Mike Chiavetta, a neighbor of Peterson's in the La Loma district of Modesto, said he told police that he clearly remembers seeing the golden retriever, McKenzie, at about 10:45 a.m. as Chiavetta played catch with his own dog.
He said he cannot be sure, but someone may have been walking the dog along a fence next to an orchard. "I remember looking over, and, in my mind, I see a woman with a big white smock and black leggings."
said he clearly remembers seeing dozens of people in the park that day. He said he ran into an acquaintance and they remarked on the large number of parkgoers who, they surmised, were off work the day before Christmas and enjoying the sunshine.
Others who say they saw Peterson and her dog that day also remembered clear weather. But data at the Western Regional Climate Center show fairly clear weather in Modesto on Dec. 22 and 23, with mist setting in at about 6 p.m. Dec. 23 and lasting at least through Christmas.
I thought it wise to check the weather for Modesto from December 22 through December 25, 2002, so you can judge for yourself whether the ModBee or the witnesses accurately reported the weather, but in my opinion, it definitely was not misty from 6 p.m. on December 23 through Christmas Day. The morning hours on the 24th start out clear, except for scattered clouds at 4:53 and 5:16, followed by more clear skies. Scattered clouds are again present at the hours of 8:53 and 9:53 and the haze is not first reported until 10:53. Chiavetta specifically mentioned the haze in his interview on Larry King Live the same day. And, of course we know that the haze didn't prevent Ron Grantski from enjoying the good ole outdoors by going fishing that afternoon, nor was it too cold for fishing. I guess Ron knows how to suck it up.
My source is Weather Underground (no association with the 1960s radical violent organization). From its "About Us" page, we learn the following: "Weather Underground has developed the world's largest network of personal weather stations (almost 10,000 stations in the US and over 3,000 across the rest of the world) that provides our site's users with the most localized weather conditions available."
Here are the charts of the hourly weather reports for Modesto for each of those days. You can verify the accuracy of the charts by going to Weather Underground, entering Modesto CA as the location, and then select the dates.