Friday , August 29, 2003
Disturbing new evidence in the Laci Peterson (search) murder case suggests she gave birth to son Conner — who was alive before he was killed and his body trussed in a plastic bag, it was reported Thursday.
Autopsy photos show that the infant's body was well-preserved, unlike his mother's decayed remains, People magazine (search) reports. Because of the difference in decomposition, "There is some evidence the child may have been born alive," a source told the mag.
Laci's husband, Scott Peterson (search), is standing trial in California for double murder, and both the prosecution and defense are gearing up for a Sept. 9 preliminary hearing.
The possibility that the baby was out of the mother's womb and alive was also bolstered by the fact that Connor's body did not have his umbilical cord or his placenta, People says.
Earlier reports revealed that the baby had a cut across his right shoulder and adhesive tape around his neck.
The tape was drawn under the left arm and across the chest to the right arm, leading to speculation the baby had been placed in a plastic bag and that someone had wrapped the tape around it.
The bodies of Laci and Connor washed ashore in San Francisco Bay in April, about four miles from the marina where Scott Peterson, a fertilizer salesman, told police he went out alone on a fishing trip the day before Christmas.
Not all experts agree Connor was born alive.
Dr. Gregory Schmunk, Santa Clara's chief medical examiner, said the most logical explanation is that Laci's decomposing body caused Connor to be forced out.
But Jon Nordby of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences doesn't buy that scenario.
"I doubt very much that would be something you could attribute to a natural process," he said. "I would be puzzled by the fact that the mother would be in such an advanced state of decay and the baby would be more well preserved and have that tape."