It’s a crime that’s gripped the nation since Christmas Eve 2002 — the day that 27-year-old Laci Peterson went missing in Modesto, Calif., while eight months pregnant.
As those who follow the case know, her husband, Scott Peterson, was later found guilty of murdering his wife and their unborn child.
While he has been sitting on death row in San Quentin State Prison since 2004, mystery still surrounds certain elements of the enthralling case.
A new generation of true crime fans is now picking through the evidence while watching the A&E docuseries The Murder of Laci Peterson.
But, as InTouch points out, questions still remain over one crucial aspect of the case: Was Conner Peterson born after his mother died or was he born alive and then killed?
A coffin birth happens when a pregnant women spontaneously gives birth to her unborn child after she dies.
Both the prosecution and defense argued over this matter.
Dr. Brian Peterson – the forensic pathologist who performed autopsies on both Laci and Conner – testified in court that it was most likely a coffin birth.
In Sept. 2004, he said: “My conclusion... is that Conner had likely been protected by the uterus.”
He argued that the infant was then expelled from his mom’s body weeks later.
But Scott’s defense attorney, Mark Geragos, believed otherwise, suggesting the child was born alive and murdered later, which he claimed would rule out his client as the killer.
The child was found with what the AP described as “tape-like twine” wrapped around his neck, which the defense believed proved he was strangled.
Dr. Peterson – who is no relation to the family – testified: “I could see neither external nor internal damage that could have been caused by this material.”
But during cross-examination, he later conceded that he couldn’t say for sure whether or not Conner had been born alive and that there “might be other scenarios” that explained his death.