While families across the country were gearing up for Christmas festivities in 2002, Laci Peterson’s family were desperately looking for their relative who went missing while walking her dog on Christmas Eve.
The 27-year-old pregnant California woman’s disappearance came as a shock to those who knew her because from an outsider’s perspective she had a good life that she didn’t need to run from. Laci was happily married to a man named Scott, they lived in a beautiful suburban home with their dog, and had a baby on the way.
The search for Laci continued for months after she was last seen, but it came to an end when her decomposed and mutilated body washed ashore in the San Francisco Bay. Her death was ruled a homicide and it sparked one of the most highly publicized murder investigations the nation has ever seen.
Laci wasn’t involved in any illegal activities and had no known enemies, so it took a while for police to round up suspects. However, in an unforeseen twist, police began to grow suspicious of Scott, who many described as the “perfect gentleman” due to his bizarre behavior, visible disinterest in the investigation, refusal to take a polygraph test, and inconsistent alibi.
Investigators eventually found enough evidence that suggested Scott, who worked as a fertilizer salesman, was Laci’s killer. They uncovered details about an extramarital affair he had been having with a woman named Amber Frey, including a phone call he made to Frey during a New Year’s Eve candlelight vigil for Laci.
Amber later cooperated with the police, and claimed that she had no idea Scott was a married man and that his wife had gone missing. The information she shared contributed to Scott’s arrest a few months later.
He was apprehended while on the run in 2003, and charged with first-degree murder of Laci, as well as second-degree murder of baby Connor. He was sentenced to death by lethal injection in 2005.
Having been through the imaginable, it took a while for Laci’s family to finally speak out about losing their loved one. Laci’s mom, Sharon Rocha, recently opened up about life after her daughter’s murder in an interview with ABC.