#03) 2002 Dec 23 & 24 Crime
(Note by site owner: Dec 23, 2002 has also been added to this section due to the likelihood that Laci was killed on this night after her 8:30pm phone call with her mother since she was still wearing the same pants her sister Amy saw Laci wearing on this night. Laci’s jewelry had been taken off for bed, so she was in the process of undressing when she was killed. I don’t know if her blouse was removed at bedtime or by Scott or by the bay waters or if it was found at all. Perhaps Laci overheard Scott talking to Amber at bedtime. I am not the author of this extensive report. I have posted it to rescue it from internet oblivion. I also colorized the font of interesting events.)
Laci Peterson Case Information:
When: 2002 December 23 & 24
December 23 Amy Rocha arrives at Salon Salon at about 6:30 a.m. Margarita Nava comes over around 8:30 a.m. to clean Scott and Laci Peterson’s home and, among other things, mops the bathroom with bleach and mops the kitchen floor with Pine-Sol and water, although, according to some sources, Scott Peterson will later say she mopped only half of it. Just before 9:30 a.m., Scott Peterson applies for a private mailbox at Mailboxes, Etc. He pays medical bills related to Laci Peterson’s pregnancy. He comes home briefly around 10:00 a.m. to pick up a FedEx package. Laci Peterson goes to Trader Joe’s to buy groceries and checks out at 10:06 a.m. (according to newspaper reports, 11:35 a.m.), spending $98.19 (according to newspaper reports, $90.90) and buying 24 items. Nava helps Laci Peterson with “four or five” bags (according to some accounts, Laci Peterson carries these herself) when she returns from running errands, and notes that her employer spends most of her time on the couch with her feet up, eating or watching television. According to Nava, Laci Peterson turns on the television about noon. Just after noon, she goes to Sweet Serinity Day Spa for a facial waxing treatment scheduled for 1:00 p.m. She arrives early, probably between 12:30 and 12:45 p.m. Nava leaves Scott and Laci Peterson’s home at exactly at 2:00 p.m. During the early afternoon, Sharon Rocha goes to the movies with a friend, and Scott and Laci Peterson work briefly in their yard (by some more-likely accounts, this happens on December 22, 2002). At 2:35 p.m., they go to a scheduled appointment at her obstetrician’s office, where she is examined by Esther Tow. Tow determines that Conner Peterson’s hearbeat is strong at about 150 beats per minute, and that he is a “viable baby.” Conner Peterson’s gestational age is estimated to be 32 weeks and 6 days. According to some reports—later contradicted by her physician—Laci Peterson has a sonogram. Laci Peterson’s weight is recorded as being 153 pounds. Tow later states that Laci Peterson’s mood is pleasant during the exam. Eric Olsen accepts another position, but does not formally resign from Tradecorp. Amy Rocha drives to Vella Farms Produce Market and Gifts to order a decorative fruit basket for her grandfather, then drives back to Salon Salon. At around 4:45 p.m., Laci Peterson calls Stacey Boyers to wish her a merry Christmas and to tell her that the visit to the obstetrician went well. Boyers later states that Laci Peterson was “happy as ever…ready for Christmas and cheerful.” Laci Peterson and Sharon Rocha exchange messages by phone several times, but do not speak to one another. Scott Peterson goes to Del Rio Country Club to work out, returning at about 5:00 p.m. Scott and Laci Peterson visit Amy Rocha at Salon Salon at about 5:45 p.m., where she cuts his hair and Laci Peterson sits in the chair next to them and talks (by one early account, she has her nails done; according to Chris Johnson, she sits on a black couch). Scott Peterson offers to do a favor for Amy Rocha by picking up the fruit basket between noon and 3:00 p.m. the following day, saying he will be in the vicinity of the store when he is golfing (according to some accounts, he states that he has an early tee time at the Del Rio Country Club; according to other accounts, he has an afternoon tee time with some friends, which is canceled; according to a February 12, 2004, article in the Modesto Bee, the club did not require members to reserve tee times). Laci Peterson calls and orders a pizza from Mountain Mike’s. The visit to Salon Salon is videotaped by the salon’s surveillance camera, but investigators will not recover the tape before it is recorded over. This visit, which by some accounts ends at approximately 7:30 p.m.(according to Laci: Inside the Laci Peterson Murder, between 7:30 and 8:00 p.m.), is the last confirmed time anyone other than Scott Peterson sees Laci Peterson alive. Scott and Laci Peterson invite Amy Rocha over to share the pizza, but she gives her half-sister a hug goodbye and then goes to have dinner with a friend visiting from another state. Scott and Laci Peterson return home and eat pizza. According to The Murder of Laci Peterson, they run “a few more errands,” then come home and do chores before eating dinner. At about 8:30 p.m., Sharon Rocha is on the phone with Sandy Rickard and picks up Laci Peterson’s call using Call Waiting. Laci Peterson discusses plans for the upcoming holiday gatherings—dinner at her mother’s home on Christmas Eve, and brunch at her home on Christmas Day. This conversation is the last confirmed time anyone other than Scott Peterson speaks with Laci Peterson. According to Sharon Rocha, Laci Peterson does not mention any other plans Scott Peterson has for December 24, 2002. This conversation is short, as Sharon Rocha returns to her conversation with Rickard. Laci Peterson says she is very tired. Sharon Rocha asks if she is feeling all right. Laci Peterson replies that she is “just tired.” According to Scott Peterson, he and Laci Peterson watch a little football, a movie (The Rookie) and then go to bed at about 10:30 p.m., with she wearing his blue pajamas. According to The Murder of Laci Peterson, Laci Peterson begins getting ready for bed as soon as she ends the conversation with her mother. According to Amber Frey’s phone records, she and Scott Peterson speak at least once by phone; according to Steve Jacobson’s preliminary hearing testimony, Scott Peterson and Amber Frey speak once by phone (according to some accounts, he calls her from an airport in Sacramento, telling her he is on his way to Kennebunkport, Maine; according to a later conversation between Scott Peterson and Amber Frey, he tells her that he is duck hunting with his father). During this conversation, Scott Peterson again brings up the subject of having a vasectomy. She spends the night at home with Ayiana Frey. Kim McGregor goes to a shopping mall where she has a massage scheduled with Tina Gassetti. McGregor later visits with Matt Laolagi at his home for about 10 minutes as he is watching Monday Night Football. He gives her a card for her daughter’s birthday. McGregor then goes to dinner at La Morenita with Laolagi and his two roommates, Hali Kapea and Gregory Raposo, whom she is meeting for the first time. She returns with Laolagi to his home between 9:00 and 10:00 p.m. According to McGregor’s account, she meets Robert Watrous at Dews and borrows his jacket. Richard Jacobs is seen harassing neighbors of Scott and Laci Peterson. Scott Peterson later tells Amber Frey he spends the morning working, and playing golf and working out in the afternoon.
December 24, 2002
Midnight–6:00 a.m. According to one of the men later identified as a burglar working the La Loma neighborhood, Scott Peterson is “doing something suspicious” around 3:00 a.m. According to Det. Al Brocchini’s preliminary hearing testimony, Scott Peterson is seen driving his truck on Interstate 580 in the direction of the Berkeley Marina at 3:00 a.m. He is pulling his boat, and there is a “bundle” in the boat, wrapped up in a blanket with a Mexican motif. According to a truck driver, a truck and boat matching the description of Scott Peterson’s are seen near the Berkeley Marina at about 3:30 a.m. Susan Medina sees Scott Peterson’s truck in his driveway at about 5:00 a.m. 6:00–9:00 a.m. According to James McGritt, he sees Scott Peterson on the water and dragging something along the side of his boat around 6:30 to 7:00 a.m. McGritt observes from a hill overlooking the Emeryville Peninsula Marina, watching Scott Peterson near the end of the Old Berkeley Pier. According to Nicholas Clinton, his friend Yuri Faria sees two men “who didn’t know how” attempting to put a boat into the water at Berkeley Marina. According to an anonymous woman, she sees Scott Peterson in his truck pulling his boat at the intersection of Miller, Santa Cruz and La Loma avenues between 7:00 and 7:30 a.m. She notices a tarp covering a large object in the boat. She arrives at the intersection just after Scott Peterson does. He appears to be heading south on Santa Cruz Avenue, but refuses to proceed. When the woman does not move, either, he instead turns right quickly onto La Loma Avenue, with the trailer’s right rear tire going over a curb. At an unspecified time, a jogger reports seeing a leashed dog resembling McKenzie, running in a park north of a trail leading to Covena Avenue. Another tipster will later report a dog with leash attached “pacing back and forth and barking like crazy” on the north side of Dry Creek. At about 7:20 a.m., John and Karma Souza see three “suspicious” persons as they jog in East La Loma Park. The first man, wearing a “puffy jacket,” is at McClure Trail and Dry Creek Park Trail. Two other men “pop” out of the bushes and ask John Souza for a cigarette. According to Scott Peterson, he awakens about 8:00 a.m. and sees that Laci Peterson is already awake—he will later say that she probably woke up at about 7:00 a.m. He showers and eats a bowl of cereal (he will later say, “I think they were the Cinnamon Puffins from Trader Joe’s”), the same breakfast he reports that she had. At 8:40 a.m. (by some accounts, at 8:54 a.m.), someone logs onto his laptop computer for about 5 minutes, checking weather in San Jose, visiting a Yahoo! shopping site and reading mail from the email@example.com address. Sometime before 9:00 a.m. (by some accounts, 8:44 a.m.), Scott Peterson loads something large, wrapped in a blue tarp, into the back of his pickup truck. He is witnessed by a neighbor. He later states that he loaded “market umbrellas” that he was taking from the pool area at the home to put in storage. At some point during the day, Scott Peterson, by his own account, cuts his knuckles reaching into his tool box and spreads blood into the truck by reaching into the pocket of the door. 9:00–10:00 a.m. An anonymous caller to the Sonora Police Department later says she saw a man driving a light-colored or silver truck pulling an aluminum fishing boat about 9:00 a.m. near Phoenix Lake Road, headed east on Highway 108. According to Scott Peterson, he speaks with Laci Peterson as she works in the kitchen and watches KXTV, which is showing Martha Stewart Living—according to him, a show that has something to do with cooking meringue (later reports are that a “meringue” segment aired December 23, 2002, but the defense shows at Scott Peterson’s trial that “meringue” was also mentioned once on the December 24, 2002, program). According to Scott Peterson, Laci Peterson states she is going to mop the floor, clean up the kitchen, grocery shop for the following day’s scheduled brunch (he will later say she was going to make “cordon bleu French toast, or something like that”), bake gingerbread cookies and walk McKenzie in East La Loma Park. According to Scott Peterson, she asks him to bring in a bucket and she begins to mop the floor of the entryway as he leaves the home. Scott Peterson later tells investigators that he believes his wife was last seen near the Dry Creek area of East La Loma Park about 9:30 a.m. According to some reports, Scott Peterson has a golf tee time at 9:30, but does not cancel it (the Modesto Bee will later report that no tee times were required of Del Rio Country Club members). According to Scott Peterson, he leaves at this time to go to the Tradecorp Warehouse to do a little work. According to Connie Fleeman, she is heading to Crescent Food Market, on Coffee Road near Floyd Avenue in north Modesto, when she notices Scott Peterson’s truck and boat in the store’s parking lot, but sees that there is no fishing gear packed. Between 9:15 and 9:45 a.m. (or at about 10:00 a.m., by the National Enquirer account), Scott Peterson taps her with the door as she enters the store and he is leaving (with the door of his truck, according to the National Enquirer account). She later describes him as having a big grin on his face and looking very happy. After apologizing, he wishes her a merry Christmas. She buys cigarettes and starts driving north on Coffee Road, then catches up with him when she pulls into the left-turn lane at East Rumble Road. Rolling down her window, she tells him that the box in his truck bed is slightly open. At this point, Scott Peterson gives her a “horrifying, scary look” and then speeds off without tending to the open box. According to Kristen Reed, she drives by Scott and Laci Peterson’s home at 9:39 a.m. and sees both of their vehicles in their driveway. Between 9:30 and 10:00 a.m., Grace Wolf sees a woman matching the description of Laci Peterson walking her dog in the La Loma neighborhood. As he is driving home from work in the morning, Homer Maldonado sees a “very pregnant” woman he believes to be Laci Peterson having trouble with her dog. In later accounts, he states that he leaves home about 9:30 a.m. and sees this woman in front of 211 Covena Avenue sometime between 9:45 and 10:00 a.m., moments after leaving a USA Gasoline station on Miller Avenue (about a half-mile south of the Peterson home), where he went after delivering a Christmas present. While at the gasoline station, he and his wife, Helen, see an older model, “yellowish-tan” van parked at the gas station. According to the Maldonados, the van reeks of cigarette smoke, has white curtains in the side and rear windows, and a roof rack and chrome ladder. According to Homer Maldonado, a man comes out of the gas station’s store and a male voice from the van asks him if he “got the cigs.” At about 9:40 a.m., Chris Van Sandt, while riding a bicycle, sees a pregnant woman with a golden retriever in the park. Although he reports the sighting to Modesto Police Department investigators, he later says the woman was not Laci Peterson. According to Amber Frey, she sleeps late because she does not have to work, but receives a call from Scott Peterson sometime during the day. He tells her he is with his father in Maine on a guided duck-hunting expedition.
10:00–11:00 a.m. At about 10:00 a.m., Tony Freitas sees a woman matching the description of Laci Peterson walking her dog in the La Loma neighborhood. According to his account, she crosses the street to avoid two apparently homeless men sitting on a bus bench. According to early accounts, several unnamed persons see someone they believe to be Laci Peterson in La Loma park around 10:00 a.m. According to Mark Geragos, several persons see Laci Peterson walking McKenzie in different areas or see an unleashed McKenzie in the park. Vivian Mitchell, looking from her window by her kitchen sink, sees a woman she believes to be Laci Peterson walking her dog between 10:00 and 10:15 a.m. (by some accounts, as late as 10:30 a.m.), apparently coming from Kewin Park, walking east on La Sombra Avenue and then turning north on Buena Vista Drive. Bill Mitchell also sees the woman, who seems to be pulling the dog away from heading toward Yosemite Boulevard. At 10:08 a.m., Scott Peterson calls to check his voice mail on his (209) 505-0337 phone—a call lasting 1 minute 21 seconds. At the Tradecorp Warehouse, Scott Peterson checks his e-mail and sends one e-mail, a Christmas greeting to his boss. According to a prosecution investigator, at 10:09 a.m. or just after, someone accesses the computer at the Tradecorp Warehouse (a timeline not supported by trial testimony). According to Lydell Wall’s trial testimony, Scott Peterson logs onto his computer at 10:32 a.m. (by some accounts, at about 10:30 a.m.), and logs off at 10:56 a.m. At 10:34 a.m., an Internet search is conducted for instructions on how to assemble a mortiser. According to Scott Peterson, he builds a mortising woodworking machine. Around 10:15 a.m., a woman residing on the edge of East La Loma Park hears screams, or by some accounts, a woman screaming, “Help me!” At 10:18 a.m. (by some early accounts, around 10:30 a.m., by some later accounts, between 10:10 and 10:17 a.m.), as she is backing out of her driveway heading for a store, Karen Servas notices McKenzie in the middle of the street, staring at her. She pulls her car over to the curb, gets out and walks to the back of the car, where McKenzie is standing by the vehicle’s rear bumper on the left side. She checks his tags to make sure it is McKenzie. She notices that McKenzie’s leash is still attached and has wet dirt, grass clippings and leaves on it, but later reports in the Modesto Bee say that she returned the dog “not realizing there might be something amiss,” noting that he had gotten loose previously—a fact that she later denies in preliminary hearing testimony. Family members will later say the dog did not behave in an unusual manner after they arrived. Servas takes McKenzie by the leash and walks over to Scott and Laci Peterson’s home, where she hears a noise in the back yard. Thinking Laci Peterson may be in the back yard doing some yard work, Servas walks to the driveway and sees the side gate “wide open.” She walks through the open gate, through the covered patio, to the middle of the backyard, and realizes the noise she heard was someone raking another yard. She tells McKenzie, “Bye-bye,” and exits the back yard. As she closes the gate, McKenzie barks once. Servas returns to her home and washes her hands before heading out to run errands. She arrives at the Bank of America, but sees that the parking lot is full. After circling the bank twice and not finding a place to park, she drives to Austin’s Patio, Deck and Pool Furniture. She shops for approximately five minutes, buys two ornaments at 10:34 a.m. and departs. At 10:37, she phones Tom Eakin. At 10:19 a.m., Russell Graybill scans a checkpoint bar code just down the street from Scott and Laci Peterson’s home, noting nothing unusual going on in the neighborhood. Rudy and Susan Medina leave their home, headed toward Los Angeles to visit relatives. They leave their dog outside the house. Rudy Medina locks the gate with a padlock Susan Medina calls her son at 10:32 a.m. to let him know that they are on their way. Mike Chiavetta sees a dog resembling McKenzie while playing with his own dog in East La Loma Park at 10:45 a.m. (in later accounts, as early as 10:30 a.m., although he states on Larry King Live that he returns home at 10:45 a.m., and states on On the Record With Greta Van Susteren that he returns home at 9:45 a.m.), possibly being walked along a fence next to an orchard by a woman “with a big white smock and black leggings.” At some time between 10:35 and 10:50 a.m., Graybill delivers mail in the La Loma neighborhood. At about 10:30 a.m. (according to an early interview, at 10:38 a.m.), Amie Krigbaum wakes up to the sound of barking dogs (Sage and, according to her later conclusion, McKenzie) and takes her dog out to her front yard. She notices that the neighborhood is quiet, with no one outside, and that the window coverings are closed at Scott and Laci Peterson’s home. She also notices that Laci Peterson’s vehicle is at the home, but Scott Peterson’s is not. Between 10:45 and 10:55 a.m. (by early accounts, 10:20 a.m.; according to defense team suggestions, as early as 9:45 a.m.) in East La Loma Park, Diana Campos, on a break at the Health Services Agency of Stanislaus County, says she sees a pregnant woman with shoulder-length brown hair walking with two men and a barking golden retriever. According to Campos, the men vehemently and vulgarly complain to the woman about her dog’s barking (a similar account also surfaces in a story in People magazine). Shortly before 11:00 a.m. (according to Lydell Wall’s trial testimony, at 10:56 a.m.), someone stops using the computer in the Tradecorp Warehouse.
11:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m. By about 11:30 a.m., Scott Peterson, by his account, finishes working, hitches up his boat and heads toward the Berkeley Marina. Unnamed witnesses—presumably, Diane Jackson—report seeing three suspicious-looking people in front of Scott and Laci Peterson’s home at about 11:40 a.m. Jackson is driving home at 11:40 a.m. (by some accounts, “about 11:30” a.m.) when she sees “three short of stature, dark-skinned but not African American guys” standing near a van parked in front of 516 Covena Avenue, the home of Rudy and Susan Medina, and across the street from Scott and Laci Peterson’s home. She notices the van has one rear door open, and the other ajar, but sees no landscaping equipment, contrary to Modesto Police Department assertions that the van in the neighborhood at this time was one used by landscapers. As she passes by, the three men turn toward her with looks she senses as threatening. Karen Servas, after going to Starbuck’s, returns to the Bank of America and uses an automated teller machine at 10:53 a.m. She returns home, according to her account, between 11:45 a.m. and noon. She sees a package in Scott and Laci Peterson’s mailbox. Presuming a 1.5 hour drive to the marina, Scott Peterson arrives by 1:00 p.m., although he later tells Det. Jon Evers he arrives by noon. The holiday season has left just three workers there: two maintenance workers and a groundskeeper. At 12:40 and 12:45 p.m., Scott Peterson places telephone calls the cellular telephone of Lee Peterson. The conversations last for a total of about 7 minutes. At 12:54 p.m. (according to trial evidence), Scott Peterson buys a boat launch ticket (according to earlier reports by Ted Rowlands, the marina receipt produced by Scott Peterson shows a time of 1:30 p.m.). According to Scott Peterson, he launches his boat from the Berkeley Marina boat ramp and heads northwest about two miles, trolling around Brooks Island.
1:00–4:00 p.m. Kim McGregor spends the day with her family. According to Scott Peterson, he stays on the water until it starts to rain and the waves become choppy, at which point he heads back to the Berkeley Marina (Scott Peterson later tells Det. Jon Evers he fishes for a couple of hours, from noon until about 2:00 p.m., and tells Det. Al Brocchini that he fishes for about an hour—an estimate that Brocchini seemingly ignores as he estimates Scott Peterson’s time on the water at 90 minutes). According to Scott Peterson, he speaks with a couple of unnamed fishermen, who report that they also have caught no fish. At about 2:00 p.m., Scott Peterson returns to the Berkeley Marina, where he has trouble backing his trailer down the boat ramp. According to Scott Peterson, this effort draws laughter from maintenance workers (according to the maintenance workers, Scott Peterson backs his boat into a pylon and they offer him help, which he refuses; in other reports, workers see Scott Peterson fumbling ineptly to get his boat off the trailer). At 2:12 p.m., Scott Peterson calls and checks his voice mail on his (209) 505-0337 phone. According to his own account, and supported by Steve Jacobson’s preliminary hearing testimony, Scott Peterson tries unsuccessfully two times to reach Laci Peterson, leaving a 29-second message at her home and a 30-second message on her cell phone’s voice mail (by some accounts, he leaves two messages on her home answering machine). At approximately 2:15 p.m. (Det. Al Brocchini will tell him later during an interview that this call was time-stamped at 12:17 p.m.), he leaves a 29-second message for her: “Hey, beautiful. I just left you a message at home. It’s 2:15. I’m leaving Berkeley. I won’t be able to get to Vella Farms to get the basket for Papa. I was hoping you would get this message and go on out there. I’ll see you in a bit, sweetie. Love you. Bye.” At about 2:30 p.m., Amber Frey is visited by neighbors. She then goes to visit her mother. At 2:34 p.m., Scott Peterson calls Greg and Kristen Reed to discuss plans for New Year’s Eve—a call lasting 5 minutes 1 second. At 2:40 p.m., he calls San Diego Crating and Packing, presumably to speak to Lee or Jackie Peterson, and is on the line for 3 minutes 9 seconds; again, at 2:45 p.m., he calls San Diego Crating and Packing and is on the line for 2 minutes 27 seconds (according to Lee Peterson, he speaks with Scott Peterson once, a call sometime between noon and 2:00 p.m. that lasts about 2 minutes). At 3:45 p.m., Amy Rocha receives a call from Vella Farms Produce Market and Gifts concerning a fruit basket that Scott Peterson had offered to pick up for her during the day but did not. She attempts to reach Scott Peterson on his cell phone and at his home, but receives no answer on either phone. Scott Peterson does not return her call—even though he has made at least seven calls within the previous 2 hours, and will use his cell phone again just minutes after her call is received, when he stops to buy gas at a Chevron station in Livermore and, at 3:52 p.m., calls his home a second time.
4:00–6:00 p.m. Ron Grantski calls Laci Peterson about 4:00 p.m. but gets the answering machine and leaves a message reminding her to bring whipping cream to her mother’s house for dinner that evening. Scott Peterson later tells Amber Frey that he was supposed to meet Laci Peterson at 4:00 p.m. At 4:05 p.m., Karen Servas leaves her home, late for an appointment (she reports this time as 5:05 p.m. in preliminary hearing testimony and changes it in trial testimony after checking her appointment calendar). She notices that there is still a package in Scott and Laci Peterson’s mailbox, and that his truck is not in the driveway. According to Scott Peterson, he drives back to the Tradecorp Warehouse, unhooks his boat, checks his e-mail and then heads to his home. According to Scott Peterson, he arrives home between 4:30 and 4:45 p.m., although even the latest of those times would mean he covered the 51 miles from Livermore in just 53 minutes, including the time spent at the Tradecorp Warehouse (according to Amie Krigbaum’s media accounts, Scott Peterson arrives between 4:45 and 5:15 p.m.; according to her trial testimony, he arrives by 4:45 p.m.). Scott Peterson backs his truck into the driveway next to Laci Peterson’s Land Rover. He sees McKenzie in the back yard, with his leash on and running free. He takes the leash off McKenzie and places it on the picnic table and enters the house through the rear French doors, which are unlocked. McKenzie and a cat follow him into the house, and the cat runs toward a bucket, so Scott Peterson takes the bucket outside and dumps it. He also takes the mops outside. By some speculative accounts, he sees Laci Peterson’s purse, keys and cell phone on a table inside the home (according to Det. Jon Evers, Scott Peterson does not find these items on the table, but the purse and keys are found later by Evers on a hook in a closet). He goes to the washing machine, removes a pile of white towels from inside the washing machine, takes off his clothes, puts them in the washer and starts it. He goes into the kitchen, gets a box of cold pizza out of the refrigerator and pours a glass of milk. He eats one slice of pizza and part of another slice. He goes into the bathroom and takes a shower. He puts on fresh clothes. He plays the messages on the answering machine, from him and from Grantski (according to some speculative accounts, Scott Peterson also mops the floor, vacuums and irons). At 5:15 p.m., Sharon Rocha looks at a clock on the stove and thinks, “I need to get myself put together before everybody gets here.” According to Amy Rocha’s trial testimony, she receives a call from a “panicked” Scott Peterson at about 5:15 p.m. According to The Murder of Laci Peterson, that conversation starts with him blurting out, “Is your sister with you?” At about 5:20 p.m. (“a little after 5:00,” according to Sharon Rocha in an interview; at “about 5:17,” according to her preliminary hearing and trial testimony), Scott Peterson calls Sharon Rocha to ask if Laci Peterson is with her, stating that her vehicle is in the driveway, McKenzie is there with his leash on and that Laci is “missing.” Sharon Rocha replies that her daughter is not there, and suggests that he call her friends, then call back. Scott Peterson at some point calls Stacey Boyers, saying he has called “René and Renee (presumably, René Tomlinson and Renee Garza), and asking her to call “Lori and Kim” (presumably, Lori Ellsworth and Kim McNeely). During the evening, Scott Peterson also speaks with or leaves messages with with Brian Ullrich, Lori Ellsworth, Lee Peterson and Karen Servas. Sharon Rocha runs down the hall of her home to tell Grantski that Laci Peterson is “missing.” In a short time, Scott Peterson calls back, saying he had called everyone he could think of and no one knew where Laci Peterson was. Sharon Rocha then advises him to check with neighbors. At about 5:30 p.m., Scott Peterson knocks on the door of neighbors Amie Krigbaum and Terra Venable as they are preparing Christmas Eve dinner in anticipation of Krigbaum’s father coming over. According to her, Scott Peterson looks distraught and is asking if she has seen his wife. She replies that she has not, and that she presumed that the two of them were out of town because their blinds were down and she had not seen any activity at the home. He tells Krigbaum he had been golfing and had tried to reach Laci Peterson “all day.” Krigbaum asks Venable what she should do. Later, Krigbaum and Venable will help search for Laci Peterson, and Krigbaum will provide a flashlight to Sharon Rocha. Both of them will walk with Scott Peterson for a short distance as they return to their home. Scott Peterson leaves a note on the door of Karen Servas’ home. Sharon Rocha begins to change her clothes in preparation to go to Scott and Laci Peterson’s home. At 5:32 p.m., Sharon Rocha calls Sandy Rickard and makes arrangements for Rickard to drive her to East La Loma Park since Grantski is waiting on a police officer. At 5:44 p.m., Scott Peterson makes a call to an undetermined number. Immediately after this call, he calls Amy Rocha. He then calls Sharon Rocha a third time to tell her that Laci Peterson is not with neighbors, at which point Sharon Rocha asks Grantski to call the Modesto Police Department. The Modesto Police Department records the call as having come in at 5:48 p.m. (according to Laci: Inside the Laci Peterson Murder, this call is made at about 6:30 p.m.). According to Sharon Rocha’s preliminary hearing testimony, she calls Scott Peterson at about 5:49 p.m. as she and Rickard are driving across the bridge at Scenic Drive and Oakdale Road, telling him that she is heading to East La Loma Park, and asking him to meet her there. She arrives at the park entrance near the tennis courts, gets out of the car and searches the area toward the river and along the path, screaming her daughter’s name. She looks in trash cans with a flashlight. At 5:57 p.m., Scott Peterson receives an incoming call. At 5:59 p.m., Scott Peterson calls Sharon Rocha again. Immediately after this call, Scott Peterson receives a call from an undetermined number. He also calls the Reeds again, leaving a voice mail message that Kristen Reed later describes as “frantic.” Scott Peterson calls Guy Miligi. Other Rocha family members head toward Scott and Laci Peterson’s home and East La Loma Park. Scott Peterson runs down Covena Avenue, past the sign where the street dead-ends into a footpath, then down the steep hill into the park. Sharon Rocha sees Scott Peterson with McKenzie walking along the Dry Creek. She calls to him, but he does not answer her. At this point, “Zach” (sometimes identified as “Sharon Rocha’s nephew”) runs up to Scott Peterson. Det. Jon Evers, receiving the dispatch, arrives at the park and speaks to Scott Peterson and other family members in the parking lot of the park closest to the covered park bench areas. Evers notes that Sharon Rocha is crying and appears to be “very, very, very upset,” Scott Peterson appears to be “very upset” and other family members appear to be “concerned.” Amy Rocha goes house to house carrying a photograph of Laci Peterson. Scott Peterson states to Evers that he last saw his wife at about 9:30 a.m. when he left to go fishing in the Bay Area, and could not locate her upon her return, but did find McKenzie. According to Scott Peterson, he calls Amber Frey at an unspecified time to tell her that his wife is missing—a story he later modifies to happening on a later date.
6:00–7:00 p.m. The 6:00 p.m. time for what was supposed to have been a joyous Christmas Eve celebration at Sharon Rocha’s home passes. At 6:03 p.m., Scott Peterson receives two unidentified incoming calls. Det. Jon Evers is told by Scott Peterson that he went to get his boat from the Tradecorp Warehouse. Evers notes the time of the missing-person report as 6:04 p.m. and requests two more units and a supervisor to meet him. Scott Peterson calls 911 at 6:10 p.m. Sgt. Byron Duerfeldt, Derrick Letsinger, and Matt Spurlock arrive at East La Loma Park. Evers goes with Scott Peterson to Scott and Laci Peterson’s home and arrives at about 6:25 p.m. At this time, he notes, “Covena is the CP,” meaning “command post.” Evers conducts a formal interview of Scott Peterson. Evers, Letsinger and Spurlock search Scott and Laci Peterson’s home. Evers points out to Scott Peterson that a rug in the breezeway appears “scrunched up” by the door, to which he offers an explanation that “the cat and dog must have been playing.” Scott Peterson then takes a couple of steps forward and uses his toe to pull the rug out from under the door. Evers finds Laci Peterson’s purse hanging on a hook in a closet. As Evers and Scott Peterson are standing in the front yard, Ron Grantski asks him if he was able to get in a round of golf. Scott Peterson hesitates, then replies that it was too cold to golf, so he went fishing instead. “Boy, that’s late, 9:30, to go fishing,” Grantski remarks. Scott Peterson does not respond. Grantski tells him, “I think your…fishing trip is a fishy story. Did you do something else? Do you have a girlfriend?” Scott Peterson replies, “No,” then turns and walks away. Spurlock asks Scott Peterson what he was fishing for and what he was using for bait, but according to Evers, Scott Peterson is unable to say.
7:00–9:00 p.m. At 7:07 p.m., Modesto Police Department officers end their walk-through of Scott and Laci Peterson’s home, according to the radio dispatch log. Det. Jon Evers tells Modesto Police Department dispatchers that Laci Peterson cannot be located at her home. Police officers begin second walk-through with Scott Peterson. At 7:22 p.m., Scott Peterson and the police officers go outside and wait for a search helicopter. Sometime between 7:00 and 8:00 p.m., Scott Peterson and another man (probably Brent Rocha) knock on the door of Leslie Streeter, who later reports Scott Peterson as being “stressed-out” and quiet and letting the other man do the talking. Lee and Jackie Peterson attend Christmas Eve services in San Diego. Amber Frey goes to a holiday dinner at a friend’s home. Sometime during the evening, Steven Todd asks Adam Tenbrink to help with a burglary already in progress in the La Loma neighborhood.
9:00–11:00 p.m. At 9:54 p.m., Det. Al Brocchini arrives, confers with the other police officers on the scene and asks Scott Peterson if he has anything to prove he was fishing in the Bay Area. Scott Peterson replies that he has a receipt from the Berkeley Marina. Brocchini walks through the home with Det. Jon Evers for about 10 minutes. Evers points out Laci Peterson’s purse. Brocchini then goes back through the house with Evers and Scott Peterson for about 45 minutes, taking special note of what appears to him to be a raincoat. Brocchini, with Evers and Scott Peterson, comes in the front door, which leads into the dining room, then goes to the right into the dining nook. Brocchini goes out the French doors to the backyard and introduces himself to McKenzie, who comes up to him. Scott Peterson remarks that it is unusual, presumably because McKenzie is usually protective. Brocchini questions Scott Peterson about the McKenzie’s protectiveness of Laci Peterson. Brocchini comes back in and goes into the sitting room area and to the laundry room, where he looks in the washing machine and removes the damp clothes that had been through the spin cycle. He goes down the hallway into the master bedroom, the spare bedroom and the nursery, then back to the sitting room. In the sitting room, he looks at Scott Peterson’s phone, and documents all the calls, both incoming and outgoing. Then Brocchini goes back outside. He asks Scott Peterson if he is having an affair, to which he replies in the negative. Brocchini asks to search Scott Peterson’s truck. He first looks in the bed, where he finds some umbrellas wrapped in blue tarp, and the cover for the boat, which he will later describe as being “kind of bunched up” and “against the back of the green toolbox.” Brocchini asks Scott Peterson why the umbrellas are still in the bed of the truck, and he replies that he forgot to drop them off at the warehouse. In the unlocked toolbox, Brocchini finds shotgun shells and a nylon rope. Scott Peterson unlocks the truck’s cab using his remote entry key. As Brocchini opens the cab door, it hits Laci Peterson’s Land Rover parked beside the pickup truck. Brocchini states that he will be more careful, then searches the cab of Scott Peterson’s truck. In the cab, he finds shopping bags with lures and a receipt, and several items of clothing that are later taken in as evidence. He also finds a handgun that he takes into evidence immediately. After searching the truck, Brocchini realizes he has misplaced his keys and asks Scott Peterson to unlock the truck again before locating the keys on the truck’s wheel well. Brocchini also searches Laci Peterson’s Land Rover and finds her cell phone with dead batteries. Doug Ridenour Jr. brings a Minolta 35mm flash camera to Brocchini. Modesto Police Department officials determine Laci Peterson is not someone who would have simply “run off,” and they launch an immediate search of the neighborhood and East La Loma Park. Lt. Bruce Able and a half-dozen officers go into the park. Officers are held over past their regular shifts to aid in the search. The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department provides two pilots and its helicopter to fly up and down Dry Creek, using a giant searchlight. A heat-sensing device is also used. Within hours, the search expands to surrounding areas. At approximately 10:15 p.m., Karen Servas returns home. At 10:28 p.m., Amber Frey begins composing a letter to Scott Peterson in which she says, “You didn’t call like you said you would.”
11:00 p.m–Midnight Det. Al Brocchini tells Derrick Letsinger to stand in front of the door to Scott and Laci Peterson’s home and to relay to Doug Lovell to collect three things he has noted of interest: a mop, a bucket and towels. Brocchini also tells Letsinger to ask Lovell to look for any other potential evidence in the home. According to Det. Jon Evers, at about 11:00 p.m., he gets information from Scott Peterson for the missing person report. At 11:08 p.m., the Modesto Police Department issues a “be on the lookout” report for Laci Peterson. At 11:13 p.m., Scott Peterson, Brocchini and Evers leave for the Tradecorp Warehouse. Scott Peterson rides with Brocchini in his unmarked car. The warehouse is dark because, according to what Scott Peterson tells Brocchini, there is no electricity—although Brocchini later states that he found out that the power was never off. Brocchini uses his Streamlight flashlight to examine a fax that was sent earlier in the day. Scott Peterson states that he had already read the fax. Brocchini notes the time on the fax as being “1428” or 2:28 p.m. Scott Peterson explains that it could have actually been received 3 hours earlier than the stated time because it was sent from New Jersey, on Eastern Standard Time. Brocchini notes that, even accounting for the time difference, 11:30 a.m. is late to be leaving for the Bay Area. Scott Peterson replies that he could have read the fax upon his return. Brocchini shines the lights of his vehicle through the rollup bay door of the warehouse to illuminate the area so that Scott Peterson’s boat may be examined. Brocchini and Evers also use their flashlights to look at the boat. Brocchini notes the boat on a trailer, a flatbed trailer next to it, a forklift behind the flatbed trailer, and pallets stacked with fertilizer stacked “too high” throughout the warehouse. Brocchini takes some flash pictures of the boat, and Scott Peterson asks that photos of the boat in the warehouse not be shown to his boss. Brocchini notes a concrete anchor and other items in the boat. At 11:35 p.m., Lovell arrives at Scott and Laci Peterson’s home to take photographs. Scott Peterson gets in Brocchini’s vehicle and they head toward Modesto Police Department headquarters. On the way, Scott Peterson gets a call from family members and friends making missing-person fliers at Dittos, asking for him to answer a question about what phone number to use on the fliers. Brocchini takes Scott Peterson over to Dittos, then the two continue on to Modesto Police Department headquarters. Brocchini parks his vehicle on K Street, but after he and Scott Peterson exit the vehicle, Brocchini realizes he has forgotten his notebook, so the two reenter the vehicle and return to the Tradecorp Warehouse to retrieve it. Once inside, Scott Peterson locates the notebook on the boat and returns it to Brocchini. The two return to Modesto Police Department headquarters, arriving around midnight by some accounts, although Brocchini also states that observations in the warehouse were conducted at least partially past midnight. According to some reports of police officials, Scott Peterson refuses to let investigators search the house, and instead asks them to get a search warrant—a contention not supported by preliminary hearing testimony.