Special day bittersweet

02/10/2003 8:10 AM

11/20/2007 5:56 AM

Today is the day Laci Peterson's family expected her to give birth to a son.

In honor of her and the unborn baby, her friends and family plan to gather, say a prayer, light some candles and read a poem.

Meanwhile, relatives have vowed to keep searching for the 27-year-old Modesto woman who disappeared Christmas Eve.

Jackie Peterson, husband Scott Peterson's mother, said the family has worked since the volunteer center in Modesto closed to contact hotels, clinics, birthing centers and hospitals.

"We have the California Registered Nurses Association help in e-mailing all their registers to view Laci's Web site and note the urgency of delivery date," Jackie Peterson wrote Friday in an e-mail to The Bee. "They also are attempting to do this on a nationwide level with their counterparts."

During an interview with Diane Sawyer for ABC Television's "Good Morning America," Scott Peterson didn't correct Sawyer when she said Feb. 16 was his wife's due date.

Laci Peterson's family maintains that her due date is today. "We have checked and her due date is Feb. 10," her stepfather, Ron Grantski of Modesto, said last week.

Scott and Laci Peterson already know the baby's sex -- a boy -- and have picked a name, Connor or Conner.

The nursery had been prepared in their Covena Avenue home when Laci Peterson disappeared nearly seven weeks ago. Scott Peterson has told police that he last saw his wife at about 9:30 a.m. Dec. 24, as he left for a fishing trip and she was getting ready to walk their dog.

Police have not named him as a suspect in his wife's disappearance, nor have they ruled him out.

People looking for Laci Peterson haven't narrowed their hopes exclusively on medical clinics. Saturday, several hundred volunteers searched along the Delta-Mendota Canal at Interstate 5 and Highway 132. More searches are planned.

Modesto Police Sgt. Chris Fuzie said Sunday that nothing significant was found. "But the search goes on," he said. "We will continue to do everything we can to bring her home."

This evening, about 20 of Laci Peterson's friends and family members will meet, family friend Terri Western said.

Western said the group wants to keep the gathering low-key and private.

"We aren't prepared to handle thousands of people and a rush of media," she said Sunday. "It's something that Laci's friends really wanted to do."

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

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