The Oakland Tribune said the bodies were located in mid-March using side scan sonar inside the shipping channel in the San Francisco Bay.
But before they could retrieve the bodies, they believe a heavily laden tanker passed over or near the burial spot, churning up the channel's bottom and dislodging the sunken corpses. The wind, choppy waves and high incoming tides influenced by the full moon combined to eventually bring the bodies to shore.
The Tribune reported the original burial site was miles away from where the only suspect, Laci's husband Scott Peterson, told police he had gone fishing Christmas Eve. That was the day Laci, eight months pregnant, was reported missing.
Modesto Police Chief Roy Wasden said investigators believe they found the bodies as early as mid-March.
One law enforcement source told the newspaper that the discovery of the bodies by sonar was kept quiet, out of fear that Laci's husband might flee.
But with Scott Peterson now in jail on charges of killing Laci and their unborn son, Connor, those close to the investigation confirmed the detection of Laci's body weeks before it washed ashore April 14.
Sources told the newspaper the remains, possibly wrapped in some sort of plastic and held down by heavy material, were found by side-scan sonar deep in a shipping channel of San Francisco Bay, about 4 miles off Brooks Island.
Strollers found Laci's unborn baby in a tidal pond 250 yards east of the last house in Richmond's marina Bay on April 13. Laci's partial remains were discovered the next day at Point Isabel.
A state lab in Richmond identified Laci and Connor by DNA analysis April 18.