According to a report in The Daily News of Longview on Thursday, the clerk told police that a pregnant woman came into the Market Place and said: "This is serious. I was kidnapped. Call the authorities when I leave."
The 45-year-old clerk said she intended to call police but became distracted and forgot, according to a police report. Late last week, the clerk was watching television and saw a story about Laci Peterson, 27, who vanished from Modesto, Calif., on Christmas Eve.
Scott Peterson, 30, has told investigators he last saw his wife the morning of Christmas Eve.
Peterson's alibi is that he'd gone fishing that day, at the Berkeley Marina, 100 miles from home, but nobody there remembers seeing him, reports CBS News Correspondent Hattie Kauffman.
He also told Gloria Gomez of CBS affiliate KOVR he was innocent, and urged America to keep looking for his wife.
"If they would just look at their hearts and make the effort to bring her home to her family, I don't care what you think of me," he said.
Police have not named Peterson as a suspect in his wife's disappearance, but attention has focused on him, in part because he admits he told his wife he was having an affair shortly before she vanished.
The store clerk told police the television news report triggered her memory of an unusual pair of customers who passed through her checkout line. The woman appeared to be in her 20s and in a late stage of pregnancy; Peterson was due to give birth to a boy on Feb. 10. The clerk said the woman was a "classic beauty" with sleek brown hair.
The woman was accompanied by a much older man with "strong features" and a ruddy complexion, the clerk reported.
After the man stepped out of line to get something he forgot, the clerk remarked to the woman that she should be wearing a coat on such a chilly day. The woman told the clerk she didn't have time to take a coat because she was kidnapped. She also told the clerk that the man had a weapon.
The clerk told police she wasn't sure whether to take the woman seriously.
When the man returned, he asked what the two talked about while he was gone, the police report says.
"She said you kidnapped her," the clerk said.
The clerk said the statement seemed to make the man angry, and she teasingly added that her husband always kidnapped her to take her to dinner. The man relaxed and laughed.
"Yeah, I guess I kidnapped her," she recalled him saying.
After they left, the clerk unsuccessfully tried to find a phone book to call police, then became distracted and forgot about the incident. She told police she feels terrible about it now.
Longview Police Detective Dan Jacobs told the newspaper Thursday afternoon that police had not retrieved the store's video surveillance tapes for December but planned to do so. Officers will advise Modesto Police if a woman on the tape appears to be Peterson.