About Truth & Lies: The Murder of Laci Peterson

On Christmas Eve 2002, Laci Peterson, a young wife who was eight months pregnant, disappeared. Immediately a massive search was launched, with investigators and volunteers scouring her Modesto, California neighborhood and the place where she was reportedly headed that morning the local park to walk her dog. Her husband Scott told police he had gone fishing that day and had returned home to find the dog in the yard with the leash on, the back door of the house unlocked, and Laci gone. But he did not call the police. Instead, police later said, upon arriving home, Scott washed his clothes, ate, and then showered, before calling Laci's mother Sharon Rocha to report her missing. The 911 call was made by Laci's stepfather, Ron Grantski. Laci's face soon appeared on posters all over town. Her disappearance became a big news story, especially because she and Scott seemingly had a fairytale romance. They'd met while in college, and fallen in love. Even though they were young, Sharon says Laci was always headstrong and determined, and she wanted a life with Scott. They married and bought a house, which Laci decorated. Scott, handsome and charming, joined a wine club, a cigar club and a country club. When Laci became pregnant with Connor, Scott built the nursery. Scott's parents, Lee and Jackie Peterson said their warm and affectionate son was excited to be a father. But Sharon recalls that Laci told her Scott never wanted to feel their baby kick. And to many, Scott seemed strangely calm during the early days of the search for his missing wife, while Laci's family and friends were frantic. Detectives found no sign of forced entry into the couple's home and no fingerprints that didn't belong there. In addition, nothing was stolen and no ransom note discovered. So they began to look at the last person who saw Laci alive her husband. Scott agreed to come to the police station for questioning, a session that was videotaped. He agreed to take a polygraph test, then changed his mind. He repeatedly declined to do press interviews or go before the cameras, even when a candlelight vigil was held for Laci in the park. He attended but stood in the crowd; not onstage with Laci's family. He later told ABC News' Diane Sawyer he believed dodging the media kept reporters tantalized, which forced them to stay on the story about the search for Laci. Meanwhile, a tip line brought in various reports that Laci had been kidnapped by a satanic cult, or that she had seen walking the dog the morning after she disappeared. Then on January 24, 2003, a bombshell story broke. A woman named Amber Frey gave a press conference in which she admitted to a romance with Scott Peterson. They'd met in November 2002 and he'd told her he wasn't married. Amber, a single mom, believed she'd found Mr. Right. But learning about his wife's disappearance in late December, Frey came forward to help the police. They tapped her phone and recorded conversations including one between Scott and Amber on the evening of the candlelight vigil in which Scott lied, claiming he was in France when he was really at Laci's memorial. Then, in April 2003 the bodies of Laci and her unborn son were both found washed up near the marina where Scott had said he'd gone fishing. Police tracked Scott down in San Diego and arrested him. In his car they found wads of cash, knives, and camping supplies. He had dyed his hair orange. Authorities believe he may have been headed for the Mexican border. The trial of Scott Peterson began on June 1, 2004. Amber Frey testified, and prosecutors played recordings of her conversations with Peterson. He was found guilty of first degree murder in the death of Laci and second degree murder in the death of their unborn son. Peterson was sentenced to death. As of 2018 he continues to appeal his case.

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