On Christmas Eve in 2002, Laci Peterson went missing in Modesto, California. At the time, she was seven months pregnant. Her husband, Scott, quickly became the prime suspect. In April of 2003, locals found the body of a male fetus washed up on the shore of the San Francisco Bay. Only a day later, a woman walking her dog discovered the headless torso of a woman not far from the infant's corpse. Investigators identified them as Laci Peterson and the couple's unborn child, Connor Peterson. Scott Peterson was arrested shortly thereafter.
Scott Peterson has never admitted to the crime, and to this day, Scott maintains his innocence. Detectives and the jury feel, however, that the circumstantial evidence against Scott is insurmountable. As of April 2018, he sits on death row, where he attempts to appeal his conviction.
Laci's Body Was Mutilated And Decomposed
When locals discovered Laci's body in the San Francisco Bay, her head and limbs were missing. Experts said that her extremities were likely removed before her murderer threw her body into the bay. The mutilation and decomposition of her body made it impossible to determine a cause of death, though pathologists thought she may have been strangled or smothered. Her organs were entirely gone, except for her uterus, and she had two broken ribs. Prosecutors say that Scott used homemade concrete anchors, one of which police found on his boat, to weigh Laci's body down—a forensic pathologist testified that she had been submerged for 3 to 6 months.
Laci's Unborn Child Likely Stayed In The Uterus For Weeks
Laci's unborn child, Connor Peterson, was not nearly as decomposed as Laci, even though they were both submerged in the bay for several months. One expert said during the trial, "If [Connor] had spent substantial unprotected time in the water like Laci did, he would have been eaten. There simply wouldn't have been anything left."
Nylon rope around the child's neck led the defense to claim that the baby was carried to full term before his death, but the prosecution determined that the rope became wrapped around the baby's neck postmortem, after he emerged from Laci's body. The baby came out of Laci's decomposing uterus rather than from her cervix.
Peterson Told His Mistress His Wife Was Dead Before She Actually Died
Two weeks before Laci's death, Scott told his mistress, Amber Frey, that his wife had passed away and that he'd be spending his first Christmas without her. After learning about Laci's disappearance from a newspaper article, Frey reported the information to police. She became an informant and recorded almost 30 hours of phone calls with Scott over a one-month period. Frey's attorney Gloria Allred believes that Frey's testimony and the recorded calls helped turn the jurors against Scott.
There Was Violent Adult Content On Scott's Computers
Police seized four computers when they searched Scott's home and work. Detectives found pornography and pornographic essays. Two of the essays were titled "Raping the Teacher" and "The Wife Confesses." Police said that the pornography was "extensive" and that it focused largely on bestiality and bondage.
Police also found that Scott Googled water currents at the Berkley Marina as well as information about Viagra. On the computer that Scott and Laci shared, police didn't discover any evidence against him.