Archive for the ‘Laci Peterson’ Category

the ladybug story

While it may seem trite to draw comparisons between the murder cases of Michelle Young and Laci Peterson, the similarities that continue to pop up make it impossible not to do so. The obvious parallels between the two young women and their life circumstances, as well as the way in which their mothers have publicly handled their loss, are tangible in comparison to the ethereal nature of the following annecdotes.Sharon Rocha shares the story of how Stanislaus County prosecutors saw the presence of ladybugs as a sign from Laci that all was well:

“Listen to this, said Laci’s friend, brushing some strands of blond hair from her face. She was one of several of Laci’s girlfriends visiting her gravesite with me. It was a beautiful day, perfect for reminiscing about Laci, and at some point Stacey remembered what has since become known as “the ladybug story.” Since it involved the prosecution, she was surprised I hadn’t heard it, and proceeded to tell me.

Dave Harris was the first person to notice something. It was summer, and at the time he was going through Laci’s photo albums, searching for images that might have an emotional impact in the courtroom. He realized from things he saw in various pictures that Laci had a fondness for ladybugs. She did, too – sunflowers, dragonflies, and ladybugs. A couple months later, as the prosecution was preparing for the closing statement, Dave began noticing ladybugs showing up on his sleeve, in his car, on the bushes where he walked, all around him. It happened too often to be a coincidence, he thought, but when he told his wife, she looked at him as if he’d lost his mind.

He continued to see them, though. One day he was in court, and things weren’t going well. He was feeling a little down. But then he spotted a ladybug fluttering around the defense table. He watched it land on a book in front of Geragos. Dave was transfixed by it. As he later told me, they were in a courtroom with no windows, on the second floor of a building. The nearest door leading outside was on the opposite end of the building. The likelihood of this thing just flying in were slim to none.

He chuckled. Rick and Birgit looked at him the way his wife had, like he was insane. At the break, he told them about the ladybugs. While he thought they were a sign that Laci was watching over them, he kept that to himself and merely said they were good luck. Rick and Birgit dismissed his ladybug theory as nonsense. However, pretty soon they started to notice ladybugs, too, and then they sheepishly mentioned it to Dave. He still didn’t tell them his Laci theory, but he reiterated that they had nothing to worry about as long as they were seeing ladybugs.

One day in mid-October, as Rick worked on his closing statement in his hotel room, he saw a ladybug on the outside of his window screen. At first he didn’t pay attention to it, but the ladybug seemed to be watching him as he worked. So he stared back, smiling, as he remembered Dave’s story. Later, he told Birgit and Dave about his sighting and they were amused.

I have it on good authority that there were no ladybug sightings during jury deliberations, which lasted just under seven full days, and from what I gathered no one was thinking about ladybugs on Friday, November 12, the day the verdict came back. That was understandable. Rick, Dave, and Birgit all had plenty of important things on their minds that morning when they got a phone call summoning them to the courthouse. They thought they were needed to clarify questions from the jurors, something they’d been doing regularly. They didn’t expect a verdict.

But then as Birgit finished getting dressed, she went over to her hotel room window and saw her new favorite red-and-black winged insect – on the inside. Actually, the ladybug was between the glass and the screen. It was a strange place to see one and almost impossible to imagine how it got there. Stranger still was the timing. For some reason, Craig Grogan knocked on her door and she showed him. I don’t know how, but by this time Craig also knew about the ladybugs, and he took it as a very good sign. Right before leaving, she called Rick and Dave with the news, and afterward, she later told me, all of them knew it was going to be a good day.

[For Laci by Sharon Rocha, pp. 303-304]

 

In the following account, WRAL’s Amanda Lamb relates the sense of comfort that ladybugs provide to Michelle’s loved ones while they await justice.

Linda says prayer has helped her cope and something else, something unlikely – ladybugs. That’s right, I said ladybugs.

It wasn’t like she came right out and told me about it. I noticed the ladybug pin, the ladybug necklace and the ladybug earrings. I commented on them.

That’s when she told me about what they had meant to her since her daughter’s death.

First of all, Michelle apparently loved ladybugs and was particularly fond of a ladybug mirror her mother has.

But Linda Fisher noticed something strange since her daughter’s death – ladybugs seem to be everywhere she is Sometimes, she sees three, four or five at a time, inside, outside, wherever there is talk of Michelle.

Linda’s sister – Michelle’s aunt – recently took a trip to Italy – one that Michelle had planned to attend prior to her death. They went to a town that Michelle had always wanted to go. All of a sudden, her aunt looked down and saw a ladybug.

She was not a believer, now she is.

The entire family has ladybug stories from the past year, hence Linda’s fondness for ladybug jewelry and all things emblazoned with ladybugs.

It is a small sign of life, but something she holds onto dearly in her profound grief and loss. The ladybugs make her grin, and in turn, make her think of her beautiful daughter’s bright smile. They are a small comfort when there is no real comfort to be had for a mother who loses a child.

As we finished the interview with Linda Fisher Thursday at her sister’s home, she suddenly called out “Ladybug!” I looked over at the window next to her, and low and behold, there it was, a ladybug making its way across the glass.

[Amanda Lamb, “Signs of Life”, Dispatches from a Reporter’s Notebook, WRAL.com]

 

As for me, I choose to believe that the ladybugs bode well for resolution in the investigation of Michelle’s murder. And I’m grateful to Linda Fisher and Sharon Rocha for sharing their stories, to Amanda Lamb for taking notice, and to WRAL for providing a venue. If you haven’t already done so, I urge you to watch Amanda Lamb’s exclusive interview with Linda Fisher. Click the image below to access WRAL’s video player.

I see Michelle in her mother’s eyes. Cassidy should be given the opportunity to see her own mommy in and through her grandma’s eyes.

It all goes back to Laci…

I suppose the OJ Simpson trial was my introduction to following crime stories. It was everywhere, and everyone was talking about it. We didn’t have CourtTV in my community then, but even CNN ran gavel-to-gavel coverage of that trial. There was no getting away from it. But the Laci Peterson case is the one that I always go back to. It will never leave me. Believe it or not, a few of the finer details have gotten a little fuzzy with the passage of time, but I can still picture in my mind the various photographs and video clips that introduced us to Laci — her brilliant smile and her effervescent charm. She had the same impact on almost everyone who caught a glimpse. It isn’t likely that any of you who watched the memorial video set to Brown Eyed Girl have forgotten it nor the emotions it evoked. I know I haven’t.

And neither has the prosecution team. Birgit Fladager recently spoke about the case to a gathering of Kentucky lawyers.

Fladager played a tape yesterday that jurors never got to see because of restrictions on the number of photos prosecutors could show the jury. It showed several photos of Laci Peterson from childhood to adulthood, with Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison — Laci’s favorite song — and later I Will Remember You by Sarah McClachlan playing in the background.

At the beginning, the judge tapped his feet to the upbeat Morrison song as he watched the tape in his office, Fladager said. He was silent at the end, she said, and the defense lawyers stared down at their shoes.

“When you watch this, keep in mind there is a guy who supposedly loved her,” Fladager said of Peterson before she played the video for Kentucky prosecutors. “And she died in a horrible way. And he showed absolutely no emotion to what you’re about to see. Which told me then that he never cared about her. He never cared about anybody.”

Peterson deserved all the scorn and wrath he got from the public for the simple fact of what he did to Laci, Conner, and the Rocha family. But he couldn’t stop there. His coldness, both before and after the fact, made it that much easier to condemn him.

Lately, I’ve been silently questioning myself and what I do here on this blog. I didn’t have my own blog when the Peterson investigation and trial were ongoing, but I participated in discussing it elsewhere. I believed early on that Scott Peterson was responsible for his wife and unborn son’s disappearance and murder. I didn’t have the internal conflict about discussing the case that I’ve been experiencing lately. I consider Jason Young the prime suspect in the murder of Michelle Young and her unborn son. I have suspicions as to the car accident that killed another of their unborn children. But what if I’m wrong? Am I persecuting an innocent man — a grieving husband and father — and those who love and support him by writing about my suspicions on this blog and elsewhere? That thought troubles me. So I intend to rethink the case. I’ll try to look at each item of evidence and reported fact more objectively and give unconfirmed rumors the proper weight.

Still, my primary concern is the victims. If I can do anything to facilitate justice for Michelle Young and her babies or to support her heartbroken family in even the smallest way, that is what I want to do. I know my chances of accomplishing either are slim, but slim is better than none. Of course, I feel sorry for Jason’s family and what they’re going through. I understand their need to support and defend him. And even if he proves to be the murderer, I will still expect them to support him. I just hope they handle it with more grace, more dignity and, most importantly, more compassion for their daughter-in-law’s family than the Petersons did.

A Mother’s Plea

Linda Fisher, of Sayville, NY, addressed the media on November 13 at the gravesite of her slain daughter, Michelle Young, who was 20 weeks into her third pregnancy. It appears that Ms. Fisher took special care to emphasize two things in her statement. I have formatted them in this transcript to reflect that emphasis.

My name is Linda Fisher, and Michelle Young is my daughter. We are shaken and heartbroken over the tragic loss of Michelle. She’s the wife, a sister, a granddaughter, and most importantly the mother of my only granddaughter, Cassidy (sobbing).

I’m asking for anyone who has seen or heard anything — as trivial as you might think it is, anything — to please come forward and help find the person who murdered our daughter…my daughter.

I also want to thank, or take the opportunity to thank, everyone who has given their love and support to us during this horrible time. And I want you to please understand that our family is in mourning, and we appreciate the privacy to grieve.

And I have great faith in the police that they will help find the person who is responsible for taking our Michelle away from us. I love her. (sobbing) I love my Michelle, and she’s gone.

Thank you.

ABC-11 (WTVD) has raw video of Ms. Fisher’s statement.

Update: WTVD has removed the raw video from their site. WRAL is providing a link to video of the complete statement on this page.

On January 24, 2003, Sharon Rocha addressed the public regarding the disappearance of her pregnant daughter, Laci Peterson of Modesto, California. The Rocha family had very recently been informed of Scott Peterson’s affair with Fresno massage therapist, Amber Frey, solidifying their suspicions that Scott was responsible for Laci’s disappearance and probable murder.

I would like to thank all of you for being here today and for respecting our request last week for some time to spend alone with our family. We appreciate your support of our family’s search to find Laci.

I want to thank Kim Petersen, with the Carole Sund/Carrington Foundation, who has been working with all of you and relaying our wishes to not conduct interviews last week. We had a very difficult time last week.

I also want to thank all of the volunteers, the police department, fire department, Brad Saltzman and everyone at the Red Lion Hotel, the chaplains at the police department, all of my friends and family, the hundreds of thousands of people who have visited Laci’s web site with their prayers, and everyone who has been involved with the search for Laci. The support we’ve received from everyone has been our salvation.

Since Christmas Eve, our one and only focus has been to find Laci and bring her home to us. I love my daughter so much. I miss her every minute of every day. I miss seeing her. I miss our talking together. I miss listening to the excitement in her voice when she talks to me about her baby. I miss not being able to share with her the anticipation of her approaching delivery date. I miss listening to her talk about her future with her husbandand her baby. I miss sharing our thoughts and our lives together. I miss her smile and her laughter and her sense of humor. And I miss everything about her.

Someone has taken all of this away from me and everyone else who loves her. There are no words that can possibly describe the ache in my heart or the emptiness in my life.

I know that someone knows where Laci is, and I’m pleading with you, please, please, let her come home to us. You can send an anonymous letter to the police department, or you can make an anonymous phone call to the police department tip line at area code (209)342-6166. (Or anonymous messages may be sent using our Leads and Tips form.)

If someone out there has observed or possibly discovered, on their property, anything unusual or suspicious, no matter how minute or insignificant it might seem to you, please call the police department. This may be the missing link to finding Laci.

Please keep looking for Laci and help us end this nightmare.

Thank you.

Laci’s family appeared on Larry King Live on February 25 in an effort to keep the case in public awareness. Sharon made the following plea:

We’re hoping that somebody out there knows something, but we know there is someone who knows something and if that person would just come forward and let us know where she is so that we can bring her home.

The first part of that sentence is clearly addressed to the public, but the second part is obviously meant for Scott Peterson.

On April 21, 2003, after Laci’s and Conner’s bodies were found on the shores of the San Francisco Bay, Sharon Rocha again addressed the public, taking care to send a special message to the person she held responsible for the murders. Scott Peterson had been arrested on the same day the bodies were positively identified. The following is an excerpt:

Laci meant the world to me. She was my only daughter. She was my best friend. We miss her beautiful smile, her laughter, her love, her kind and loving ways. I miss seeing her, talking to her and hugging her. We have been deprived of meeting and knowing Laci’s son, our grandson and nephew. We will miss them and mourn them for the rest of our lives.

Soon after Laci went missing I made a promise to her, that if she has been harmed we will seek justice for her and Conner and make sure that the person responsible for their deaths will be punished. I can only hope that the sound of Laci’s voice begging for her life, begging for the life of her unborn child, is heard over and over and over again in the mind of that person everyday for the rest of his life. The person responsible should be held accountable and punished for the tragedy and devastation forced upon so many.

A transcript of the complete statement can be read at www.findlaci2003.us.

Most everyone following the Michelle Young case has noticed and commented on its similarity to the Peterson case. While the list of similarities continues to grow as we learn more about the case, the main differences are the manner of death (bludgeoning in the Young case versus asphyxiation in the Peterson case), the existence of another child in the Young family, and, most importantly, the fact that Laci was missing for nearly four months whereas Michelle was found within hours of her murder.

I contend that the similarities between Michelle’s and Laci’s murders have not gone unnoticed by the Fisher family. Linda’s statement, though much briefer, seems to echo the more salient elements of Sharon Rocha’s various statements. I believe that both Linda Fisher and her younger daughter, Meredith, have, at minimum, strong suspicions as to Jason Young’s involvement in Michelle’s death. Ms. Fisher’s statement was her best attempt at communicating that suspicion, without flagrantly accusing Jason Young and potentially damaging the investigation and prosecution of the case, and petitioning the public’s assistance.

Oh…ForCryinOutLoud

Gerry Roberts, who bought Laci Peterson’s home from her estate, has put the house back on the market, claiming he can no longer afford the mortgage payments. As you may remember, he was fired from his realty job after claiming to have found a red-stained knife in a backyard cabinet. Apparently, he hasn’t been able to hold onto a job since. I wonder why.

Here’s a clue:

“I’ve had nothing but bad luck since I’ve owned that thing,” Roberts said.

Hmmm. And Roberts worked as a real estate agent? Okay.

Is this guy really that stupid, or is his obtuseness merely a safety net against any accusations of exploitation and unscrupulousness?

Good Grief!

Former Peterson juror, Richelle Nice, dubbed “Strawberry Shortcake” by the media, has become Scott Peterson’s pen-pal. Will wonders never cease?!

Nice said she wrote the first letter as an exercise suggested by her therapist, but she didn’t intend to mail it. She said she wanted to tell Peterson how the seven-month trial had turned her life upside down. The mother of four boys also wanted to know why he killed his wife, Laci Peterson.

Then she decided to mail it.

Somehow, I don’t think her therapist intended for her to mail it either.

This part doesn’t surpise me:

About a month later, she got a response.

It seems that prison life has not yet dimmed Scott Peterson’s desire to charm the ladies:

She said she was amazed at the tone of his letter. She said he’s polite and charming, often showering her with compliments. He even commented on her choice of a breast cancer awareness stamp.

Peterson also seems more concerned about how the trial affected her than himself.
“He talked a lot about those autopsy photos and how hard that must have been for the jurors to see,” Nice said.

Yes, I’m sure Scott’s concern for Richelle Nice is completely genuine.

This part doesn’t surprise me either:

He also repeatedly denied killing his wife, she said.

Did she think he would confess?

I hope Ms. Nice is continuing to see a therapist and that said therapist is vehemently discouraging her from continuing this “relationship” with Peterson. With that said, the timing of her revelation to the public is questionable; several of the Peterson jurors have collaborated on a book entitled “We the Jury” which is due out this fall. Richelle Nice is one of them. The New York Daily News reports that Richelle wrote seventeen letters to Peterson, encouraging him to confess to the murders, never informing him that she was writing a book. Peterson responded with eight letters and an Easter card.

Ms. Nice wants everyone to believe that she wrote to Peterson hoping to coax a confession from him. I believe that, but I don’t believe that the motive behind it was benevolence. This wasn’t about clearing Peterson’s conscience or easing her own. Fame and fortune are what she’s after. That’s my take.

7 Updates and a New 1

John Fiocco, Jr.’s parents have hired a lawyer, a private investigator, and Dr. Michael Baden to investigate their son’s death.

Baden said yesterday he has been on the Fiocco case for a few weeks at the request of the deceased 19-year-old TCNJ freshman’s relatives, who live in Mantua, Gloucester County.”The family wants to know why their son died and did anybody do harm to him?” Baden said, adding he has reached “no conclusions at all. We’re just in the process of gathering information.”

 

Good for them.

Lawyers in the Natalee Holloway case were in a New York courtroom yesterday arguing whether to dismiss or move the civil suit filed by her parents. They await a decision from the judge.

The Dorrian brothers, owners of The Falls, were slapped down hard by the State Liquor Authority for their offenses regarding the hiring of Darryl Littlejohn and lying to investigators of the Imette St. Guillen murder.

“He lied. He hedged. He ducked and weaved,” a police source said of Daniel Dorrian. “He did everything he could to avoid helping to find who killed this girl. All because he didn’t want to lose his liquor license. For money and greed.”

They may lose their liquor license. One can only hope. That should be the least of their punishment, in my opinion.

A Russellville detective opens up a little about the Nona Dirksmeyer investigation, defending his department against public criticism. There’s not really any new information in the article, but it’s interesting if you’ve been following the case. I think they did things right.

I hope I’m wrong, but I get the feeling that Tara Grinstead’s family is being taken for a ride by this so-called criminologist, Dr. Maurice Godwin.

Royal Caribbean is fishing with live bait again. Another passenger, Daniel DiPiero, has gone overboard, and, once again, their main concern is public relations. Daniel was drunk. It’s all his own fault, and Royal Caribbean’s hands are clean. Of course. Nevermind that nearly 12-hour gap between the time that a security camera captured Daniel going overboard and the time that the Coast Guard was notified. As you’ll remember, George Smith IV either fell or was pushed overboard during his honeymoon on a Royal Caribbean cruise of the Mediterranean.

Some members of the Peterson jury have their own book coming out this fall. I may read it if the opportunity arises, but I won’t be buying the book. Gloria Allred has made too much money on the case already.

www.tracytribble.com
The family of Tracy Tribble is asking for volunteers to help search for the 35-year-old redhead in western Iowa. She’s been missing from her Council Bluffs home since May 3rd. Or could it be May 2nd? Tracy was reportedly last seen by her husband before he left for work.

Stan Tribble told officers that he last saw Tracy before going to work at 6 a.m. When he returned home at 5:30 p.m., her car was still in the driveway, but she was nowhere to be found.

In addition to her vehicle, Tracy apparently left without her keys, purse, and cell phone. Her wallet, which contains her identification and a debit card, is missing from her purse, but there has been no activity on her account. Her dog was found wandering without its collar in a nearby cemetary. Contrary to the police stance that Stan Tribble is not a suspect, they have released a description of clothing that Tracy was wearing on May 2nd.

A coworker told officers that Tribble, 35, was wearing dark blue pants or jeans, a green sweater and a dark green jacket with a gray fleece lining.

Stan Tribble admits to police that he and Tracy had an argument the night before she disappeared, but denies assaulting her. Police have been called to the Tribble residence on more than one occasion for incidents of domestic violence, and last week filed charges against Stan for an April assault on his wife. Police have stated that so far there is nothing to indicate that Stan Tribble is responsible for his wife’s disappearance, but as the last to see her, he is certainly a person of interest. Police say that Stan has been contacting friends in trying to locate Tracy. Tribble was, at first, cooperative with investigators, submitting to an interview on May 8 and allowing them access to the home at 133 Benton St., but has since hired a lawyer and required a search warrant for further searches of the home. The results of the search warrant executed on May 11 have been sealed, so it isn’t know what, if anything, was found. Friend and former boyfriend Bryon Batchelder told reporters that the couple had had a bad argument the night of May 2 and describes Tracy as distraught afterward. Batchelder has taken a leave of absence from his job in Las Vegas to look for Tracy and doesn’t intend to return until she is found.

Another search is planned for this Saturday, and a $75,000 reward for information as to Tracy’s whereabouts is being offered. Anyone with information is asked to call Council Bluffs police at (712) 328-4764 or the non-emergency number at (712) 328-5737. Tracy’s family has set up a tip-line — (402) 218-1199 — for anyone who may be too intimidated to call police.

Christine Gaines, Tribble’s stepsister, said that the line was established to encourage anyone who might be afraid to call police with information about her sister’s disappearance.

“We hope that this line will open up some opportunities to find new information,” Gaines said.

Police have investigated a couple of tips received by the family, according to Gaines, but no new evidence has turned up.

Gaines also asked that if anyone in the community remembers seeing anything suspicious on rural roads in the last two weeks, to notify authorities.

 

I wonder if that rural road request is just based on a hunch or if it’s the result of something found in searches of the home and both vehicles.

Crime Scene A: 523 Covena

If you’ve done any exploring of my blog, you are probably aware that I have a slight obsession with the Laci Peterson case. I readily admit that it’s a big part of the reason I created this site. So, any who consider the investigation a done deal will just have to pardon me while I revisit the crime scene.

On Christmas Eve of 2002, Scott Peterson returned home from a “fishing” trip at the San Francisco Bay. He estimates his arrival at approximately 4:30 pm; however, witness testimony places his return closer to 5 pm. He and his pregnant wife Laci were due to have dinner at her parents’ home at 6:00 that evening. Laci’s Land Rover was parked in the driveway, as it had been when he left that morning. All entrances to the couple’s home are fully enclosed by a privacy fence. Peterson entered his residence by way of the north gate, which accesses a covered patio area adjacent to the “backyard”.

Click the above image for an enlargement of the 523 Covena floorplan.
I have added a few labels and placed blue dots to mark the approximate positions of the mop bucket. All images can be enlarged with a click.

Inside the yard, Peterson encountered McKenzie, the couple’s golden retriever, dragging his leash. Per Scott’s statement, Laci had planned to walk the dog in a nearby park that morning. Had Scott Peterson been innocent in the murders of his wife and unborn son, this should have been the first red flag — an indication that something was amiss. However, Scott merely removed the leash from the dog’s collar and laid it aside. In light of his subsequent actions, this oddity apparently caused not the slightest bit of alarm.

Housekeeper, Margarita Nava, had mopped the floors the previous day in preparation for a Christmas brunch to which several family members were invited. Perhaps in consideration of Laci’s preparations, Scott removed his wet, dirty shoes before entering the house through the French doors. In contradiction to that accommodating act, he claims that he allowed the dog and cat to follow him inside. The cat immediately ran over to a bucket full of water near the front door. Concerned that the cat would either drink out of the bucket or knock it over (“yeah, right” on both), Scott picked up the bucket and carried it outside, where he dumped the water and left the bucket on the walkway. However, rather than taking it out the nearest exit, the main entrance, he toted it through the kitchen and the den to a small side-door near the laundry room. In his statement to Detective Brocchini, Scott made no mention of the mop and claimed to have taken the bucket out immediately upon entering the house. Yet when responding officers arrived at the house more than an hour later, the mop was standing in the bucket and the pavement beneath was still wet. A second mop — the one used by Ms. Nava on the 23rd — was there also.

Another inconsistency with Peterson’s claim that Laci was mopping that morning is his statement that she intended to bake gingerbread that day. It seems more logical that Laci would have mopped after her kitchen work was complete so that the floors would be spotless for the arrival of her brunch guests the following morning. Speaking of gingerbread…that brings me back to the afore-mentioned red flags and Scott’s failure to take note. With less than an hour to spare before the couple was due at her mother’s house, Laci was absent. She wasn’t in the bedroom getting dressed, or primping in the bathroom, or even putting the finishing touches on whatever gifts or edibles she intended to present that evening. She was gone. Her car (with her cell phone inside) was in the driveway, her purse was in the bedroom closet, but Laci was nowhere to be found and hadn’t even left a note for her husband. There was no evidence — no gingerbread, no dirty or freshly washed bakeware, no aroma — nothing to indicate that Laci had done any baking or made any other preparations throughout the day. Still, no alarm bells sounded for the loving and attentive husband. Instead, apparently oblivious to the flashing message light on the answering machine, Scott wolfed down a couple of slices of leftover pizza and a glass of milk before throwing his fishing clothes in the washing machine and hopping in the shower.

The two tales of the mop bucket and cleaning rags — Scott’s versus Ms. Nava’s — are curious in their disparate nature. According to Scott, Laci was mopping the floor in front of the French doors when he left the house that morning. Because of her advanced stage of pregnancy, she was unable (again, according to Scott) to carry heavy items such as the bucket of water he filled for her, so he set it in the main entryway near a cubby-style divider between the dining room and kitchen sitting area. This, in and of itself, seems odd to me; why not set it nearer the area that Laci needed to mop — the vicinity of the French doors, where the family pets track dirt and debris in from the yard? Ostensibly, the pets are the reason Laci needed to mop that morning, being that the housekeeper had mopped the floors throughout the house less than 24 hours earlier.

Margarita Nava gave the Peterson’s house a thorough cleaning on December 23rd. In addition to mopping the floors, she cleaned the bathrooms, baseboards, windows, and a couple of exterior doors. She used a number of white, terrycloth rags in doing so. Ms. Nava states that when she was finished with her duties, she set the mop outside, where it appears in the above photograph, and placed the cleaning rags in the mop bucket, which she set atop the washing machine. When asked if she may have put the rags directly in the washing machine, Ms. Nava replied, “Never.”

Now back to Scott’s statement: Peterson claims that his clothing was wet, salty and sandy from his fishing trip in the bay, so he stripped down and threw them in the washer before heading to the shower. According to his statement, the cleaning rags were inside the washing machine; he removed them and put his soiled clothing in, adding detergent and starting the wash cycle — possibly even washing them twice.

Examine this evidence photo and determine for yourself whose statement it corroborates. Peterson’s clothes were inside the washing machine when this photograph was taken. I contend that this photo proves Scott the liar. If the rags had been inside the machine, as he states, why then are they on top of the washing machine lid with his clothes inside? If he had removed them from the tub, he would have had to set them either on top of the dryer or on the floor in order to get his clothes off of his body and into the washer, closing the lid afterwards. Does it make any sense that he would have moved them back to the washer lid after starting the machine? Didn’t he intend to put the clean clothes in the dryer? The explanation is simple. The rags are on top of the washer because no mopping was done until after the laundry was started. He dumped the rags out of the bucket onto the machine lid in order to use the bucket and the second mop. It was Scott, not Laci, who mopped the floor on the 24th, and he did so after returning from the bay, most likely after taking a shower, certainly after starting the wash, and probably even after calling Sharon to tell her, “Laci’s missing!” Laci was already dead and at the bottom of the San Francisco Bay when the floor was mopped. But you already knew that. The bigger mystery is “What area did Scott mop and why?”

If Scott’s fabrications regarding Laci’s activities that morning are not enough to indicate that she never left the house alive on December 24, consider these photographs of the master bedroom. It can plainly be seen that the bed is not properly made — certainly not to the standards of a woman who showed such care and consideration to detail in her home as did Laci Peterson. The comforter is sloppily pulled up over the bed pillows, and the second set of sham-covered pillows still rest in a nearby chair. Laci did not make that bed, nor did she oversee the making of it. It can also be seen that there’s a large impression in the comforter at the foot of the bed. Some speculate that Laci’s body may have lain across it before Peterson moved her to the bed of his pickup, where he camouflaged it with patio umbrellas wrapped in a blue tarp. Scott told Detective Brocchini that he had loaded the umbrellas that morning, intending to store them at his warehouse; however they were still in the back of his truck when he returned home that afternoon. The umbrellas and tarp are viewable in this photograph of the Peterson’s covered patio. The top half of the umbrellas are leaning against the ivy covered privacy fence, and the blue tarp is folded and wadded up on top of the lawn mower in the adjacent shed.
The lower half of each umbrella was still in its respective weighted base in the covered patio. Odd that Peterson intended to store the umbrella tops for the winter, but nevermind the other half of the poles. There were two blue tarps — one in which Laci’s body was wrapped and a second to make a similar looking package of the market umbrellas. The former may have been found very early in the search of the San Francisco Bay. A blue tarp was found in the water off the coast of Cesar Chavez State Park, not far from the area where Laci’s body was believed to have been submerged. A cadaver dog showed great interest in the tarp, even after it had been stowed in an onboard compartment.

As can be seen in this series of photographs and the diagram below, the route which Peterson used to remove Laci’s body from the house has hard surface flooring. The bedrooms, hallway, dining room and sitting room have hardwood floors. The kitchen, bathrooms, and a traffic area in the den have terra cotta tile. The remainder of the den is carpeted. It’s possible that the tarp-wrapped body left drag marks on the recently cleaned hardwood and/or tile, and that’s why Scott decided to give it a once-over with the mop. Another possibility is that, although he removed his shoes, his socks (or perhaps just his jeans) were wet with saltwater and muck from the bay, leaving tracks across the immaculate floors as he traipsed through the house.

Not drawn to scale

I think it’s more likely that he was cleaning up after himself rather than the removal of the body. Otherwise, he would have noticed the accordian-scrunched rug, where he’d dragged Laci’s body out the door, and straightened it up before police arrived. At that point, it isn’t unlikely that he was still planning to use the golf alibi and intended to keep his trip to the bay and his new boat under wraps. The quickness with which the Modesto police responded and began investigating the case as a “suspicious missing person” probably forced him to switch to the absurd excuse of a Christmas Eve fishing trip some 90 miles away.

Based on observations at 523 Covena, it isn’t any wonder that police were suspicious of Scott Peterson. Add to that his odd behavior, inconsistent claims about his and Laci’s activities for the day, and an implausible alibi, and it’s easy to see why the man with the ice-cold facade was deemed hot by investigators.

Coming Soon — Crime Scene B: Tradecorp Warehouse

Poor, Poor, Pitiful Me

Jackie Peterson pretended at being the downtrodden .

It failed to attain for her the desired result.

She left in a huff.

Sound familiar?

Jackie Peterson suggested that Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge David Vander Wall look past the fact that she was appearing without a lawyer and that she might not have followed all the correct legal procedures.

“They know I was making the payments, and the estate profited unfairly from these payments,” she said. “The house was neglected and rundown. I’m not looking to prolong the close of this or to profit from it. I just want to be reimbursed.”

Judge Vander Wall was brief in his response. “I don’t think there’s any basis for a creditor’s claim,” he said.

Justice served.

This is my favorite part:

Jackie Peterson had no comment after the hearing. When asked how Scott was doing, his sister, Susan Caudillo, responded: “He’s an innocent man. How do you think he’s doing?”

How deep is denial?

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Links to more Laci Peterson entries:

Hodgepodge of Updates

A DNA match has linked Darryl Littlejohn, the New York bouncer accused in the rape and murder of Imette St. Guillen, to at least one additional attack.

NY1 News
WABC-7

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Westport News has a lengthy article (with lousy format) about George Smith IV and his family’s fight for justice on his behalf. His mother, Maureen, provides some background and insight. The rift between George’s widow, Jennifer Hagel-Smith, and his family is acknowledged, but no further information provided.

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Dave Holloway has written a book about the disappearance of his daughter, Natalee, and his experiences with the Aruban justice (Is that an oxymoron?) system. Read an excerpt of the newly released Aruba: The Tragic Untold Story of Natalee Holloway and Corruption in Paradise here.

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Neil Entwistle is due to be arraigned for the murders of his wife and daughter, Rachel and Lillian Enwistle, in Middlesex Superior Court tomorrow .

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And last but not least, Laci Peterson

Kimberly Guilfoyle, host of Fox News’ The Lineup, interviewed Ron Grantski over the weekend. She’s written a brief article — The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree — regarding Scott Peterson and his parents and wants to hear what you think.

"We want those!"

Jackie Peterson wants $35,000 from Laci Peterson’s estate as reimbursement for payments she made toward the mortgage, taxes, and maintenance of Scott and Laci Peterson’s home after Laci and Conner were murdered by her son. I don’t know whether Laci’s estate has any responsibility in reimbursing Mrs. Peterson. If it does, it seems to me the estate should be required to pay no more than half that sum. Scott and Laci Peterson were co-owners of 523 Covena. Perhaps Mrs. Peterson should sue her son for $17,500. She’ll have to get in line behind Sharon and Dennis Rocha. They have a $25 million wrongful death claim against the deathrow inmate, scheduled to go to trial in September.

Lee and Jackie also want Laci’s $250,000 life insurance proceeds, which a judge granted to Laci’s mother in December.

Have they no shame?