PI's discovery piques interest

March 5, 2003 

A private investigator looking into Laci Peterson's disappearance said police plan to look at some spilled concrete mix he found near the Delta- Mendota Canal.

Bill Garcia said he found the concrete Monday and videotaped the scene. "I was contacted by investigators (Tuesday) and they said they are going to take a closer look at it," Garcia said.

The spot, which looks to be less than three months old, looks like a half bag of concrete mix was spilled from the back of a trailer or truck that was backed up against the canal, he said. The spot, on the edge of the canal about 20 feet off of the road, has a track in it that looks like it's from a trailer tire, Garcia said.

Detective Doug Ridenour, spokesman for the Modesto Police Department, said he could not comment about any aspect of the investigation. He said police did not seek Garcia's help and became aware he was in the area through calls from reporters.

Peterson's stepfather reported the 27-year-old pregnant woman missing Dec. 24. Her husband, Scott, said he went fishing that day and last saw her at 9:30 a.m. as he left the house.

Bill Garcia Investigative Services mainly looks into family law cases, Garcia said. However, his firm also has been involved in several high-profile missing persons cases in the past few years.

He worked on the case of 2-year-old Jahi Turner last year. The boy disappeared from a park while his father was buying a soda from a machine.

A team of volunteers he put together found Danielle Van Dam's body last year.

In January, Garcia found Philip Salcedo Jr., an armored car driver accused of stealing $3 million from his company and fleeing to Mexico. Garcia was working for Salcedo's family, who hoped to convince the accused man to come back to the United States and surrender.

Garcia said he has spoken to the families of Scott and Laci Peterson, but neither has hired him. Instead he's in the area to see if he can make a dent in the case.

"We are here because we are just nosy people," Garcia said.

Of course, he added, he's also a businessman. If his investigation does help solve the missing case, he said he would be interested in some type of compensation.

"We are here for the long haul," Garcia said. "But it will all be based on our finances and how quickly we can cover these areas."

Bee staff writer Patrick Giblin can be reached at 578-2347 or pgiblin@modbee.com.

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