On April 13, 2003, a little less than four months after Laci vanished, the remains of a male fetus, umbilical cord still attached, washed up on the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay, in Richmond. A piece of a woman’s torso was found the next day wedged beneath a rock at Point Isabel about a mile south. Point Isabel is roughly two miles north of the Berkeley Marina, where Scott had said he’d gone fishing on the morning of Dec. 24, 2002.
On April 18, the same day then-California Attorney General Bill Lockyer confirmed the remains belonged to Laci and Conner Peterson, Scott was arrested outside the Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla, Calif., almost 500 miles away. When authorities caught up with him, he had grown a goatee, his hair was dyed a shade of blonde and in his vehicle he had camping gear, a driver’s license issued to his brother, four cell phones, almost $15,000 in cash and 12 Viagra tablets (all of which, minus the pills, became evidence at trial).
“He was just calm, like he always was, after they put the handcuffs on him,” Buehler told People in 2005 about Peterson’s arrest. “When we got him back to the offices, and he had his pool-dyed hair or whatever he said it was, we sat him down. He was not angry. He didn’t ask a whole bunch of questions. The only thing he said was, ‘Is that my wife and son?’ At that point it was sort of like, ‘Come on, Scott.’ So I said, ‘You know the answer to that question.’ Then he did fake sniffles.”
Detective Al Brocchino, also recalling the road that led to Scott’s arrest, told People, “I had a gut feeling [from the beginning], and the patrol officers out there had gut feelings. He went fishing 90 miles from home on Christmas Eve with an 8 1/2-month-pregnant wife. When we questioned him a couple of hours after he got home, he didn’t know what he was fishing for or what bait he was using. Those were red flags.”