Why Pregnant Women Become Murder Victims

"Our suspicions were never aroused," Carl DiMaiti, Carol's brother, told ABCNEWS' Good Morning America on Wednesday. "And up until the moment that Chuck took his own life, we felt that there was someone out there that had committed the murder."

While Scott Peterson has pleaded not guilty, he has admitted to having an affair, and both Laci's and his parents have said the young couple seemed to have a great relationship and no financial woes. If Scott Peterson is convicted, it would fit the pattern.

Maybe a More Serious Problem

Aside from their basic motivations, the people who kill pregnant women do not fit a particular profile. Experts say they cross racial barriers and can be upstanding citizens with no prior criminal record, like Charles Stuart, or rising football stars like Carruth.

According to the most recent statistics by the U.S. Department of Justice, more than 33 percent of all the women slain nationwide in 2000 were killed by intimate partners. Some experts suspect that many more pregnant women may be in danger and even dying because they keep their domestic abuse secret.

"It's about shame, and feeling embarrassed," Cates said. "Women want to keep it secret. They want to have the family that everyone dreams of having."

In many cases, she said, the fact that a slain woman or domestic abuse victim was pregnant may never be reported.

"Only 17 states … are reporting that a woman was pregnant at the time of death," Cates said. "It's not on the death certificate, so it may mean … that women are dying at a much greater rate than we know."

The phone number for National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

ABCNEWS' Jay Schadler and John Kennedy contributed to this report.

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