Fatal Fathers

Oklahoma County Newspapers; Editor Heide Brandes

The murder of an Oklahoma woman in 1995 will be just one of four murdered pregnant women from across the nation that will be featured in a documentary film by A & E.

The film Fatal Fathers, which will air at 7 p.m., Monday, will include the story of 24-year-old Jennifer Montroy Peck, who was killed in Tampa, FL. At the time of Peck's death, her parents lived in Duncan. Her aunt, Michelle Thompson, works in Midwest City Other women will also be featured, including those who were killed by their spouses or boyfriends, while they were pregnant.

In 1993, 22 year-old Jennifer Montroy met 27 year-old Joseph Peck while they were both working at her parent's restaurant in Oklahoma.

Jennifer had dreams of working as an animator at Disney so after graduating college she moved to Kissimee, Fla., to pursue that dream. Within a few days, Joseph Peck followed her there and seven months later the two were married. After the wedding Joseph convinced Jennifer to give up her dream of working at Disney and they moved to Bradentown, Florida where Jennifer worked in a grocery store. Five months after the wedding, Jennifer was pregnant. She couldn't wait to share the news with her husband but when she did, his reaction was less than enthusiastic and the physical abuse began.

Jennifer reached out to a domestic abuse hotline in the hopes of getting help but it was too late. Joseph Peck was already making plans to kill Jennifer and with one swing of a hammer... he succeeded. He crushed her skull, stuffed her body into his car and got on a plane to pay a surprise visit to her parents. It took eight years for police to prove that Joseph Peck murdered his pregnant wife but eventually they did and he is now serving a life sentence.

Jennifer's death at the hands of her husband is just one of many such circumstances.

"This is a really startling statistic," said Suzanne Mitchell, of Kas-Kel Electric Productions, LLC. She added that the idea to do the documentary stemmed from the day after Laci Petterson's body washed ashore, and realized there was a story that needed to be told.

The original goal of the documentary was to explain the statistic. Mitchell also said that the death of a mother with an unborn baby is not listed on the death ceritificte. When asked what was discovered to be the motivating factors, Mitchell said that the spouse or boyfriend' jealousy of the baby, lack of attention and financial reasons were found.

As it turns out, this heinous crime is just the tip of the iceberg. The truth is that in cities around the country...murder is the number one cause of death among pregnant women.

This little known fact has been confirmed by the National Coalition against Domestic Violence as well as recent studies done by the Massachusetts and Maryland Health Departments. Fatal Fathers investigates this shocking fact and provides a riveting hour of television. Through moving personal stories of some of the women who have died, interviews with experts who have studied this phenomenon such as Jacquelyn Campbell of Johns Hopkins University and Ed Gondolf, a sociologist and criminologist and an exclusive interview with a man who killed his pregnant wife we hope to save lives.

Fatal Fathers airs at 8 p.m. (ET) Monday and is hosted by Bill Kurtis. It has been produced by Kas-Kel Electric Productions, LLC. Marilyn Kaskel and Suzanne Mitchell are Executive Producers and Natalie Reuss is Producer.

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