Targets of search identified

March 8, 2003 

Police investigating Laci Peterson's disappearance obtained court permission to search an envelope recovered in one of her husband's vehicles, and a storage unit, court records show.

The storage unit is at Security Public Storage on Woodland Avenue in Modesto, according to a document filed in Stanislaus County Superior Court.

Authority to search the unit came as part of a warrant issued for a Feb. 19 search of the Peterson home in Modesto and Scott Peterson's 2002 Dodge Dakota pickup.

Details of those searches have not been made public.

The Feb. 19 search was the second one to take place at the Peterson home on Covena Avenue. The first was Dec. 26 and 27, just days after Laci Peterson was reported missing.

Peterson, 27, was eight months pregnant at the time. Her due date passed in mid-February. Her husband, 30, has denied having anything to do with his wife's disappearance; police say he is not a suspect, nor has he been ruled out.

During the most recent search, authorities drove off in the Dodge pickup and returned it about four hours later.

A manager at Security Public Storage said she did not know if police searched a unit there as part of the investigation. The storage facility is several blocks from a warehouse that Scott Peterson uses in connection with his business as a fertilizer salesman. Police searched the warehouse on Dec. 27.

Another court document shows that police obtained a search warrant for an envelope recovered in one of Scott Peterson's vehicles.

Before he acquired the Dodge pickup, he had a Ford F-150 truck -- which is still in police possession. His wife drove a Land Rover, which police took and then returned to her husband. He then traded it in for the Dodge.

The court document does not specify in which vehicle the envelope was found.

Detective Doug Ridenour, police spokesman, declined to comment on the warrants.

On Feb. 27, Judge Wray Ladine sealed the warrant for the envelope and the the warrant that covered the Dodge truck, storage unit and Peterson home.

Bee staff writer John Coté can be reached at 578-2394 or jcote@modbee.com.

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