The Murder of Laci Peterson
An Investigation Begins
Scott Peterson told them he'd been out all day: He went to his office that morning, went fishing, then returned to his office for a few hours before coming home. Unasked, he insisted on showing police his parking receipt from the lot at the Berkeley Marina.
Harvey Kemple, on Laci's side of the family, later said that Peterson had told him that night that he'd been playing golf that day, presumably at the Del Rio, a country club where Peterson's parents had paid his hefty initiation fee. A neighbor whom Peterson asked about Laci also recalled that he said he'd been golfing.
Questioned about that discrepancy, Peterson explained that it was too cold to golf that day. But evidently he had thought it balmy enough to sit in a boat, splashed by the waves of the December Pacific. After dodging the question of what he'd been fishing for, he finally told police he'd been trolling for sturgeon; experts would note that his fishing tackle had the wrong lures and it was the wrong season.
Ron Grantski, Laci's stepfather, asserted during his testimony at trial that right away he knew the fishing story was fishy. He said he'd asked Peterson if he was trying to cover up a meeting with a girlfriend. Grantski testifiefd that Peterson had never before seemed interested in fishing and he noted that, with one exception, Peterson had never taken him up on his offer to fish together. That one time Peterson did accompany him, Peterson left his rod at Grantski's house and never picked it up. Grantski also noted that, while Peterson had bought the 14-foot aluminum boat police connected to Laci's disappearance that fall, he'd never mentioned it the many times Grantski brought up boating and fishing. Furthermore, Grantski scoffed at Peterson's fishing schedule: 9:30 a.m. would be the time a good fisherman might be returning, not when he would set out.
The fishing story wasn't the only thing Peterson said that night that seemed suspicious. He told his mother-in-law that he wouldn't be surprised if they found blood in his truck, since he cut himself all the time. And when officers brought him to the warehouse that served as his office, he told them it didn't have electricityright before they discussed the fax he'd received there that morning on the machine hooked up to the computer right in front of them.
They never did find out what Peterson was trying to conceal with his misstatement in his office, but police expected foul play almost immediately.