When Laura fell ill, Lesley turned to Dr. Peter Taylor for counsel and affirmation that the agony the child was going through could be emotionally based. He concurred that it could, but Peter couldn't tell Lesley what to do. It was a decision she had to make for herself. Lesley made the painful decision to cancel the custody suit and return Laura to Jason and Barbara Vining. Her husband Cameron, secretly triumphant that Laura was out of his life for good, dedicated himself to healing Lesley's hurt. Despite his efforts to help her overcome her grief, Lesley Faulkner remained obsessed with her daughter. Behind Lesley's back, Cameron began spending more time at the mountain retreat he bought for Lesley -- and ever more time in New York with his sexy secretary, Peggy.
To keep Laura out of his life for good, Cameron concocted a scheme in which an elderly nurse claimed that Laura was not Lesley's daughter after all. The scheme failed when Lesley accused the woman of lying, then sent her away. Cameron's scheme had been thwarted! Unbeknownst to Lesley, Cameron then paid the Vinings to take Laura far away.
In the grueling weeks after Laura's disappearance, Cameron urged Lesley to get on with her life. But Lesley was determined to never give up Laura. Later, Lesley discovered the depth of her husband's malevolence. When he kidnaped her, Lesley lunged for the wheel of the car, which careened off the road! Cameron was dead! In the days after the tragedy, Lesley learned another shocking secret about her husband -- he died broke, his empire having crumbled beneath him in the weeks before his death. Her fellow staff member, Dr. Rick Webber helped her through the troubled times.
In 1976, several new characters were introduced to General Hospital. Among them was Terri Arnett, whose husband David, a doctor, had been killed in Vietnam. Terri was the daughter of Steve Hardy's closest friend, the late Dr. Lars Webber. Once an aspiring singer in New York, Terri returned home when Lars Webber and his wife Helen were killed in an accident to play surrogate mother to her two younger brothers, Rick and Jeff. Rick, a promising resident at General Hospital, volunteered for a six-month medical stint in Africa. Two months after his arrival, he was reportedly killed when the small plane in which he was being piloted to a remote village crashed and burned. Rick's dashingly handsome younger brother, Jeff, graduated from med school in the spring of 1976 along with his wife, Monica, who had once been Rick's fiancee. Dr. Steve Hardy tapped the young married doctors for a bold new experimental program at General Hospital -- Mr. and Mrs. Intern!
For Steve Hardy, the Mr. and Mrs. Intern experiment was a noble gamble. He believed that Jeff and Monica were a perfect choice. Six months into their marriage, he assumed they were ideally happy. He was wrong! Their new marriage was a wreck! Jeff had a hang up -- he feared that everyone at General Hospital was comparing him to his "late" brother Rick. Fearing he would always be "second best," Jeff's every thought was plagued by memories of his dead brother. Jeff missed Rick dearly -- and so did Monica. More than anyone -- even Jeff -- knew.
Rick Webber was very much alive and being held, against his will, having been captured ten months earlier by revolutionaries in an African civil war. Upon his long-awaited return to General Hospital, Rick was reunited with Steve Hardy who sensed that Rick was haunted by something. Was it, as Steve suspected, the months of imprisonment that troubled Rick? Or was he, as Terri believed, deeply troubled by the fact that Monica had married Jeff?
Like Rick, Mark Dante was involved in a romantic triangle. Soon after arriving in town, he became attracted to Rick and Jeff's widowed sister, Terri. However, Dr. Dante could not act on his feelings, since he already had a wife back in Boston. Mary-Ellen Dante had been committed to a sanitarium two years earlier suffering from severe depression that rendered her unable to communicate with the outside world. She eventually recovered enough to be released, and discovered the relationship between Mark and Terri.
As for Rick Webber, he needed to keep away from Monica, and that meant moving out of the Webber family home, where he lived with Terri, Jeff -- and Monica. He turned for comfort to Dr. Lesley Faulkner who needed comfort of her own -- she was pregnant with her late husband Cameron's baby. Sadly, she lost the child.
During the summer of '76, Diana Taylor hired the scheming Heather Grant to be the nanny for her daughter, Martha. The product of a lower-class background, Heather beat out the competition the way she knew best -- by cheating. Desperately wanting the job, Heather devilishly gave Diana a forged letter of reference. Heather set her sights on Jeff Webber, whose marriage to Monica was faltering once and for all.
Monica, crazed with jealousy over Rick's concern for Lesley, confronted her rival in Lesley's penthouse, and ordered her fellow doctor to keep her hands off Rick. We're having an affair!" she declared.
Monica's stunning declaration left Lesley reeling, not sure whether to believe her or not! But Lesley was certain of one thing -- she deeply loved Rick Webber. But Rick was still seeing Monica, though their secret affair was growing increasingly less passionate and more volatile.
Late in the year, Jeff disappeared! Where could he be? Rick was worried, Monica frightened and Heather, most of all, needed Jeff because she was pregnant with his baby! Meantime, Jeff showed up at a bar downtown - Barney's Place - drunk, despondent, and high on amphetamines. Barney, fearful that he'd wander out and get Barney into trouble, put Jeff up in the back room overnight. Unknown to him, Jeff stole a gun from behind the bar. Dr. Mark Dante showed up the next day to bring Jeff home, but upon his arrival, the sound of a gunshot shattered the early morning calm. Mark raced into the back room, where he found Jeff unconscious -- with a bullet in his brain. Rick blamed himself. Terri, fearful that Jeff would die, went to Dr. Steve Hardy to say that her mother, Helene, on her deathbed, had told Terri of the existence of a letter. Hidden away in a safety deposit box, the letter revealed that Dr. Steve Hardy was Jeff's father.