Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Murder of Laci Peterson

An Early Infidelity

The newly married couple lived apart while Scott finished school in San Luis Obispo and Laci began a job in Prunedale. In one of his last classes before he graduated, Scott Peterson met Janet Ilse. Just 20 at the time, she was impressed by the brash 26-year-old who pursued her. On their first date, he brought her 12 bouquets of a dozen rozes each. He took her to expensive restaurants and bought her flashy gifts: a gemstone necklace, a black designer dress.

Laci and Scott Peterson
Laci and Scott Peterson
But presents weren't the only way he tried to impress her. He tried to show her that they were compatible and he was trustworthy, anything to get close to her. She was a vegetarian, so he announced he'd give up meat too. He brought his lovable golden retriever puppy, McKenzie, along on dates as a furry wingman. He tried to persuade her to take a trip to Mexico with him, but she thought it was too early in their relationship to do that.

For all of his ingratiating behavior, Scott Peterson made one boundary clear. On one of their first dates, at a rodeo, he announced that he didn't want kids. They'd just interfere with his lifestyle.

Late one night Ilse decided to surprise Peterson at the house he shared with three roommates. One of his roommates let her in, and she crept in to his bedroom. She found him in bed with another woman. It was the woman who had given him the puppyand who had married him a few months back: Laci Peterson.

Scott's roommates hadn't realized he was married either. Or that he was more casually dating a third woman. When Ilse asked whether he'd ever been married or engaged, he said no, then apologetically called her back to tell her that he'd been married once.

His wife forgave this early infidelity, but it wasn't the only time he'd betray her.

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