In late 2002, Laci Peterson, a 27-year-old pregnant woman, disappeared without a trace from her home in Modesto, California. She was eight months pregnant with a son, whom she and her husband Scott had planned to name Conner.
Laci’s disappearance was reported by her husband, Scott Peterson, who claimed that he had been fishing in the San Francisco Bay when she went missing. The authorities launched a massive search effort, including helicopters, divers, and volunteers, but no trace of Laci was found.
As the investigation progressed, Scott’s behavior raised suspicion. He appeared to be acting strangely and made inconsistent statements to the police. Additionally, it was discovered that Scott had been having an affair with a massage therapist named Amber Frey, and had told her that he was single.
Scott’s behavior and the affair led many to believe that he may have been involved in Laci’s disappearance. The media quickly picked up on the story, and the case became a national sensation, with news outlets covering every detail of the investigation.
Four months after Laci’s disappearance, on April 13, 2003, a couple walking their dog along the San Francisco Bay shoreline discovered the body of a late-term male fetus. A day later, the body of a woman, believed to be Laci, was found nearby.
The autopsy confirmed that the woman was indeed Laci and that she had been murdered. The fetus had been removed from her body, indicating that Laci had been killed before her due date. The case was now officially a double homicide.
Scott was immediately arrested and charged with two counts of murder. The prosecution’s case rested on the theory that Scott had killed his wife to escape the responsibilities of marriage and impending fatherhood, and that he had disposed of her body in San Francisco Bay.
The trial began in June 2004 and lasted for five months. The prosecution presented evidence that Scott had purchased a boat and had been seen near the bay around the time of Laci’s disappearance. They also showed that Scott had searched the internet for information on tides in the bay and had recently increased his life insurance policy.
The defense argued that the evidence was circumstantial and that there was no direct proof of Scott’s guilt. They also suggested that Laci had been kidnapped by someone else, pointing to reported sightings of a pregnant woman matching her description.
After a highly publicized trial, Scott was found guilty of the murder of Laci and their unborn child. He was sentenced to death and remains on death row in San Quentin State Prison. The case has remained a haunting mystery and a cautionary tale about the dangers of deception and betrayal in marriage.