Excerpts from a Jan. 6 telephone call between Scott Peterson and Amber Frey, recorded by Frey with Detective Jon Buehler present:
Peterson: I'm so sorry this happened. I don't want to do this over the phone.
Frey: What are you talking about?
Peterson: It's the worst thing. I'm sorry, Amber. Well, I'll just tell you. You haven't been watching the news obviously.
Peterson: I have not been traveling during the last couple weeks. I have lied to you that I've been traveling. The girl I'm married to, her name is Laci. She disappeared just before Christmas. For the past two weeks I've been in Modesto with her family and mine searching for her. She just disappeared and no one knows where she's been.
Frey: You came to me early in December and told me you had lost your wife. What was that about?
Peterson: She's alive.
Peterson: In Modesto. Now I know this is the hardest, I wanted to tell you in person. You need to protect yourself from the media. Do you even watch the news at all? Well, you haven't, obviously. The media has been telling everyone that I had something to do with her disappearance. So the past two weeks I've been hunted by the media. And I don't want you to be involved in this to protect yourself. I know I've destroyed God, I hope this doesn't hurt you.
Frey: How could it not affect me? How could you possibly think this would not affect me?
Peterson: Well, I know it does.
Frey: You never answered my question, Scott.
Peterson: Sweetie, you don't, I can't, I can't say anymore.
Frey: I think I deserve
Peterson: You deserve so much better. There's no question you deserve so much better.
Frey: I deserve an explanation of why you told me you lost your wife, and these were the first holidays you'd spend without her. That was Dec. 9. You told me this and now all of a sudden your wife's missing. Are you kidding me?
Peterson: I, I, I don't know what to say.
Frey: I think an explanation would be a start.
Peterson: I know you absolutely deserve an explanation, Sweetie.
Frey: I absolutely do.
Peterson: I, I want to give you one.
Frey: I'm listening.
Peterson: I can't now. You don't understand. You don't understand the situation and
Frey: Why don't you fill me in on the situation? Then maybe I can understand.
Peterson: I can't now. I'm so sorry for that.
Frey: Why can't you? Why?
Peterson: It's to protect all of us.
Frey: To protect all of us? So where is she?
Peterson: That's what we are trying to find out. It's a nationwide search. I mean, it's a half-million dollar reward leading to her safe return.
Frey: So again, you never answered my question. Why did you tell me it would be the first holidays without her?
Peterson: I can't. Sweetie, I can't explain any more now.
Frey: When can
Peterson: I'm so sorry. You should be so angry at me and God, I hope you are.
Frey: Yeah. Isn't that what you told me before?
Peterson: Well, it would be so much easier if you would hate me and not want to talk to me.
Frey: You told me you lost your wife. You sat there in front of me and cried and broke down. I sat there and held your hand, Scott. I comforted you. And you were lying to me.
Peterson: I lied to you about traveling, yeah
Frey: Among everything else. That's just an added -- is it that you're just not going to answer? What's stopping you from answering?
Peterson: (Unintelligible) things.
Frey: And how do you explain all of a sudden you tell me it's a national search?
Peterson: If you think I had something to do with her disappearance, then you're so wrong.
Frey: Really? How long were you looking for me, Scott?
Peterson: I'm sorry?
Frey: Isn't that what you told Shawn (Frey's best friend, who arranged for them to meet), you were looking for me?
You say you can't tell me, you want to tell me in person. When were you going to tell me in person, Scott?
Peterson: Once we find her. And that will be, I mean, resolution, and I will be able to explain everything to you.
Frey: When you find her?
Peterson: I know you can't trust me. I can never ask you to do that. But I just, I, I had to tell you.
Frey: But didn't you say, 'Amber, I will do anything for you to trust me. Baby, I feel we have a future together?' What was that about?
Peterson: I never said anything to you that I didn't mean.
Frey: You never told me anything you didn't mean?
Peterson: I lied to you about things. I did.
Frey: Uh huh. So how am I going to stay out of this? How do you see that happening, or I'm not going to be dragged in or involved in this? How is that, Scott, can you answer that?
Peterson: I don't know. But you don't deserve to be
Frey: I don't deserve to be. You're right.
Peterson: You don't deserve the things I've done to you. I'm sorry. Hey, I agree with you, I want to explain everything to you. But I can't.
Peterson: Primarily for protection for everyone.
Frey: Protection of who?
Frey: Who is everyone?
Peterson: Everyone is you, me, our families.
Frey: Everyone that would possibly look at you a little differently because who the hell am I? I asked you, is there anybody else? 'Oh, no, I'm not I'm monogamous, as far as I'm concerned '
Peterson: I never cheated on you.
Peterson: I never did.
Frey: You're married. How do you figure, you never cheated on me? Explain that one to me.
Peterson: I want to explain to you, Amber. I will. No, no, I will.
Peterson: I hope, I, God, I hope to hell that you will listen to me and that I can. I want to explain it to you so bad. I hope, and I can never ask you to trust me or even listen to me again.
Frey: There's no way. There's no way I possibly can.
Peterson: I know it. I could never ask you to do it. And I just hope that sometime in the future you'll let me tell you the whole story.
Frey: You know what makes a lot more sense to me now, Scott?
Peterson: What's that?
Frey: Of course you couldn't tell me the story about your wife because it hadn't happened yet and you were hoping to resolve it in January, that it would be resolved and you'd have a story to tell me.
Peterson: Sweetie, you think I had something to do with her disappearance?
Frey: Let's see. How can I believe that? How could I believe anything?
Peterson: I am not evil like that.
Frey: I would hope not.
Peterson: I am Oh, my God.
Frey: You know you've lied to me. I was thinking, you know how people I've given your picture to, or of us on Christmas cards. You're telling me you want to keep me out of this and (my daughter) and you want to protect me from that. I'm just so at a loss.
Peterson: I'm so sorry this has happened to you. It hurts.
Frey: It hurts me.
Peterson: It hurts me to believe that I could have something to do with her disappearance. But I understand your anger.
Frey: Actually, I have not said that. Those words have not come out of my mouth, Scott, now have they?
Peterson: Everyone has been pointing the finger at me and I just
Frey: No, those came out of your mouth, and I am not one to judge. There's only one.
Peterson: That's very true.
Frey: Isn't that ironic how, Scott, when I first met you on our date, how you told me that you were going to Maine with your family and you were going to Paris and Europe and all these things? And you came and told me this elaborate lie about her missing and this tragedy? And this will be your first holidays without her?
Peterson: God, I don't want to fight with you. You know I never said tragedy or missing.
Frey: Oh, yes, you said you lost your wife.
Peterson: No. That, that yes.
Frey: How did you lose her then before she was lost? Explain that.
Peterson: There's different kinds of loss, Amber.
Frey: Then explain your loss.
Peterson: I, I can't now.
Frey: Why? When can you? When my name has been smeared all over tabloids and everything else because I'm the lover, I'm the girlfriend?
Peterson: You don't deserve that.
Frey: No, I don't deserve this. And you say you've been faithful to me. 'Oh, some people I tell I've been married and other people I say I never have because it's too painful for me.'"
Peterson: I've lied to you.
Frey: Oh, more than, many times. So Scott, what about your baby? Laci is a missing woman, pregnant, is that what you just said?
Frey: Really. So is that why ?
Peterson: I want to explain all this to you.
Frey: I'm listening.
Peterson: And I just I can't ask you to trust me. But will you give me a chance later to explain?
Frey: Later when?
Peterson: You will thank me.
Frey: I will thank you for what?
Peterson: You will thank me for not explaining it now.
Peterson: Amber, this is the hardest thing, you can't even believe that I understand.
Frey: Is that why you said you didn't want to have any children and (my daughter) was the only child you ever see of having? And at that point, assuming we're together, you would have her as your own? Why would you tell me that when you were expecting a baby?
Peterson: Sweetie, I'm so sorry that I can't tell you everything now.
Frey: Why can't you tell me everything? Why?
Peterson: It just has entirely too many repercussions and they're not all for me.
Frey: What repercussions?
Peterson: If I was to explain everything to you
Peterson: And you know, the media started attacking you or anything else, so many people would be hurt.
Frey: So now you and I
Peterson: I destroyed
Frey: You and I, assuming we would be together, how else would you explain this baby you brought into this world?
Peterson: I'm sorry.
Frey: How would you explain your baby to me?
Peterson: Sweetie, you don't know everything.
Frey: No, I don't, so what is it?
Peterson: I want to tell you everything that I can.
Frey: OK, are you listening to me?
Peterson: I am.
Frey: OK. Assuming we would stay together and you talk about all these future things with me, how would you explain a newborn child of yours? I mean, I would assume she would want you to have regular visits with this child, right?
Peterson: Sweetie, I'm so sorry but I can't tell you about those things right now.
Frey: Why, why, why not right now? Now, is this child yours?
Peterson: Sweetie, I'm sorry. Amber, I cannot tell you.
Frey: Is this child yours?
Peterson: I can't tell you all these things now.
Peterson: The only thing, I just, I needed you to know, I hope that, um, you are not, God, I, I, I think I know I hurt you.
Frey: You hope what?
Peterson: Amber, I just hope that I mean you don't get hurt more by this than I'm doing.
Frey: You don't know what I've gone through, and for you to have no compassion for me
Peterson: I hope you don't think that's true.
Frey: You know actions speak louder than words.
Peterson: That's true.
Frey: That's one thing for you to ponder on for a while.
Peterson: It's true. I deserve anything you say. There's no question.
Frey: So tell me, Scott, why should I not go to the police with this?
Peterson: It's your decision.
Peterson: Of course.
Frey: What do you see happening?
Peterson: I imagine
Frey: Go ahead.
Peterson: well, I mean, you know, I don't know. Obviously they would question you. They would want to know everything. But it's your decision, of course. I want to tell you everything that happened. And I wanted to tell you that I lied to you.
Frey: And what stopped you from ?
Peterson: You know, I made excuses. I justified it to myself by saying, 'Well you know she (unintelligible regarding her former boyfriend), she just had a fight with her sister, don't tell her.' No, no, it was probably just weakness and hoping I could hold onto you.
Frey: Just weakness and holding onto me?
Peterson: Longing to hold onto you. I deserve everything that you want to say to me. I'm sorry, Amber.