For Laci: A Mother’s Story of Love, Loss, and Justice

I read this book over two days last month, and even though I am going back a little by blogging on it, I just had to share about how great this book was.  Written by Laci Peterson’s mother, Sharon Rocha, the book tells a first hand account of the crime we all watched unfold only a few years ago.   

Rocha set out to tell a story about Laci’s life, rather than her death, and through her vivid descriptions it was apparant why Laci’s friends and family loved her so much.  Laci was a true friend and daughter, who cared immensely about those around her and wanted more than anything to be a mother.  I did, however, find it startling that Laci’s college boyfriend would kill his wife only a few years after dating Laci.  For who among us has dated two murders? 

I was absolutely captivated by the recollection of Laci’s disappearance.  Every piece of the story is cloaked in suspicion.  In his first phone call to Rocha, Peterson nonchalently states his pregnant wife is missing.  Rocha tell us that initially they believed Laci disappeared while walking the dog, but when Peterson walked through the park looking for Laci that first night he visibly lacked emotion and never once called out her name.  As people begin recalling stories to Rocha that Peterson never wanted a baby and hoped for infertility, it becomes clear that baby Conner would be a burden not a blessing to Pederson.   

Only a week after Laci is missing, a candlelight ceremony is held on New Year’s Eve for Laci.  Rather than being on stage and speaking to the crowd, Pederson is laughing with his neices in the shadows.  Later he would sneak away to call Amber Frey, telling her he was in Paris, France watching a “neat” New Year’s celebration. 

Rocha recounts that she never saw Pederson cry a single tear, in fact, the most common expression of emotion he portrayed after Laci disappeared was a grin! Oh he laughed and joked, and was able to purchase wine that properly accompanied a meal, but not once did he say he missed Laci.  He missed Laci’s cooking, but not Laci.

The most infuriating thing about Laci’s disappearance was that there really was not any actual evidence of a murder.  In that regard, Pederson accomplished his goal.  However, the circumstantial evidence in the case was overwhelming, particularly when Pederson tells Frey it would be his first Christmas without his wife.  I also found his secret boat purchase boat extremely suspicious, as was the fact that he sold Laci’s car while she was still missing!

One part of the book that really struck me was when Rocha asked Pederson if she could take a few of Laci’s things from the home.  Pederson never allowed it, and finally, Rocha and a band of her friends and family go into the home, each with a list of items, and remove them quickly before the police arrice.  I was proud of Rocha for standing up for herself and her daughter, and was thankful that the police allowed her to keep the items.  In fact, the entire story really spotlighted the love Rocha had for Laci.  She is constantly the one addressing the press, and her remarks to Pederson at his sentencing are truthful, raw, and full of emotion.

I was also struck by how generous people were to the Rochas.  A reward for information was initially only $50,000, but a annonymous doner contributed more than $300,000 to the fund.  And when the trial was moved from Modesto to San Francisco, a couple not only allowed the Rochas to stay rent free in their vacation home there but also frequently left them goodies upon their arrival.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in crime or in the true events of Laci Pederson’s life and disappearance.

Do you think Scott killed Laci?


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