to all of our guests here on the Larry King show tonight as we continue to wonder, where is Laci?

And right now, to Aaron Brown in New York.


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