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Object in Marina Is Not Missing Woman's Body

Divers find boat anchor on the day that a baby shower was planned for expectant Laci Peterson.

January 12, 2003|From Associated Press

MODESTO — The sister-in-law of a missing Modesto woman said Saturday that the unidentified object found in the Berkeley Marina was a boat anchor, not a human body as feared.

"I have to laugh," Susan Caudillo said as volunteers applauded and cheered. "It's a very common thing to have in a marina. We just knew it wasn't going to be Laci."

Laci Peterson, 27, has been missing since Christmas Eve day. She was eight months pregnant, and her baby shower had been planned for Saturday.

Instead of celebrating, her family and friends gathered to post fliers for the missing woman, and divers searched by hand along the floor of the Berkeley Marina for an unidentified object, which turned out to be an anchor.

Scott Peterson, the woman's husband and the father of the baby she was carrying, said he was fishing at the marina, nearly 100 miles west of Modesto, on the day his wife disappeared.

Authorities mapped out an 18,432-square-foot grid surrounding a submerged object spotted by sonar late Thursday. Volunteer divers headed 25 feet down to methodically scour the floor of San Francisco Bay.

"The dive teams located ... an anchor that was sunk down into the bottom part of the bay," said Modesto Police Sgt. Ron Cloward. "We rechecked with sonar ... to confirm the area was clear of any other objects."

Scott Peterson said he last saw his wife on the morning of Dec. 24.

A neighbor found her dog later that day walking alone through the neighborhood. Laci Peterson's car was still parked in her driveway.

Scott Peterson has not been named as a suspect. Police said they have not ruled anyone out in the woman's disappearance.

Scott Peterson has not spoken with the media. Police have described him as less than cooperative, but volunteers said he comes into the hotel search headquarters early every morning.

Saturday was no different, according to his father, Lee Peterson, who said his son went out with volunteers early in the day.

"We still think she's going to come home," he said.

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