#01) Pre-2002

Laci Peterson Case Information:

When: Pre-2002


The 1960 and 1970s

  • In 1960, Tom and Jerri Grady marry.

  • In 1963, Jackie Peterson (then Jackie Latham) gives Don Chapman up for adoption.

  • In 1965, following a contact from her physician, she gives up Anne Bird—conceived on a boat in the San Diego Bay—for adoption.

  • Dennis Rocha and Sharon Rocha (then Sharon Anderson) marry on July 19, 1969, in San Joaquin County.

  • Lee Peterson and Jackie Peterson marry on November 20, 1971.

  • Scott Peterson is born on October 24, 1972, at Sharp Hospital in San Diego, California.

    • In his early years, he shares a bedroom with John Peterson in the family’s two-bedroom apartment in La Jolla.

  • Lee Peterson’s three children from his first marriage—Susan, Mark and Joe—live with their mother in San Diego during the week but spend most weekends with the Peterson family.

  • Lee Peterson works for a trucking company, and Jackie Peterson buys a small dress shop in La Jolla called The Put On.

  • Amber Frey is born to Ron and Brenda Frey on February 10, 1975, at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center in Los Angeles.

  • Laci Peterson (then Laci Rocha) is born on May 4, 1975, at Doctors Medical Center in Modesto, California. She weighs 6 pounds.

  • Sharon and Dennis Rocha separate when Laci Peterson is 2.

    • She and Brent Rocha move to Modesto to live with their mother, but often spend weekends at their father’s dairy ranch.

  • When Scott Peterson is about 4, his parents buy a home in Scripps Ranch, described in the San Francisco Chronicle as “a friendly suburb ringed by eucalyptus trees in northeast San Diego.”

  • In 1975, Lee and Jackie Peterson start San Diego Crating and Packing. According to Lee Peterson, he brings Scott Peterson along to make rounds picking up packages for delivery.

  • In 1977, Tom and Jerri Grady, with four children, move from San Diego to a manor house called The Cedars in Dorking, Surrey, England.

The 1980s

  • When Scott Peterson enters fifth grade, the family reportedly moves. During his school years, he lives in Rancho Bernardo and Rancho Santa Fe. They have a one-story home, bordering a creek, with a guest house and pool in the back.

    • He attends Painted Rock Middle School in Poway.

  • In Anne Bird’s junior year in high school, the Grady family returns to San Diego from England.

  • Ron and Brenda Frey divorce when Amber Frey is 5.

    • She spends time living with each parent as she grows up, spending at least part of her elementary school years in Coarsegold.

    • Ron Frey works as a general contractor, and has young Amber Frey hauling bricks on his job sites.

  • Laci Peterson attends Sonoma Elementary School and plays softball in the Modesto Girls Softball Association.

    • When she is 7, her parents’ divorce becomes final.

    • When she is 8, she is diagnosed as having a cyst on one of her ovaries and it is removed (according to The Murder of Laci Peterson, one ovary becomes infected).

    • Later, she attends La Loma Junior High School.

  • When Amber Frey is 13, and her parents are still wrangling for custody of her, she writes a letter to judge deciding the case: “I sill [sic] want to see my dad and I don’t want him to think I don’t love him because I do.”

  • As a teenager, Scott Peterson works part time at a country club in Rancho Santa Fe, picking up golf balls and filling carts with gas in exchange for lessons and time on the course.

  • Lee Peterson buys Scott Peterson a used Peugeot, not quite the Ferrari he promised if his son could play a round of par golf.

  • Scott Peterson also plays on the University of San Diego High School’s varsity golf team from 1987 to 1990, twice earning most valuable player honors and three times being named to the San Diego Union-Tribune‘s All-Academic Team.

    • According to Lee and Jackie Peterson, Scott Peterson “tutors the homeless” during high school.

    • In late 1989, Scott Peterson begins dating Stefanie Smith.


  • Scott Peterson gives Stefanie Smith a ring on Valentine’s Day, but the two break up after she hears that he has been seen holding hands with Dawn Hood, whom he then begins dating.

    • He graduates in June 1990 at age 17 after leading the men’s golf team to an undefeated season.

    • He is twice named the team’s most valuable player and is named three times to the San Diego Tribune All-Academic Team.

    • Signing yearbooks, he tells classmates, “Watch for me.”

    • In the fall, he moves to Arizona to attend Arizona State University, apparently with hopes of earning a golf scholarship as a walk-on.

    • e and Hood break up.

  • Laci Peterson meets Kent Gain in 1990, when she is a sophomore and he is a senior at Thomas Downey High School.

    • On Laci Peterson’s 17th birthday, the couple rents a limousine for the first time and goes out to dinner with friends.

    • According to Gain, they attend prom at the Century Methodist Church Hall.

    • They date for several years—in Gain’s words, “3 years, 4 months, and 17 days.”

  • Scott Peterson drops out after his first semester at Arizona State University and returns to Morro Bay, California, to live with his parents in a cottage they recently purchased there.

    • From the spring of 1992 to the spring of 1993, he attends Cuesta College.

    • He plays on the golf team there, reportedly having “an outstanding season” his sophomore year and just missing qualifying for the state meet.

    • He moves out after about 6 months with his parents, into an apartment with friends from the Cuesta College golf team. It is a residence Lee Peterson later describes as “Animal House,” with a flat-roof garage covered with artificial turf from where the golfers would practice drives into a nearby cow pasture.

    • In the spring of 1994, Scott Peterson enrolls at California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo.

    • Originally planning to major in international business, he changes to agricultural business.

  • Amber Frey spends her freshman and sophomore years at Sierra High School in eastern Fresno County, and her junior year at Fresno’s Hoover High School.

    • While Amber Frey is living with her father, he spends a lot of time out of town. He has a friend—a female bodybuilder—stay with his daughter when he is away, sparking her interest in bodybuilding and fitness.

    • She graduates from Clovis High School in 1993.

  • In 1993, Laci Peterson graduates from Thomas Downey High School, and boyfriend Kent Gain follows her when she goes off to college at California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo to major in ornamental horticulture.


  • During 1994–95, Scott Peterson works at Morro Bay State Golf Course and the Pacific Cafe.

  • During her first year in college, Laci Peterson receives the outstanding freshman award in the ornamental horticulture division.

    • She moves into an apartment in Morro Bay. Going with Kent Gain, she gets a tattoo on her ankle for her 19th birthday in May 1994.

    • She breaks up with Gain in July 1994, just after finishing her first year of college.

  • According to some sources, she meets and begins dating Scott Peterson just weeks later, but according to the National Enquirer, he meets Lauren Putnat at the Pacific Cafe in 1994 and begins a relationship that lasts a year and a half.

    • According to Putnat, Scott Peterson pushes for a long-term relationship, but she backs off.

    • She breaks up with him, but he cries and begs her not to leave him.

  • Taking a break from college, Scott Peterson meets Laci Peterson at the same restaurant, where she had gone to visit her neighbor (according to a May 30, 2004, San Francisco Chronicle article, the couple actually meet at a party before the pivotal meeting at the Pacific Cafe).

    • The two engage in a few brief conversations as she orders coffee and visits with her neighbor.

    • Laci Peterson writes her phone number on a piece of paper and gives it to her neighbor to give to Scott Peterson. However, he thinks it is a trick, so he crumples the paper and puts it in the garbage. After being convinced of the sincerity of the offer, he retrieves the paper and soon thereafter calls Laci Peterson.

  • After meeting Scott Peterson, Laci Peterson calls her mother and announces, “Mother, I have met the man I am going to marry. You’ve just got to get down here and meet him.”

    • Sharon Rocha asks if the two have gone out yet, to which her daughter replies, “Not yet, but we will.”

    • Sharon Rocha promises to drive down the following weekend.

  • The couple’s first date is a deep-sea fishing trip, during which Laci Peterson develops seasickness.

  • When Sharon Rocha arrives to visit her daughter and Scott Peterson at the Pacific Cafe, it is just two weeks after Putnat’s breakup with him.

    • Scott Peterson waits outside for Sharon and Laci Peterson. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Rocha,” he says, shaking her hand. Then, looking at his future bride and smiling, he says, “Ma’am, I have your favorite table waiting for you.”

    • In a scene witnessed by his former girlfriend Putnat, the two women are greeted at their table by two dozen roses—a dozen white roses for Sharon Rocha, a dozen red roses for Laci Peterson.

    • According to Putnat, Laci Peterson presents a single rose to Scott Peterson.

    • Abba Imani prepares a special appetizer for the occasion.

  • In August 1994, Laci Peterson calls Gain to tell him of her new-found love—the last time the two will ever speak—but, according to Putnat, Scott Peterson continues to visit and proposition her.

  • Scott Peterson and Laci Peterson move into a one-bedroom home in San Luis Obispo.

  • Anne Bird moves from San Francisco to Point Loma in San Diego and begins working for Cubic Corporation.

  • In June 1996 (according to Blood Brother: 33 Reasons My Brother Scott Peterson Is Guilty), in June 1997, Don Chapman calls Anne Bird, informing her that he is her brother.

    • In July of the same year, he visits California and meets her. She goes to the airport to pick him up.

    • In August of that same year, Anne Bird, on her way to relocating in the San Francisco area, visits with Lee and Jackie Peterson.


  • Anne Bird begins working for Robertson-Stevens.

  • On August 9, 1997, Scott Peterson and Laci Peterson marry at Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort in San Luis Obispo County’s Avila Valley (also referred to as Avila Beach) with about 150 guests in attendance, although Heather Richardson calls it “small and very private.”

    • Dennis Rocha, busy with work (according to some accounts, intoxicated), is late for the ceremony.

    • Laci Peterson’s paternal grandfather, Bob Rocha, walks her down the aisle, a grass carpet covered in covered in flower petals, as a string quartet plays. She wears a white dress, with a veil cascading from a white headband.

    • Scott Peterson wears a black tuxedo and white tie. The couple exchanges vows in a gazebo.

    • Guests share a three-tiered wedding cake decorated with pink and white roses.

    • Following the ceremony, Scott Peterson carries his new bride up to their hotel room at the resort.

    • After the wedding, the couple takes a honeymoon in Tahiti.

  • Laci Peterson graduates from California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo in December 1997 with a degree in ornamental horticulture.

  • In May 1998, Laci Peterson writes a note to Jackie Peterson, praising her for being a “caring person, friend and mother.”

  • In early 1998, Laci Peterson moves to Prunedale, where she has a job working as a wine distributor with a company out of Richmond, with a territory of Monterey, Carmel and Salinas.

  • Scott Peterson stays with three male roommates in San Luis Obispo, finishing up college.

    • According to a report by KOVR’s Gloria Gomez and later enhanced by the National Enquirer and San Francisco Chronicle, Laci Peterson discovers Scott Peterson’s infidelity shortly after they are married (according to a May 30, 2004, article in the San Francisco Chronicle, during Scott Peterson’s graduation week).

    • When she makes a surprise visit, she is discovered in bed with Scott Peterson by Janet Ilse, who had been dating him for 5 months.

    • Ilse explodes, yelling at both of them, screaming that Scott is cheating on her.

    • One of Scott Peterson’s roommates drives her home and explains the situation, ending the relationship between Ilse and Scott Peterson.

    • Later that night, Scott and Laci Peterson have a dinner date with Mike and Heather Richardson, during which Laci Peterson ignores Scott Peterson and also, locked together in the bathroom, argues with him (according to Heather Richardson, the argument is mostly one-way, with Laci Peterson being “the one yelling”).

    • Just 1 week later, Scott Peterson shows up at Ilse’s home, apologizing but still not admitting he is married.

  • After the breakup with Ilse (according to some sources, before the breakup), Scott Peterson meets Katy Hansen when they take a class together during the last semester before his graduation in 1998.

    • Asked by Hansen if he had ever been engaged or married, he initially replies he had not, then meets her the next day to confess he had been.

    • Although the two spend the night at each other’s homes, they do not have sexual intercourse.

    • Hansen meets Laci Peterson at Scott Peterson’s graduation, when she walks up, gives him a passionate kiss and puts a Hawaiian lei around his neck.

    • After realizing that her friend is married, Hansen breaks off contact with him, but one week later receives from him a dozen pink roses with a card that reads cryptically, “No job, no home.”

  • After studying child development and graduating from Fresno City College in 1997, Amber Frey works at The Learning Tree, a child care center.

    • An anonymous coworker will later say about her, “She was a great teacher. She interacted well with the students.”

    • In 1998, Amber Frey meets married Josh Hart at George Brown’s Fitness and the two live together for four months, during which time Hart’s wife, Michelle, is pregnant with the couple’s son.

    • During their time together, Josh Hart and Amber Frey go on camping trips, take visits to the beach, enjoy a vacation to Mexico, spend some Sundays at Millerton Lake and go out dancing.

    • Amber Frey meets with Michelle Hart, who makes negative comments about her husband.

    • Amber Frey reportedly records these statements and plays them for Josh Hart.

    • Amber Frey says that she is considering enlisting in the U.S. Navy.

    • Josh Hart and Michelle Hart reconcile.

  • In his final semester, Scott Peterson writes a 29-page senior project, “Attributes That Consumers Desire in Fresh-Cut Salad.”

    • In June 1998, Scott Peterson graduates from California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo with a degree in agribusiness.

    • Plans to move to the Bay Area are scrapped, and he and Laci Peterson stay in San Luis Obispo, at first running a part of the Peterson family businesses, but then selling that and starting their own restaurant when, on September 10, 1998, they open a popular burger joint called The Shack near the campus.

    • The restaurant, a converted bakery, features barrels of peanuts and numerous televisions showing sports.

  • In 1999, Laci Peterson vacations in France to attend cooking school.

  • Amber Frey works at Crescent Jewelers.

    • In October 1998, Amber Frey accuses Josh Hart of grabbing her face.

    • She waits 4 days before filing charges, by which time an investigating officer can see no marks on her face.

    • She says she waited to call authorities because she felt “Hart was going to get in her way” if she tried to report the incident earlier.

    • Josh Hart claims Amber Frey is making false charges against him in retaliation for his leaving her to return to Michelle Hart.

    • Amber Frey files a formal misdemeanor complaint in March 1999.

    • Josh Hart defends himself by saying that Amber Frey got upset and slapped him because he was going out with friends, but that he never assaulted her.

    • Nevertheless, he pleads “no contest” to a battery charge, claiming he is doing so to avoid the risk of going to trial.

    • He is sentenced to attend the Marjaree Mason Center Batterer’s Treatment Program for 1 year.

    • According to Amber Frey’s friend Dean Hoffinger, he dates her for 3 months in 1999—a claim disputed by her.

    • Amber Frey meets with Danny Ayers of Emerald Photography in October 1999 and agrees to do a test shoot.

    • On the release, she reveals her turn-ons are “smells” and her turn-offs include “snoody peoples.”

    • The test shoot occurs on November 11, 1999.

  • On December 31, 1999, Scott and Laci Peterson host a New Year’s Eve party.

    • Three couples, including Blake and Christine Reed, arrive at 8:00 p.m. for the countdown to the “new millennium,” and are treated to an eight-course meal, with each course complemented by a special wine chosen by Scott Peterson.


  • Eventually, Josh Hart leaves his wife again, writing her a unique Dear Jane letter: “I’ve tried my best, but I’m not what you need. I’m going to Vegas to strip (pray for me).”

    • The couple divorces in January 2000.

  • On May 10, 2000, Scott and Laci Peterson sell The Shack to Michael Gann and Andy Farmer and move to Modesto, ostensibly to be closer to the Rocha family (Sharon Rocha will later say that Laci Peterson initiated the move because of concerns about her paternal grandfather’s health).

  • Scott and Laci Peterson live with Sharon Rocha and Ron Grantski for a couple of weeks, then on July 1, 2000, move into a rental home on Mesquite Avenue.

    • Laci Peterson gets a job with Southern Wine and Spirits.

    • On October 4, 2000, they buy and move into a home at 523 Covena Avenue.

    • That same month, Scott Peterson allegedly meets drag queen Victor Cordeiro outside the Brave Bull, takes him back to the Covena Avenue residence and has sex with him.

    • According to Scott Peterson, he and Laci Peterson take out mutual life insurance policies—a claim that will be disputed by others.

    • With the help of a former professor, Scott Peterson secures a position with Tradecorp.

    • He begins work on October 19, 2000, selling their chemical fertilizer and other products to retailers.

    • According to a later article in the Modesto Bee, one of the selling points used by Scott Peterson is that the company’s solid fertilizers break down quickly in water, allowing them to be carried to plants via drip and microirrigation systems.

    • Although Tradecorp’s ultimate customer is the farmer, Scott Peterson “spends more time in his car and in offices than he does on farms.”

    • For Scott Peterson’s 28th birthday on October 24, 2000, Laci Peterson buys him a ski pass to a local mountain resort.

    • During the winter, René Tomlinson sees him practicing snowboarding at a local ski resort.

    • He tells her that Laci Peterson didn’t feel like skiing, so she stayed home.

    • He says he is leaving that night to go out of the country for a business trip.

    • Reportedly, Scott and Laci Peterson make several improvements to their home, refurbishing the plumbing, painting and tiling bathrooms, planting flowers and a garden, doing woodworking, and building a brick wall, tiled deck and barbecue—even borrowing money to build a swimming pool.

    • They contract out work on the pool and air conditioning.

    • According to The Murder of Laci Peterson, Scott and Laci Peterson declare bankruptcy in late 2000, even though they are only $5,000 in debt, and afterward run up debts as high as $100,000—the latter story contradicted by trial testimony.

    • In January 2001, after considering a number of entrepreneurial ideas, including the possibility of producing her own mustard, Laci Peterson begins working as a substitute teacher.

  • In February 2001, Michael Gann and Andy Farmer sell The Shack to new owners, Stephen Aggarwal and Fabrizio Paolozzi.

  • On February 20, 2001, Ayiana Frey is born.

  • On March 13, 2001, Scott and Laci Peterson subscribe to The Dish Network.

    • On May 4, 2001, Laci Peterson celebrates her 26th birthday.

    • About this time, Scott and Laci Peterson surprise their friends by reversing an earlier stance of not wanting children, and begin trying to conceive.

  • On May 31, 2001, Kim McGregor is booked for public drunkenness.

  • On June 25, 2001, Brian Ullrich issues a $250,000 life insurance policy on Laci Peterson that will be the source of much speculation and controversy in the case.

  • In September 2001, Anthony Flores is ordered by a court to pay $567 per month in child support payments to Amber Frey.

  • On September 22, 2001, Kim McGregor is again booked for public drunkenness.

  • At a Christmas party in 2001, Laci Peterson serves a curious takeoff on pigs in a blanket called “figs in a blanket” that is actually figs wrapped in slices of bacon. Some guests refuse to eat it; one friend asks if it needs maple syrup.

  • Amber Frey completes 540 hours of training at Golden State College on her way to becoming a massage therapist.

    • She rents space at American Bodyworks.

    • She enters into another relationship and becomes pregnant with her first child, a daughter she names “Ayiana Frey.”

  • According to an article in the March 1, 2004, issue of the Globe, on December 21, 2001, a video is taken of Scott and Laci Peterson—one that Sharon Rocha will later provide to the Modesto Police Department to pass along to the media.

    • On December 31, 2001, Scott and Laci Peterson host a New Year’s Eve party attended by Renee Garza, her husband, and other couples.

    • Laci Peterson wears a long blue skirt and a long-sleeved white shirt that ties in the front.

    • As the Garzas walk inside, she hands them glasses of wine. Soft rock music plays from speakers throughout the house. A chalkboard hanging outside the kitchen announces the evening’s meal: Ginger carrot soup, goat cheese-caramelized onion torte, chicken in red wine sauce, and chocolate mousse soufflé with fresh oranges.

    • Consistent with Laci Peterson’s reported insistence on promptness, dinner begins exactly at 8:00 p.m.


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