Published January 27, 2003
LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Scott Peterson vowed to broaden the search for his missing pregnant wife as the investigation in Modesto has expanded to include his personal life.
Peterson and members of his family distributed fliers to volunteers at a west Los Angeles hotel in order to widen the search for his wife, Peterson said.
"If you go to Modesto you see in every store, every corner, there's posters for her everywhere. We've been working on that for 26 days. We simply have to expand the geographical area," he said Sunday. "So we'll do it here, we'll do it in San Diego next weekend and we'll continue to expand until we find her."
Laci Peterson, a pregnant 27-year-old, has been missing since she took her dog for a walk near the couple's Modesto home on Christmas Eve. Scott Peterson told police he was fishing at the Berkeley Marina at the time of his wife's disappearance.
Police have not named him as a suspect but attention has focused on him since police told Laci Peterson's family they believe he was having an affair.
The 30-year-old fertilizer salesman refused to answer most questions from reporters as he and his family distributed fliers.
Police said they were searching Stanislaus County, where Modesto is, and surrounding counties.
"There's nothing connected with our investigation in L.A.," Modesto Police Detective Doug Ridenour said Sunday.
An organizer of the volunteer search efforts said Peterson isn't deterred by the negative publicity.
"He's willing to take the heat if it keeps Laci's picture in the media," said Brad Saltzman, a Modesto hotel manager. "He is going to keep his focus on the search efforts."
Laci Peterson's brother, Brent Rocha, said Sunday her family was not commenting. Laci Peterson's relatives have distanced themselves from Scott Peterson but his parents, brother and sister were with him in Los Angeles. His sister, Janey, read a statement supporting him.
"Scott has our absolute and complete support and we do not believe any speculation that he was involved in Laci's disappearance," the statement said.
About three dozen volunteers showed up to help distribute posters. Some said they were troubled by allegations of Scott Peterson's apparent infidelity, which he has denied, but believed Laci Peterson deserved their help.
"The husband bothers me a lot being he hasn't been upfront on this," said volunteer Diane Fernandez of Downey. Another volunteer, Ana Ramirez of Santa Clarita, said she "just wanted to do a good deed."
Meanwhile, sheriff's investigators in San Luis Obispo said Scott Peterson was not a suspect in the 1996 disappearance of a 19-year-old student at California Polytechnic University at San Luis Obispo. Scott and Laci Peterson attended Cal Poly at the time.