Laci Peterson was reported seen alive for the last time on December 24, 2002, and was seven months pregnant when she disappeared mysteriously. After the investigation, it was found that Laci along with her unborn child Conner, was murdered by her husband Scott Peterson just before Christmas eve in 2002.
Laci Peterson’s Overview
- Birth Name: Laci Denise Rocha
- Age: 27
- Date of Birth: May 4, 1975
- Place of Birth: Modesto, California, US
- Date of death: December 24, 2002
- Place of death: Modesto, California, US
- Nationality: American
- Father: Dennis Robert Rocha
- Mother: Sharon Rocha
- Siblings: Brent Rocha
- Spouse: Scott Peterson
- Children: Conner (fetal death)
Early Life, Education and Family (Parents and Siblings)
- Born on May 4, 1975, Laci Peterson, was the second child of Sharon and Denise Rocha who met during their high school.
- Denise and Sharon were a dairy farm owner.
- Laci’s elder brother, Brent, was four years older than her.
- She enjoyed working at farm with her mother and this left a great impact on her.
- Her parents took divorce when Laci was still very young.
- She along with her mother and brother moved to Modesto, however, they visited the farms on weekends.
- Laci’s mother married Ron Grantski, he helped her in raise the children.
- Laci worked as a cheerleader during her junior high and high school days.
- After completing her high school from Thomas Downey High School, she took admission in ornamental horticulture at the California Polytechnic State University.
Read also: HRVY or Harvey Leigh Cantwell
Marriage (Relationship with Scott Peterson) and Children
- While at university, Laci Peterson sometimes visited the Pacific Café in Morro Bay since her friend worked there.
- At the restaurant, she met her friend’s co-worker Scott Peterson in 1994.
- She took the initiative and sent him her phone number. She also told her mother that she would marry him.
- As their relationship grew serious, Scott started focusing on business.
- After dating for two years, they moved in together and later married in 1997. However, Peterson was engaged in the extra-marital affair.
- After settling down, the couple opened a sports bar called “The Shack” in San Luis Obispo.
- Peterson took the course to install the required vent in the bar. The business with a slow start began to grow.
- On October 2000, the couple purchased a bungalow on Covena Avenue near East La Loma Park.
- ‘The Shack’ was sold in April 2001.
- Luci started working as a part time substitute teacher while Peterson started working in Tradecorp USA.
- Laci was pregnant and the couple planned to name their son Conner.
- In November 2002, Scott met Frey and told her that he is single and the two started dating.
- Scott’s parents saw Laci for the last time a week before Christmas.
Disappearance and Murder of Laci Peterson
- Laci and Peterson, on December 23, 2002, went to salon for a haircut. Peterson offered Rocha that he will pick up the fruit basket that she ordered as a gift for her grandfather since he will be playing golf on Christmas eve in a near course.
- Peterson stated that he saw his wife for the last time at 9:30 am on 23 December.
- The family dog was found in the yard by two neighbors who returned him to the Peterson’s yard.
- His husband stated that upon his return to the house in the afternoon, he found it empty and the dog was there in the backyard.
- He also reported that his seven months pregnant wife is missing from the house, he informed his mother-in-law and Laci’s stepfather who informed the police.
- The lead investigators, Jon Buehler and Allen Brocchini, found Laci’s car keys, sunglasses and wallet in a purse kept in closet.
- The “dead calm” reaction of his husband upon asking questions grew the investigators’ suspicion in him. He was nothing like a man who is stressed for his missing wife.
- Initially, Peterson told the police that he was at the golf course all day, however, later changed his statement and told them that he went for fishing.
- He also said that he messaged Laci, saying, “Hey, Beautiful. It’s 2:15. I’m leaving Berkeley.” Such statements increased their suspicion.
- Initially, Luci’s parents defended him and believed that they are a perfect couple.
- In January 2003, his extramarital affairs were disclosed, one of which was with Amber Frey.
- Frey stated to the police that he said he is single and they started dating each other.
- However, after Frey grew suspicious of his marriage, he overturned and told her that he lost his wife, and this would be the first holiday he was without his wife.
- Frey allowed police to record his conversation with Peterson so that they can catch him.
- In a press conference in January 2003, Luci’s family withdrew their support for Peterson.
Search and Arrest of Scott Peterson
- In April 2003, a couple walking past the San Francisco Bay found the body of a small baby in the marshy area.
- On the next day, another person found the torso of a pregnant women on the shore of the bay.
- The remains were almost unrecognizable since head, legs, arms and most of the internal organs were missing, the only organ present was uteras.
- In April 2003, the DNA reports showed that the bodies were of Laci and her son, Conner.
- The body of the child was mutilated on one side and its umbilical cord was still attached, however, autopsy report showed that the cord was not there.
- The exact date and cause of their death was not known.
- After the investigation, Peterson was found guilty and police rushed to catch him so that he had no chance to escape.
- On April 2003, Peterson was arrested near a golf course along with miscellaneous items and cash in his car.
- Police suspected that these items could be an indication that he wanted to escape.
- In April 2003, Peterson was presented in the court where he was carged for first degree murder of Laci and second degree murder of Connor. He was immediately held without bail.
- His trial venue was changed to Redwood City where the proceedings began on June 1, 2004.
- Detectives were testified for the search of evidences
- The defense lawyer of Peterson based his case on circumstantial evidences and the lack of direct evidences and suggested that someone had kidnapped Luci and murdered her along with her child.
Verdict, Appeal and Overturning of death sentence
- In November 2004, Peterson was convicted for two murders, Laci Peterson’s first degree murder and Conner’s second degree murder.
- The trial concluded after he was given a death sentence on December 13.
- In the following year March, judge sentenced him death by lethal injections and also ordered him to pay for Laci’s funeral.
- In Sptember 2006, aa letter by Willian Dannemeyer, former congressman, claimed that Laci was killed by someone from Satanic Cult and not by Peterson.
- In August 2020, the Supreme Court of California upheld the conviction of Scott Peterson while overturned the death sentence.
- In September 2021, Judge Anne Christine, California Superior Court, sentenced him life imprisonment without the possibilities of parole for the two murders.
Portrayal of Laci Peterson in Movies
- Several documentaries were released on the case, some of these are The E! True Hollywood Story, Scott Peterson:A Deadly Game, Scott Peterson:What Happened?, The Laci Peterson Story: A Dateline Investigation, Truth and Lies: The Murder of Laci Peterson, etc.
- Released in 2004, The Perfect Husband: The Laci Peterson Story was a made-for-TV moviebased on the case.
- In 2005, Amber Frey: Witness for the Prosecution was released which was also based on the case.
- After the release of 2012 novel, Gone Girl, it was said that plot is based on Laci’s case, however, author refuted to the fact that it is based on the case.
- From 2015 to 2021, numerous episodes of different shows were aired which were based on Laci Peterson’s murder case.
Laci Peterson- FAQs
When did Laci Peterson disappear?
Laci Peterson disappeared on the evening of December 23, 2002.
For how long Laci and Scott were together?
They dated for two years and then got married and spent five years together before Laci went missing.
How did Laci die?
Laci was murdered by her husband Scott Peterson.
Who killed Laci Peterson?
Scott Peterson killed her wife Laci Peterson.