MODESTO, Calif. – No one showed up to bid on the former home of Scott and Laci Peterson, leaving a bank to take possession of the tidy house that was once at the center of a national drama.
A foreclosure auctioneer opened and closed bidding Friday on the small bungalow where the couple lived before the pregnant wife disappeared on Christmas Eve and her husband was charged with her murder.
With that, Modesto's most notorious piece of real estate became the property of a Simi Valley bank.
Its most recent owner, Gerry Roberts, purchased the house for $390,000 in 2005 — $10,000 more than the asking price — and declared he had just bought "probably the most controversial home in the world."
A few days later, a tabloid printed photos of a red-stained knife recovered from a patio cabinet, which forensic evidence later proved was not blood. Roberts blamed media interviews for the loss of his job shortly afterward, then put the home for sale on eBay.
Roberts filed for bankruptcy protection in February, listing $340,000 owed to the lender as his largest debt.
The home's front lawn, where hundreds had left flowers, stuffed animals and candles after Laci Peterson disappeared in December 2002, has since turned a sickly yellow and the trees appear to be dead or dying.
The remains of Peterson and her fetus were later recovered along the shore of the San Francisco Bay. Peterson was convicted of her murder in December 2004 and is currently on death row at San Quentin State Prison.
The family's former home joins about 4,500 others for sale in Stanislaus County, which has the third-highest foreclosure rates in the United States, just behind San Joaquin and Merced counties.