|Candlelight Vigil Held For Laci
December 31, 2002
Hundreds of friends, family and strangers gathered in Modesto Tuesday evening,
holding a vigil of hope for a missing pregnant woman. The gathering for 27-year-old
Laci Peterson took place at East La Loma Park and included speeches and song.
Laci has been missing since the day before Christmas when she apparently left
her home in a car, not by foot, as originally thought. The new information is according
to a handler of a bloodhound used in the search. Hundreds of volunteers and police
officers continued to search Monday for Laci, who is 8 months pregnant.
A reward for her safe return has grown to $500,000.
Her husband, Scott Peterson, reported her missing Dec. 24 after he returned home from
a solo fishing trip to the Berkeley Marina. She had stayed home to walk the dog and get
ready for a family dinner. He told police he last saw her at 9:30 a.m. as she prepared to
take the walk the family's dog in East La Loma Park and he was leaving.
Peterson's family planned to meet with Susan Levy, the mother of Chandra Levy,
another Modesto woman who disappeared. Levy, living in Washington, D.C.,
when she disappeared in May 2001, was later found dead a year later.
Police brought a bloodhound in last week to help with the search for Laci Peterson.
The dog didn't head to the park, but instead led investigators to a boulevard.
On Monday, the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Underwater Search and Rescue
Team inspected a section of the San Joaquin River. The divers were there
because the bloodhound had made a beeline in that direction, Deputy
Mark Cardoza, a member of the dive team, told The Modesto Bee.
Detectives also examined videotape from a sporting goods store's security
cameras, where Laci Peterson may have been seen shopping on Christmas
Eve, said Modesto Police Detective Doug Ridenour said.
Modesto police say they have no suspects. They have scoured parks and abandoned
buildings, questioned registered sex offenders and parolees, and asked residents to
search rural areas where Laci Peterson may have walked before disappearing.
Detectives said Scott Peterson gave investigators a receipt Monday
from the Berkeley Marina where he said he went fishing.
When asked during Monday's news conference if that eliminates him
as a suspect, Ridenour said, "At this point, we are not ruling him or anybody out."
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