There have been few mysteries that captivated the nation quite like the disappearance and murder of Laci Peterson. While her husband, Scott Peterson, is currently on death row after being convicted of murder in the first degree for her death, and in the second degree for the death of their unborn son, Conner, there are still many questions that people have about her story.
Dateline is revisiting the tragic tale back in August with a special, called The Laci Peterson Story, which will look back at her 2002 disappearance and Scott’s 2004 trial by sharing never-before-seen interrogation videos of Scott as well as an interview with retired police detective Allen Brocchini — who worked on the case.
Even though Laci's murder happened nearly 15 years ago, many people are still looking into details on the case — including what her autopsy revealed. Warning: Many of these details are graphic — and reader discretion is advised.
It was a little more than 14 years ago — on April 13, 2003 — when a couple walking their dog spotted a decomposing body of a late-term male fetus on the beach in Richmond, CA. The next day, the body of a recently pregnant woman washed up on the shore nearby, at this point, Laci, who was eight months pregnant at the time of her disappearance, had been missing since Dec. 23, 2002. Shortly thereafter, the body was identified to be Laci, and the fetus was confirmed to be her unborn son, whom they planned to name Conner.
While the fetus' autopsy report was initially sealed by the judge in the case, a source told the Associated Press that “one-and-a-half loops of plastic were around the fetus’ neck, and that there was a significant cut on the fetus’ body.”
Unfortunately, coroners were unable to determine a specific cause of death for Laci, as her body had been too badly decomposed by the time it was discovered, but it was confirmed that she had been decapitated, additionally, both forearms, her right foot, and her left leg from the knee down were missing by the time her body was found.
Scott being taken to death row.
During the trial, images taken during Laci and Conner’s autopsies were displayed to the jurors and on Nov. 12, 2004, the jury found Scott guilty of first-degree murder for Laci’s death and second-degree murder for Conner’s death. On Dec. 13, they recommend that he be sentenced to death. On March 15 of the following year, Judge Alfred Delucchi followed the recommendation and sentenced Scott to death by lethal injection. Scott has been on death row at San Quentin State Prison since March 17, 2005 and remains there today.