Other woman comes forward in missing Modesto woman case

MODESTO, Calif. -- A woman came forward late Friday and confirmed that she had an intimate romantic relationship with the husband of missing substitute teacher, Laci Peterson.

Amber Frey, 28, said she was introduced to Scott Peterson in November and was told he was single, information he confirmed with her though she now knows it to be false.

"I was introduced to him. I was told he was unmarried," Frey nervously told a roomful of reporters gathered at the Modesto Police Department.

Frey said she came forward on her own because she was being repeatedly contacted by members of the press for details about the extramarital relationship.

Modesto Police Det. Doug Ridenour said Frey has been eliminated as a suspect in the disappearance of the pregnant Laci Peterson, who was reported missing by her husband on Christmas Eve.

"Scott told me he was not married," Frey said, choking back tears.

"When I discovered he was involved in the Laci Peterson disappearance case, I immediately called the Modesto Police Department," she added.

The news conference wrapped up quickly after her brief comments and investigators refused to discuss little else about the case.

Neither Peterson nor his attorney immediately returned telephone calls placed Friday seeking comment. But his sister-in-law, Janey Peterson, defended him during a series of evening calls to national television networks.

"There is absolutely no way Scott had anything to do with Laci's disappearance," she told CNN's Connie Chung Friday prior to Frey's admission.

Janey Peterson said she was unaware of any affair, "and frankly, it wouldn't matter. It's a distraction from what our primary focus needs to be, and that's to bring Laci home."

Back in Modesto, Ridenour also refused to confirm nor deny any knowledge of a $250,000 life insurance policy Peterson may have taken out on his wife, as reported recently by The Modesto Bee which quoted an unnamed family member.

Police called Frey's frank admission "courageous."

Frey is a single mother of a 23-month-old child, but neither she nor police would divulge her hometown. Frey did not answer questions after she made her statements.

Frey's admission came on an emotional day for Laci Peterson's relatives. The family initially supported Scott Peterson, but last week began to distance themselves, saying police showed them pictures of him with another woman they believe to be a girlfriend.

That woman turned out to be Frey.

Scott Peterson, 30, was conspicuously absent from the news conference held by his wife's family earlier in the day in Modesto. He had repeatedly denied involvement with another woman.

Sharon Rocha, Laci Peterson's mother, begged for information or for an anonymous tip to police that could lead to her daughter's return.

"There are no words that can possibly describe the ache in my heart or the emptiness in my life," she said. "I know someone knows where Laci is. I am pleading with you to please, please let her come home."

Laci Peterson's 21-year-old sister, Amy, managed only one sentence before breaking into tears at the press conference. "This month has been the most painful I've ever experienced," she said.

The Rocha family thanked volunteers and investigators searching for Laci Peterson who's been missing since the morning of Christmas Eve. She's due to deliver a baby boy Feb. 10.

Her husband said he last saw her about 9:30 a.m. as he left to go fishing 85 miles away at the Berkeley Marina. Repeated police searches of marina waters have produced no sign of the missing woman, nor have police been able to find witnesses who saw Scott Peterson at the marina.

Modesto Police have searched hundreds of square miles of Stanislaus County creeks, rivers, irrigation canals and reservoirs, and expanded the search to neighboring counties without success. Police told the Peterson family within a week of her disappearance that they suspected foul play.

Police have not labeled Peterson a suspect but say they haven't ruled him out. He has reportedly declined to take lie detector tests and has retained a criminal defense attorney in Modesto.

Frey said she too hoped for Laci Peterson's return.

"I'm very sorry for Laci's family and the pain that this has caused them and I pray for her safe return as well," Frey said.


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