- The Washington Times - Monday, February 10, 2003

MODESTO, Calif., Feb. 10 (UPI) — Hospitals and birthing centers were urged to be particularly vigilant Monday in the event that Laci Peterson, who reportedly disappeared from her northern California neighborhood on Christmas Eve day, arrives at their medical facility to give birth to her first child as scheduled.

Peterson, 27, was eight months pregnant when she was last seen and had been scheduled to deliver her son — already named Connor — on Feb. 10.

"Her family asks that hospital emergency rooms, obstetrics units and private birthing clinics everywhere keep a sharp eye out," read a notice posted Monday on the missing woman's Web site, lacipeterson.com.

Friends and members of the Modesto substitute teacher's family planned to get together Monday evening for a private vigil on what had been expected to be the joyous occasion of Connor's birth. Instead, Peterson's kin will have only the results of fruitless volunteer searches and their growing suspicions about the role that Laci's husband, Scott, might have played in her disappearance.

Scott Peterson has not been charged in connection with the disappearance of his wife nor has he been ruled out as a possible suspect. His relationship with his wife's side of the family has deteriorated over what they see as his lack of cooperation with Modesto police and revelations that he had been having an affair with a woman in Fresno who is coincidentally also celebrating a birthday Feb. 10.

Scott Peterson told police that he left his suburban house on the morning of Christmas Eve for an unaccompanied fishing trip on San Francisco Bay, about 60 miles west of Modesto. He said that his wife had planned to take the couple's dog for a walk on a dirt trail later that morning and he was unable to contact her by telephone when he returned to shore that afternoon.

It is not known if he ever contacted Laci's obstetrician to see if she had possibly given birth early or had been hospitalized due to an early labor.

Police and volunteers quickly scoured the neighborhood and found no trace of Laci. Scott Peterson's neighbor said she had found the Peterson dog wandering around near the house with its leash still attached to its collar.

Laci Peterson is described as Caucasian, 5-foot-1, 145 pounds with shoulder-length brown hair and eyes. Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to call the Modesto police at (209) 342-6166.

(Reported by Hil Anderson in Los Angeles)

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