Text document with red question mark. This article uses citations that link to broken or outdated the unborn parent review. Help on using footnotes is available. American woman who was the subject of a highly publicized murder case after she disappeared while eight months pregnant with her first child.
She was reportedly last seen alive on December 24, 2002. Laci Denise Rocha was born in Modesto, California. Her parents, Dennis Robert Rocha and Sharon Ruth Anderson, met in high school and married shortly after graduation. Their first child, Brent Rocha, was born in 1971. Laci grew up visiting her father’s dairy farm in Escalon, and she was a cheerleader in junior high and high school. In December 1996, Scott and Laci became engaged. They later married on August 9, 1997, a few months before Laci’s graduation.
For the first two years or so of their marriage, they delayed trying to have children, but Laci began to express an interest in starting a family. In December 2000, Laci became serious about trying for a pregnancy. Apart from her husband Scott, the last two people known to have spoken to Laci before she disappeared were her half-sister, Amy Rocha, and her mother, Sharon. On the evening of December 23, 2002, Amy had cut Scott’s hair, with Laci present.
Later that evening, Sharon spoke with Laci on the telephone around 8:30 pm. Laci’s 1996 Land Rover Discovery SE was in the driveway. Her purse, containing her keys and wallet, was on the table inside the house. When Scott returned home from fishing that evening, he reportedly discovered Laci was not there. Some reports state he washed his clothes, ate some cold pizza, cleaned up the kitchen, and took a shower.
Then, at roughly 5:20 pm, he called Sharon to ask if Laci was with her. When Sharon replied that she was not there, he said, “Laci’s missing. Laci’s parents called the police at 6 pm. A search of the park and surrounding areas immediately ensued. 500,000 for any information leading to her safe return.
The initial search and later vigil were organized by the immediate family and friends. In the first two days, up to 900 people were involved in looking for her, before community officials or police directly participated in the search, and prior to significant media coverage. From the start, Scott was reluctant to talk to the press. At one point, he stormed out of a family press conference when reporters asked if the police considered him a suspect. Laci’s brother, Brent Rocha, initially defended him, claiming that he was too distraught to make public statements about her, and added that did not mean he was involved in her disappearance. It was later revealed that Scott had numerous extramarital affairs, one of which Laci knew about.
The most recent was with a massage therapist named Amber Frey, a single mother from nearby Fresno. Scott was arrested on April 18, 2003, near a La Jolla golf course. He claimed to be meeting his father and brother for a game of golf. On April 21, 2003, Scott was arraigned in Stanislaus County Superior Court before Judge Nancy Ashley. He was charged with two felony counts of murder with premeditation and special circumstances.