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2 Decades Later: The Tragic Laci Peterson Case Explained

There have been plenty of true crime stories that have gripped the headlines throughout the years. However, it’s tough to find one that got people worried as much as when it was announced pregnant Laci Peterson had gone missing.

People from across the nation gathered to search and pay their tributes to the missing mom-to-be, but that wasn’t all that got people talking. Many started to point the finger of blame at various suspects. Now, two decades later, the tragic Laci Peterson case is finally explained.

Scott and Laci Peterson met while she was studying at university

Scott and Laci Peterson met while she was studying at university
Source: Hub Pages

Many dream about the perfect school romance that leads to a life of bliss and family. Amazingly, it appeared that Laci Peterson found that when she met and fell for Scott. She was studying at California Polytechnic State University, where Laci would often spend her free time visiting her friend who waitressed at the Pacific Café.

It was here that Laci was first introduced to her friend’s co-worker, Scott. The pair immediately hit things off and even went on a deep-sea fishing first date. It’s said that Laci made the first move as she gave Scott her number, believing she had found the one. Thankfully, it appeared he felt the exact same way.

Laci Peterson always knew she would marry Scott – and she did after graduating

Laci Peterson always knew she would marry Scott - and she did after graduating
Source: Popsugar

Believe it or not, but Laci Peterson called her mother as soon as she met Scott and told her she’d just met the man she was going to marry. The best bit? All of her dreams came true as Laci and Scott walked down the aisle after they both graduated college. Scott was the first to earn his degree.

He was joined by Laci the following year, and they quickly set about making a new life for themselves. The couple enjoyed a ceremony at Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort in Avila Valley in 1997, three years after first meeting. It appeared to many that life couldn’t get better for the Petersons as they set about married life.

The Petersons ran a bar together until they agreed to move and start a family

The Petersons ran a bar together until they agreed to move and start a family
Source: ZUMA Press

What do you do when you’ve spent years earning your college degrees and throw yourselves into a new marriage? For Scott and Laci Peterson, that was easy – they opened a sports bar. Yet again, the pieces of their lives always appeared to fall into place for the pair as The Shack seemed to be a relative success for them both.

Although their bar was going well, it wasn’t long before Laci and Scott had a new goal in mind. This time, they were set to start a family. The couple moved back to Laci’s hometown of Modesto, California, after selling The Shack. Here, they purchased a three-bedroom bungalow in an upscale neighborhood, perfect for raising little ones.

Laci Peterson spent her time trying to be the perfect housewife to Scott

Laci Peterson spent her time trying to be the perfect housewife to Scott
Source: The Sun

Although Laci Peterson started working part-time as a substitute teacher, it seemed her main passion in life was becoming the perfect housewife for her husband. It was common to find Laci entertaining family members and cooking and cleaning in her spare time. Even her family noticed how much family life suited Laci as she kept the house perfect.

Scott busied himself each day with a job at a fertilizer company which appeared to pay enough for both of them to live pretty comfortably. Perhaps that’s why it only felt natural to most that Scott and Laci announced they were expecting a baby in 2002? February 10, 2003, was supposed to be when their baby boy entered the world.

No one spotted anything unusual about Scott or Laci Peterson the day before she disappeared

No one spotted anything unusual about Scott or Laci Peterson the day before she disappeared
Source: ABC 7 News

One of the first things police will ask when someone files a missing person case is where they could have gone or if anything seemed off before they disappeared. The thing many found strange about Laci Peterson disappearing is that nothing appeared to be out of place. It’s said the couple visited Laci’s half-sister, Amy Rocha, at work.

Scott supposedly mentioned that he would pick up a gift basket Amy had ordered for the sisters’ grandfather, as Christmas was only a couple of days away. The pair returned home, and Laci called her mom on the phone at 8:30 pm. Little did she know this was the last time she would ever speak to her daughter.

Laci Peterson was allegedly busy at home when Scott headed out for a fishing trip

Laci Peterson was allegedly busy at home when Scott headed out for a fishing trip
Source: Dateline NBC

Sharon, Laci’s mom, and Amy, her half-sister, became the last people to see and hear from Laci Peterson before everything changed on Christmas Eve 2002. Scott later explained that his wife was busy at home as he packed up everything he needed for a fishing trip. The pair parted ways at 9:30 am, but he knew about Laci’s plans.

Scott admitted how Laci had allegedly mentioned she needed to bake cookies, mop the floor, and take the pair’s dog for a walk at the local park before the end of the day. He also mentioned that all of this happened as Laci filled the house with noise of a cooking show they had been watching together before he left.

A neighbor grew worried when she spotted the Peterson’s dog wandering the neighborhood

A neighbor grew worried when she spotted the Peterson’s dog wandering the neighborhood
Source: Getty Images / Facebook/Scott Peterson Appeal

It usually wasn’t long before neighbors spotted Laci Peterson in the neighborhood, as she was seven-and-a-half months pregnant by the time Christmas Eve rolled around. That also meant that people were more concerned when they noticed something that appeared to be off with her and the home. It all started when Karen Servas spotted their dog.

The neighbor admitted that she found Scott and Laci’s dog McKenzie, a golden retriever, running through the neighborhood without his owners. This was unusual enough on its own but was even stranger when no one seemed to be around or looking for McKenzie or at home. Karen returned the dog to the backyard and quickly left.

Other neighbors later confessed they’d seen McKenzie in the neighborhood for hours

Other neighbors later confessed they’d seen McKenzie in the neighborhood for hours
Source: Facebook/Scott Peterson Appeal / Modesto Police Department

It wasn’t long before the world learned that Karen Servas wasn’t the only one who came across McKenzie in the street the day everything changed for Laci Peterson and her family. Mike Chiavetta, another neighbor, later confessed that he also saw the dog when he was playing catch with his own dog around 10:45 am.

To make matters even more confusing, an unnamed female later confessed she had found McKenzie walking through the street with nothing more than a muddy leash attached to his collar. She apparently put him back in the yard and left, leaving many to wonder if something had happened to Laci while she was walking the dog.

Scott wasn’t initially worried when he found Laci Peterson was missing from their home

Scott wasn’t initially worried when he found Laci Peterson was missing from their home
Source: A and E / Facebook/Scott Peterson Appeal

While the rest of the neighborhood was starting to wonder if something had happened to Laci Peterson, Scott was busy finishing up his fishing trip. It wasn’t until he got home and realized the house was completely empty that he allegedly thought something might have happened. That didn’t mean that Scott immediately set about finding Laci.

Instead, Scott has his own things to do. He later reportedly told Laci’s mom that he found their golden retriever in the backyard and brought him inside, but Scott later denied having this conversation. It seems he wasn’t worried that Laci’s car was still parked in the driveway. Instead, Scott showered and changed after getting wet while fishing.

There are differing reports about who actually reported Laci Peterson was missing

There are differing reports about who actually reported Laci Peterson was missing
Source: The Sacramento Bee / Facebook/Scott Peterson Appeal

It took several hours from Scott last seeing his pregnant wife to someone calling for help and reporting there was something off. However, there are several different reports about what actually happened that day. The New York Post states Scott Peterson only grew worried when Laci wasn’t home by 5:15 pm and eventually called her mom.

They say that Laci’s stepdad, Ron Grantski, eventually called the authorities half an hour later. The Modesto Bee also reports that Ron was the one who called for help. However, ABC News states that Scott was the one who placed the call – a detail that would eventually play a large part in building the scene of what happened to Laci.

The police instantly found all of Laci Peterson’s things were still at home

The police instantly found all of Laci Peterson’s things were still at home
Source: Facebook/Scott Peterson Appeal / Facebook/Scott Peterson Appeal

One of the first things the officers needed to do when they learned Laci Peterson had gone missing was look for clues to see if there was any idea where she could have gone. Of course, the first place to look was where she was last seen: at her home. Here, the police started to get more confused.

If Laci had gone somewhere voluntarily, then she had left everything behind. Her sunglasses, wallet, and keys were all in their place. Even Laci’s purse was still in her closet. It also showed the police that someone hadn’t seemingly broken into the Peterson house, as nothing was out of place or missing. So, where had Laci gone?

Scott Peterson kept changing his story about where he was when Laci went missing

Scott Peterson kept changing his story about where he was when Laci went missing
Source: Getty Images

The people who had spoken to Scott Peterson before his wife was reported missing all assumed that he was going to spend Christmas Eve golfing. However, the lead detectives assigned to Laci’s case couldn’t get a straight answer out of her husband. Allen Brocchini and Jon Buehler instantly questioned Scott about where he had been all day.

To start, Scott said that he spent the day on the golf course as he had planned. However, he later changed his story, as Scott had now suddenly been fishing for sturgeon several miles from home at the Berkeley Marina. Changing his story and forgetting key details quickly raised plenty of red flags for Allen and Jon.

Officers noted Scott Peterson seemed remarkably calm throughout their initial questioning

Officers noted Scott Peterson seemed remarkably calm throughout their initial questioning
Source: Peterson family

Many of us will never know how we’ll react when someone we love goes missing. However, there’s a good chance we can assume. No idea what’s happened to our loved one, and not knowing if we’ll ever see them again would probably see many of us start to panic and behave a little out of character.

Scott Peterson? Detectives Jon and Allen later recalled that he was surprisingly calm throughout the entire ordeal. From being interviewed to the police searching his home, and even when they launched a search and rescue party, Scott remained level-headed. In 2017, Jon told ABC News that he was “a little thrown off by [Scott’s] calm, cool demeanor.”

Hundreds of people searched high and low for clues about Laci Peterson’s disappearance

Hundreds of people searched high and low for clues about Laci Peterson’s disappearance
Source: The Star

It usually doesn’t take long for communities to come together in a time of need, which was the case when Laci Peterson was confirmed missing. Being a young, pregnant woman meant she was highly vulnerable, and people worried if they didn’t find Laci soon, then the worst could have happened. The police and firefighters weren’t alone in their search.

While they worked on using dogs, officers, and helicopters to comb the area surrounding Dry Creek to look for clues, approximately 900 volunteers searched other places of interest, while 1,500 agreed to distribute information about Laci across the nation. They searched for days, but no one ever found any clues about where Laci might have gone.

The police weren’t convinced when Scott Peterson forgot details about his fishing trip

The police weren’t convinced when Scott Peterson forgot details about his fishing trip
Source: Mega

If there’s one thing that’s usually enough to raise the police’s suspicions about someone, it’s them being overly vague about where they were and what they were doing when the crime took place. That was immediately the case for Scott Peterson. He told the detectives that he had been fishing but seemed to forget major details about his day.

Prosecutor Rick Distaso later confessed he believed Scott was behaving oddly, claiming he could “tell you what I was fishing for three years ago.” Scott? He apparently kept forgetting what fish he was looking for and what rod he was using. He even claimed marina staff could offer him an alibi, but the alleged witnesses never came forward.

Laci Peterson’s parents started to suspect their son-in-law of being involved

Laci Peterson’s parents started to suspect their son-in-law of being involved
Source: Getty Images

Ron Grantski, Laci’s stepdad, and Sharon Rocha, her mom, were among the many people who were a part of the highly public missing persons case. They often pleaded with the nation for anyone with information to step forward, even though they were starting to think they knew who had something to do with Laci Peterson’s disappearance.

However, the inconsistencies in Scott’s story meant they started to doubt their son-in-law’s story. Ron admitted that Scott’s fishing rod had been stored in his garage, and his son-in-law had no answer when asked which one he used instead. Ron also believed that no one would be heading out onto the water as late as Scott allegedly did.

Her brother also questioned Scott Peterson about cement anchors in his garage

Her brother also questioned Scott Peterson about cement anchors in his garage
Source: Getty Images

It turns out that Laci Peterson’s parents weren’t the only ones who thought something was up with Scott’s story about what happened to their daughter. Laci’s brother, Brent, also believed there was more to the tale than met the eye. It all started when a newspaper ran a story about cement anchors found in Scott’s garage.

The police believed there was evidence he had made five anchors due to concrete residue, but only one remained. Brent, like many others, thought this was because the others might have been used to hide Laci’s body. However, when Brent asked Scott about the missing anchors, he apparently replied he “used the rest as cement for my driveway.”

Scott Peterson left a voicemail for Laci the day she went missing

Scott Peterson left a voicemail for Laci the day she went missing
Source: Getty Images

When the police build a case against someone, they look at all the hard evidence they can find to try and avoid relying on circumstantial evidence. One of the many things they had at their disposal was a voicemail that Scott left for Laci Peterson the day she disappeared without a trace. To many, it sounded pretty normal.

Scott can be heard calling Laci “beautiful” and how he left his wife “a message at home” at “2:15.” Scott also says that he can’t get the basket her sister had ordered for their grandfather for Christmas after all and wanted her to collect it instead. The entire thing finishes with him saying he’ll see Laci “in a bit.”

Detectives immediately poked holes in Scott’s version of the voicemail

Detectives immediately poked holes in Scott’s version of the voicemail
Source: Getty Images

Scott Peterson quickly became the focus of the police’s investigation, spending Christmas Day in the station being interviewed by various officers. Allen Brocchini was one of the many who interviewed Scott and believed there were plenty of holes in the voicemail. One of the major ones was the time Scott said he left the voicemail.

Laci’s husband claims he left a message at home, but he was still in the car. That’s because a parking lot ticket proved Scott arrived at 12:45 pm and actually left the voicemail at 12:17 pm – not 2 pm. Jon Buehler added that it was a “lame-o message” to “make us think he was in love with her.”

Claiming to watch Martha Stewart proved to be a major sticking point for detectives

Claiming to watch Martha Stewart proved to be a major sticking point for detectives
Source: Associated Press / NBC Universal

It appeared no amount of interviews and searching for Laci Peterson was enough to see the police dig up any hard evidence. That didn’t stop them from focusing all their efforts on finding Scott guilty of making his wife disappear. One of the biggest breakthroughs for officers came when Allen Brocchini relistened to the original interview four weeks later.

He knew Scott lied about when he made the call. Perhaps there were more clues lying in plain sight? One thing Scott spoke about was watching Martha Stewart with his wife before he went fishing. When pressed, he said the chef was doing something with meringues. However, when Allen checked, no programs of the sort were shown that day.

Scott also claimed his wife would often argue with homeless people in the park

Scott also claimed his wife would often argue with homeless people in the park
Source: Polaris

Another of the many things that emerged in relistening to Scott Peterson’s original interview was how he told the police that his wife would often argue with homeless people in their local park. Of course, this could mean they had something to do with her disappearance, as Laci planned to walk their dog there on Christmas Eve.

Just because Scott claimed it was true didn’t mean that was the case. The officers asked Laci’s loved ones about the accusations, who all said that would have been entirely out of character for the mom-to-be. Things only got worse when Scott received a phone call from his sister-in-law during the interview and didn’t mention Laci’s case once.

He never appeared bothered about Laci Peterson’s disappearance during his initial interview

He never appeared bothered about Laci Peterson's disappearance during his initial interview
Source: YouTube/Scott Peterson Appeal

If there is one thing many of us probably know, it’s that we’d likely be pretty concerned if someone in our lives went missing without a trace. Not Scott Peterson. At least, that’s what police officers thought when they interviewed him about Laci’s disappearance. Instead, Scott appeared to be pretty relaxed most of the time at the station.

Footage shows Scott slouching in his chair despite the fact his pregnant wife is missing in the middle of winter. Laci’s mother, Sharon, also added how Scott never mentioned he “[hoped] she’s okay” and “[hoped] she’s not harmed.” Instead, many believed he was more concerned with going through the motions of the interview before going home.

The police were confused when Scott Peterson immediately asked for an attorney

The police were confused when Scott Peterson immediately asked for an attorney
Source: Getty Images

How are you supposed to tell if someone is guilty of a crime? Alyssa Bustamante confessed to ending someone’s life in her journal. Ariel Castro was brought to justice when one of his prisoners escaped. The police’s hint that something wasn’t right with Scott Peterson? The moment he asked to have an attorney present during his interviews.

While Scott had every right to seek legal advice throughout the investigation, Jon Buehler admitted, “that’s not usual.” At least, not when it comes to finding someone’s loved one. Instead, Jon confessed most people would do “whatever it takes” to cooperate with the police – not seek an attorney to ensure they don’t say something they shouldn’t.

Scott Peterson’s dad had no idea his son was fishing or even owned a boat

Scott Peterson’s dad had no idea his son was fishing or even owned a boat
Source: Getty Images

It turns out that Laci Peterson wasn’t the only one who received a phone call from Scott the day she disappeared. His father, Lee Arthur Peterson, also spoke to his son that day. However, Scott forgot to mention this when he was being interviewed by the police. Sadly, the police never got a transcript of the phone call.

However, they did later learn from Lee that he didn’t know his son was planning a fishing trip on Christmas Eve – or that Scott even owned a boat in the first place. Apparently, this wasn’t uncommon, as Scott’s attorneys claimed he would often make lavish purchases without telling his father. Still, the revelation stood out to the investigators.

Laci Peterson’s husband later stated he was “pulling an O.J.”

Laci Peterson’s husband later stated he was “pulling an O.J.”
Source: Al Golub

Just because they missed out on recording the first phone call didn’t mean that would always be the case for the police. While investigating Scott Peterson, they managed to record an unusual phone call between their suspect and his father. In it, Lee can be heard telling his son he’s sending “$5,000 to help out financially.”

While that didn’t seem strange, Scott’s comments about his day were. That’s because Scott said he planned on “working out for a few minutes” at a club before “[relaxing] a bit.” Things took a turn when Scott told his dad he wasn’t sure if he was “pulling an O.J. by being at the club” due to the “misperception.”

Lee and Jackie Peterson stood by their son and proclaimed he was innocent

Lee and Jackie Peterson stood by their son and proclaimed he was innocent
Source: Getty Images

There are plenty of times that parents will do anything to protect their children, even if they know they have done something wrong. Getting accused by the police and media of ending Laci Peterson’s life meant Scott was quickly becoming the nation’s most hated villain. However, Lee and Jackie Peterson weren’t ready to listen to the rumors.

Instead, the couple told Time magazine they were struggling to grieve the loss of their unborn grandson and how someone else had to have ended the lives of Laci and her unborn baby, a son they planned to name Connor. To top it off, Lee and Jackie stated, “our son is innocent,” adding, “We’ve known it from day one.”

They believed someone had stolen Laci Peterson and accused the police of misleading people

They believed someone had stolen Laci Peterson and accused the police of misleading people
Source: Getty Images

Both Laci and Scott’s parents were struggling to come to terms with losing their loved one and the unborn baby. However, the couple believed there was more to the story than the world was hearing and how the police were turning Laci’s parents against their son-in-law. Jackie told Time magazine how Laci’s parents believed Scott “until the police misled them.”

Lee Peterson added that Chief Roy Wasden initially told the world that no one had spoken to or seen Laci since her mom phoned her daughter the day before Laci disappeared. However, Lee believes “There are several people who saw Laci” after that phone call and how the police were instead focusing on Scott for all the wrong reasons.

Amber Frey knew she needed to speak up when she saw her boyfriend on the news

Amber Frey knew she needed to speak up when she saw her boyfriend on the news
Source: Getty Images / Getty Images

Amber Frey was working as a massage therapist when she spotted a familiar face on the news. Like most other people across the nation, Amber had heard about Laci Peterson’s disappearance and was invested in the story. However, she had a different reason to be more concerned about the prime suspect than most other strangers.

It turned out that Amber’s boyfriend was the man accused of ending Laci’s life: Scott Peterson. She immediately called the police and explained everything, including how the pair had been dating for a while. Allen Brocchini later added Amber “had dates down” and was “very articulate,” only adding to their suspicions that Scott was their guy.

Laci Peterson’s parents immediately believed Scott was guilty when they learned about Amber

Laci Peterson’s parents immediately believed Scott was guilty when they learned about Amber
Source: Modesto Police Department / Sharon Rocha

The investigators knew that Amber’s confession meant Laci Peterson’s parents would soon learn all about their son-in-law’s affair and wanted to warn them. However, they needed evidence to show they weren’t lying. The detectives found photos of Amber and Scott together to prove their case, and things finally started to fall into place for Ron and Sharon.

Up until that point, the couple had stood by their son-in-law at conferences and interviews as they all tried to find out what happened to Laci. Unfortunately, seeing Scott with another woman threw everything into the air. Jon Buehler said that as soon as Sharon was shown the pictures, she asked why Scott had to end Laci’s life.

Scott Peterson told his mistress he was single when they were introduced

Scott Peterson told his mistress he was single when they were introduced
Source: Modesto Police Department

It turned out there was a reason that Amber Frey had been dating Scott Peterson, as she confessed to the police that she thought he was single. A woman called Shawn Sibley was the one to introduce the pair, with Scott telling Amber he was widowed and recovering from the loss of his wife as they immediately hit things off.

Although Shawn later learned the truth, she confessed that Scott started crying and said he’d lost Laci emotionally instead of physically. She added Scott “begged her not to tell Amber” as he knew it would spell the end of their relationship. Prosecutor Dean Johnson later told CBS that Scott seemed to care more about getting caught than Laci’s disappearance.

A former mistress told police that Scott Peterson never wanted children

A former mistress told police that Scott Peterson never wanted children
Source: Modesto Bee

Believe it or not, but Amber Frey was far from the first time that Scott Peterson had been unfaithful to his wife. As if that wasn’t enough, it seemed his former mistresses had even more to add to his backstory. It’s believed that Laci knew about one of her husband’s affairs but decided to remain with Scott.

What Laci probably didn’t know was how Scott allegedly told his first mistress, a woman named Janet in a police interview, that he didn’t want children. Janet supposedly stated they went on a date, and there were children around, only for Scott to say he never wanted kids because “they would get in the way of his lifestyle.”

A third former mistress claims Scott Peterson confessed to ending Laci’s life

A third former mistress claims Scott Peterson confessed to ending Laci’s life
Source: Modesto Police Department

The weeks continued to pass, and even more mistresses started coming forward about their time with Scott Peterson. Donna Thomas was one of the many on the list, but she caused a commotion when she wrote a book about it all. To top it off, ‘I’m Sorry I Lied to You: The Confession of Scott Peterson’ revealed plenty of secrets.

Donna claims she earned Scott’s trust after the end of their alleged 14-year relationship until she finally got a confession. Donna states he reportedly admitted to ending Laci’s life before driving her body to Berkeley Marina before using concrete weights to weigh her down in the water. She even added Scott allegedly nearly capsized his boat due to the weight.

Evidence suggests Scott might have been planning on ending Amber Frey’s life

Evidence suggests Scott might have been planning on ending Amber Frey’s life
Source: Modesto Police Department / Modesto Police Department

Learning about Amber Frey’s relationship with Scott Peterson meant the police suddenly had a new place to look for clues – and they found something terrifying. Suddenly, things started falling into place. The investigators searched Scott’s car, where they found a map of her workplace alongside a shovel, some rope, and knives hidden around his vehicle.

The police believed Scott was planning to end Amber’s life before he was caught. After all, her talking to officers meant they were learning all the secrets he thought would never see the light of day. They theorized that ending Amber was the last thing Scott needed to do to cover his tracks before he could disappear forever.

Connor’s body was found four months after he disappeared

Connor’s body was found four months after he disappeared
Source: Soapboxie / Modesto Police Department

One couple was innocently walking their dog when they found a scene that most of us could only imagine in our nightmares. There, on the floor, was the well-preserved body of an unborn boy with the umbilical cord still attached. He was found in the San Francisco Bay area and appeared to have come from the water.

The discovery came on April 13, 2003, and many believed they knew exactly who it was. To make matters stranger, the umbilical cord appeared to have been torn rather than cut as it would usually be after birth, meaning something terrible had happened. Autopsy results and further clues later confirmed it was Laci and Scott’s son, Connor.

Laci Peterson’s remains were found the day after her unborn baby was discovered

Laci Peterson’s remains were found the day after her unborn baby was discovered
Source: Mega

Just one day after Connor was found, another member of the public was walking alongside the shore of the same bay when she discovered another horrific scene. All that was left of the remains were the torso and some of her legs. However, the investigators knew the woman had recently been pregnant before she passed.

Unlike Connor, these remains were so decomposed that they almost couldn’t be recognized. It also showed that the body had its head removed and that her arms and the majority of her legs were gone. Five days later, on April 18, DNA tests showed that the remains were Laci Peterson, meaning the investigators finally had the bodies they needed.

An autopsy didn’t reveal much about what happened to Laci or Connor

An autopsy didn’t reveal much about what happened to Laci or Connor
Source: Associated Press

Due to the state of Laci Peterson’s body when she was found, the medical doctors couldn’t determine exactly when she had lost her life. All they knew was she had two cracked ribs that could have occurred before or after she passed away. They also determined everything else was intact, meaning she never gave birth.

Instead, they found Laci was missing her internal organs, and it was likely Connor passed away before his mom’s passing meant he eventually became free. Although the doctor first claimed Connor lost his life before he was discovered, he later confessed there was a chance Connor might have been alive before he was found on the shore.

Scott Peterson was arrested and assumed to be about to run to Mexico

Scott Peterson was arrested and assumed to be about to run to Mexico
Source: Modesto Police Department / Modesto Police Department / Modesto Police Department / Modesto Police Department

The April 18, 2003 autopsy gave the investigators all the proof they needed to charge Scott with ending Connor and Laci Peterson’s lives. They quickly arrested her husband near a golf course. However, they suspected Scott was on the run to Mexico. His usual dark locks had been bleached a light blonde, and his car was “overstuffed” with things.

Scott was reported to have two driving licenses, four cell phones, several clothes, camping equipment, survival gear, medication, and almost $15,000 in cash by the time he was found. Lee Peterson also confessed Scott used his brother’s driver’s license to get a discount at the golf course, and he’d been living in his car to escape the media.

The judge banned several pieces of evidence from being allowed in court

The judge banned several pieces of evidence from being allowed in court
Source: Getty Images

One of the many things that were found in Scott Peterson’s car was medication to help with intimacy. However, the judge ruled the jury didn’t need to know about the tablets. Judge Alfred A. Delucchi also ruled that the jury wasn’t to hear about claims the tracker dogs used to see if Laci had been on Scott’s boat were “iffy.”

One of the most important pieces of evidence the judge decided wasn’t allowed in court was the contents of Scott’s computer. Here, investigators found a host of adult material – including scenes that could have shown a different side to him. One of the many essays was about assaulting a teacher, something eerie to many as Laci worked as a substitute.

The jury never heard that Scott Peterson bought fake diplomas a week before Laci passed

The jury never heard that Scott Peterson bought fake diplomas a week before Laci passed
Source: Associated Press / Associated Press

It seemed the judge had strong opinions about what was and wasn’t allowed in court, as Delucchi also ruled that Scott’s fake diplomas he bought couldn’t be used as evidence. The week before Laci Peterson went missing, Scott spent $267 on four diplomas and had a strange reason for their existence. Investigator Craig Grogan questioned Scott about the certificates.

According to Scott, Laci would always tease him about how long it took him to finish college, so she bought them as a practical joke. However, investigators learned that they were charged to Scott’s personal bank account and shipped in his name, leading them to think the diplomas were part of his plan to start a new life.

Scott Peterson was found guilty on all charges and sentenced to capital punishment

Scott Peterson was found guilty on all charges and sentenced to capital punishment
Source: Reuters

On April 21, 2003, Scott was formally charged with two counts of ending people’s lives. Pleading not guilty meant the case had to go to trial, but the judge ordered for the case to be moved to another county because so many people in Scott’s hometown had made up their mind that he was guilty of taking pregnant Laci’s life.

The trial officially started on June 4, 2004, and by November 12 of the same year, the jury ruled that Scott was guilty of taking Laci’s life in the first degree and Connor’s life in the second degree. Judge Delucchi stated he believed Scott ending Laci’s life was “cruel, uncaring, heartless, and callous” before sentencing him to capital punishment.

It was later reported Scott Peterson wasn’t struggling behind bars

It was later reported Scott Peterson wasn’t struggling behind bars
Source: Getty Images

The Freedom of Information Act means the nation has access to certain files that could otherwise be kept from the public. It wasn’t until In Touch released an exclusive that the world learned life behind bars wasn’t as bad as many expected for Scott Peterson. Apparently, Scott was often treated to all kinds of luxuries.

These included weight-gain protein tablets, sugar-free honey, multivitamins, granola, smoked oysters and scallops, and fat-free milk. Journalist Nancy Mullane, who wrote a book about people in prison, admitted he was looking “healthy” and like he “was having a good time.” Nancy even added Scott “didn’t look depressed” about his situation, considering the crimes and charges he was handed.

Scott Peterson’s sister believes he is guilty of ending Laci and Connor’s lives

Scott Peterson's sister believes he is guilty of ending Laci and Connor's lives
Source: Oprah / eBay

Amazingly, Scott’s sister-in-law, Janey, is one of the few close to Scott who doesn’t believe he ended Laci’s life. That doesn’t mean everyone is the same, as Scott’s biological sister, Anne Bird, said she thinks he is guilty of all the charges. Anne told NBC he stayed with her during the height of the search for Laci.

Here, Anne also confessed she felt she became Scott’s “confidante” as he would often open up about everything. However, living with her brother was enough for Anne to feel “that he did this.” She eventually wrote a book about it all called ‘Blood Brother,’ where Anne states Scott and Laci were “The golden boy and his doll-like bride.”

He and his family have raised several appeals throughout the years

He and his family have raised several appeals throughout the years
Source: Bay Area News Group

There are several things people can try to do when a loved one is sent behind bars. One is to appeal the decision. However, this can often take years and might not even be granted. Not content with waiting for the courts to file the papers, it appears that Scott Peterson’s family have found a way around the wait.

They filed a habeas petition, something usually reserved when new evidence is found. It can also be used if someone believes the original trial was unfair, which is what happened with Scott. Janey Peterson claims a juror “evidently lied on her jury application,” stating she had never testified as a witness or involved in a lawsuit.

Scott Peterson’s original attorney believed a Satanic cult might have been involved

Scott Peterson’s original attorney believed a Satanic cult might have been involved
Source: Modesto Bee

Mark Geragos was the one in charge of defending Scott Peterson at his trial, but he wasn’t convinced his client was guilty. Instead, the lawyer proposed his own version of what happened with talks of a Satanic cult. During an interview with People magazine, Mark claimed there was a cult operating in California for years, and they were responsible.

In 2002, pregnant Evelyn Hernandez went missing before her body appeared in the San Francisco Bay. Evelyn was reported missing on May 1, which might seem like nothing to many. However, much like when Laci Peterson disappeared on December 24, they are both considered holy days in the Satanic calendar. Mark believed this was more than a coincidence.

Several leads were investigated, but there was never proof a cult was involved

Several leads were investigated, but there was never proof a cult was involved
Source: Getty Images / Associated Press

It seems Scott’s lawyer wasn’t the only one who thought a Satanic cult might be involved, as Larry King later mentioned there was a similar crime in 1990. This time, four people’s lives were ended by cult members in a ritual at a trailer park, and it wasn’t long before the police were forced to investigate.

However, their investigation proved no probable leads. Randy Cerny worked as a consultant with officers as he is an expert on local ritualistic crimes. A local furniture store owner also believed Satanists were operating from his building. In the end, even claims the defense had the leader’s jacket wasn’t enough for people to believe the story.

Laci Peterson’s autopsy also proved it was unlikely that a cult was involved

Laci Peterson’s autopsy also proved it was unlikely that a cult was involved
Source: Getty Images / Modesto Police Department

It wasn’t just the fact no one believed the Satanic cult theory that meant the police gave up searching. The autopsy, performed by Dr. Werner Spitz, also painted a different version of events. Initially, the defense claimed that Laci Peterson’s limbs were removed and that Connor was cut from her body before she was thrown into the bay.

Although Laci’s head was missing, so were several of her vertebrae, which made it unlikely she was decapitated. Instead, it’s theorized Laci’s head was removed by something like a boat propeller. Dr. Spitz also stated Laci’s womb would have been the last thing to decompose, stating Connor was released through a tear in his mother’s body.

The tragic Laci Peterson case has inspired several other stories throughout the years

The tragic Laci Peterson case has inspired several other stories throughout the years
Source: 20th Century Fox / 20th Century Fox

It usually doesn’t take long for the world to gravitate to a story as large as the disappearance of Laci Peterson. The recent case of R. Kelly has seen documentaries and stories dominate the headlines, and the same could be said in 2002. Laci’s body and horrific end only saw people grow more invested in how someone took her life.

One of the many things that have been influenced by the crime was the 2012 novel – and later the 2014 physiological thriller movie – ‘Gone Girl.’ Author Gillian Flynn confessed that while she was inspired by the events of the story and how Laci’s husband was accused, she has never based her stories entirely on real-life events.

Several people still argue that Scott Peterson is innocent and should be released

Several people still argue that Scott Peterson is innocent and should be released
Source: Getty Images

There have also been several documentaries about Scott Peterson ensign his wife’s life, including the Oxygen special ‘Snapped’ and an unfinished special titled ‘Trial By Fury: The People vs Scott Peterson.’ However, they don’t just tell the tale that many of us have heard about in the headlines and from the courtroom throughout the years.

Instead, it appears plenty of people believe Scott is innocent. Scott’s lawyer still stands by his story of a Satanic cult. Others claim no one would tell the police they went fishing where Laci’s body was found. Some even claim the evidence not allowed in court paints a different version of events that proves Scott’s alleged innocence.

His sentence was changed to life in prison without the possibility of parole in August 2020

His sentence was changed to life in prison without the possibility of parole in August 2020
Source: Modesto Bee

Several appeals later, Scott Peterson was finally given a new chance to state his case in front of the Supreme Court of California. Although they unanimously upheld his guilty verdict, it wasn’t all bad news for Scott and his legal team. That’s because the original judge in the trial had dismissed jurors who were against capital punishment.

They believed this meant that Scott was never handed a fair trial as everyone was always fighting to see the maximum penalty possible. In the end, they downgraded his punishment to life in prison without the possibility for parole on August 24, 2020. As if that wasn’t enough, there has been more talk from Scott’s camp in recent years.

Laci Peterson’s family is currently preparing for a new trial for Scott

Laci Peterson’s family is currently preparing for a new trial for Scott
Source: Associated Press

A source spoke to People magazine, where they said Laci Peterson’s family is “bracing themselves” for the possibility of a new trial. Apparently, the judge admitted there’s room for a lower court to reevaluate Scott’s case to see if there are grounds for a new trial. If he wins, there’s a chance that Scott Peterson could walk free.

He has already come a long way after spending 15 years thinking he was going to lose his life. However, Laci’s siblings told the court that they still believe they ended his wife’s life and took away his newborn son. While he is yet to be granted a new trial, Scott allegedly holds out all hope.

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