Eight months pregnant with her first child, a boy she and husband Scott Peterson had already named Conner, Laci was last seen alive on Dec. 24, 2002—several weeks after Scott told his mistress, Amber Frey, that he was about to have his first Christmas since his wife’s death. Because when they met, Scott had told Amber that he was recently widowed.
Two days before Laci went missing, “I had gone over with the intention of having Scott straighten out my Christmas tree,” neighbor Karen Servas later told the Modesto Bee. “He was a little quiet. Right before he walked out the door, unprompted, he turned to me and said, ‘Oh, by the way, we picked out a name. We want to name the baby Conner.'”
On Christmas, Servas continued, “I went over there and we watched the news. A number of people were there—Laci’s friends, Scott and Scott’s mom and dad had just gotten into town. After the news, I went to leave and Scott said, ‘Why don’t you stay? We’re going to have dinner.’ I said, “No, I don’t eat meat’ because there was a turkey somebody had brought on the countertop. I felt really uncomfortable. I just wanted to go home.”
Laci’s remains washed ashore in the San Francisco Bay area in April 2003—and on the same day they were positively identified, Scott was arrested for murder.
He maintained that he was innocent, but a jury found him guilty in the murders of his wife and unborn son and sentenced him to death. In August 2020, the California Supreme Court overturned the sentence, agreeing with the defense that there may have been an issue during jury selection that prevented the penalty from being properly applied. In October, the high court also ordered a review of Scott’s conviction, and there is a possibility that he could be granted a new trial. At the same time, prosecutors said that, as it pertains to the August decision, they will seek the death penalty again.