'Til death does us part

Emily Marcason | managing editor

They were always sitting real close in family pictures, always smiling. Friends and family said they never argued. They were the picture-perfect couple. Laci

Peterson, 27, a perky brunette with mysterious dark eyes was eight months pregnant. Devoted husband Scott, 30, was excited to become a father and worked hard as a fertilizer salesman. But fate became twisted and the picture-perfect couple became terribly distorted.

For Laci and Scott Peterson life did seem like a magical fairytale to the outsider. They met a few years ago in San Luis Obispo, Calif., where Scott was working three jobs to put himself through college. The couple married in 1997 and ran a café in San Luis Obispo, until selling the place two years ago to move closer to Laci's family in Modesto, Calif.

After Laci became pregnant, Scott's friend Guy Miligi said Scott was pouring many hours into making the baby's room just perfect. "He was real excited about having his first child. He talked about that all the time," Miligi said.

Scott's mother, Jackie Peterson, also echoed the same happy sentiments of the young couple. "The moment he was with Laci, they just beamed at each other. No one else made my son smile like that. They did everything right," she said.

But, something went terribly wrong and the fairytale became a nightmare. On Christmas Eve 2002, Laci and her unborn son, Connor, went missing. Scott, who said he was fishing in the Berkley Marina the day Laci vanished, was seemingly beside himself. After the media grabbed ahold of Laci's disappearance, Scott, family and friends began handing out fliers and scouring the streets in hopes of finding her alive. And the whole country hoped with them.

"I know what we are going through, but he's (Scott) got double," said Laci's stepfather, Ron Grantski, in January. "The press is questioning him, but all he wants to do is find his wife."

Days later though, Laci's family excommunicated Scott after learning he had an affair with a woman named Amber Frey. They publicly encouraged Scott to speak with police and tell them everything he knew. The tables were turning on Scott. Even his Modesto friends began to have nothing to do with him and according to an Associated Press article, even the golfers at the Del Rio Country Club "quietly bought out his membership for an estimated $25,000 in cash."

Things weren't looking good for Scott and on Friday, April 19 things got even worse. Laci and Connor (with his umbilical cord still attached) were found a mile apart from each other in the Berkley Marina. It was only three miles away from where Scott said he was fishing the day his pregnant wife disappeared.

Police arrested Scott on Friday, hours before the DNA test results were announced, in the San Diego area. His dark hair was bleached blonde and he had grown a beard, confirming police speculation that Scott was going to flee the country. In the bitter end, Scott Peterson, the devoted husband, is looking at the death penalty.

Life isn't always what it seems to be. The nation became captivated by Laci's beauty and Scott's seemingly devotion to bringing her home safely. But, it was all an act for Scott. It is a sad ending, because it proved that even the most beautiful pictures could be ugly and heartbreaking.