Editor's note: This is a statement delivered on Monday, April 21 to media assembled at the Modesto Police Department.
Words alone are not enough to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation to every person and entity that helped in our search for Laci and Conner. We are very fortunate to live in a community that has come together and supported us from the very beginning of our nightmare and continues to do so. We thank the media for your help and support. Through you, we have been given the opportunity to share our Laci and Conner with people all around the world.
We want to give thanks to all the law enforcement agencies, fire departments, and coast guard involved in the search for Laci, the Red Lion Hotel and Brad Saltzman for donating the rooms for our volunteer center, the volunteers who donated their personal time and spent many, many hours helping at the center, those who helped with the search, the people who came to the center to pick up flyers to post in various locations all over the state, the businesses that donated supplies and food, Jonathan Smith who established and continues to oversee the Laci Peterson web site, the thousands and thousands of people who posted their messages on the web site, and to all of those who prayed for us and for the safe return of Laci and Conner.
We especially want to thank the Modesto Police Department, and everyone affiliated with them. We cannot thank you enough for giving up your personal lives, for all the long hours and days and weeks you have spent searching for answers to Laci’s disappearance, for your kindness and patience with us, for your understanding of our desperation to find Laci. We also want to thank your spouses, many of whom may have spent the Christmas holidays without your husband or wife, because of their dedication to their department and their tireless efforts to find Laci and Conner. We are grateful to you for sharing your loved ones with us during our time of need.
We want to thank Kim Petersen, and the entire staff of the Carole Sund/Carrington Foundation. They have worked diligently to help us inform the public, both locally and nationally, of Laci’s disappearance in order to solicit their help in locating her. Due to Kim’s experience with situations such as ours, she is familiar with the ups and downs, the highs and lows and the many different emotions we are experiencing. She has made herself available to us and provided guidance and support to help us get through some of our darkest hours. I consider her a very dear friend and offer my sincere gratitude. I highly recommend the Carole Sund/Carrington Foundation to anyone seeking help in finding missing loved ones.
We are so grateful for the thoughtfulness and amazing generosity of all the donors who donated to the reward and to the search fund established to help bring Laci home. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. To our family and our friends and to all of Laci’s friends; you have been with us from the beginning of our long walk down this devastating road. You offered yourselves to us, to lean on and to help carry the weight of our burden. You have been here to support us, give us strength and to help ease our pain. You gave up your own personal lives to be here with us because you know we need you. Without your love and devotion, we would never be able to face what lies ahead. We are eternally grateful to all of you and we thank you.
If Laci were here now she would be absolutely amazed at the outpouring of love and concern for her and Conner. I know, in my heart, that she is fully aware of the love we have for her.
On December 24, 2002 shortly after 5:15 PM I received a phone call and heard the devastating words that would forever change my life “LACI’S MISSING”. I knew in my heart that something terrible had happened to my daughter and my grandson. My world collapsed around me. Since receiving that phone call we have been living a terrible nightmare.
The search for Laci began that night. The questions were always there, what has happened to Laci, where is she, is she safe, who took her from me. I made a plea to the person or persons who took her to please, please let her go and send her home to us. We heard nothing. As the days passed I made more pleas, to take her to a hospital, or fire or police station, or tell us where she is so that we could come to her and bring her and her baby home safely. Still, we heard nothing. We searched and searched and searched but still no Laci.
I love my daughter so much. I miss her every minute of every day. My heart aches for her and Conner. Without them there is a huge void in my life. I literally get sick to my stomach when I allow myself to think about what may have happened to them. No parent should ever have to think about the way their child was murdered. In my mind, I keep hearing Laci say to me “Mom, please, find me and Conner and bring us home. I’m scared. Please, don’t leave us out here all alone. I want to come home. Please don’t stop looking for us”.
I feel that Laci and Conner could no longer wait to be found. So, last week, they came to us.
Laci and Conner left us on Christmas Eve. I know that God has been watching over them. He sent them back to us on Good Friday. Now, we can bring them home where they belong.
Laci and her unborn child did not deserve to die. They certainly did not deserve to be dumped in the bay and sent to a watery grave as though their lives were meaningless. Laci meant the world to me. She was my only daughter. She was my best friend. We miss her beautiful smile, her laughter, her love, her kind and loving ways. I miss seeing her, talking to her and hugging her. We have been deprived of meeting and knowing Laci’s son, our grandson and nephew. We will miss them and mourn them for the rest of our lives.
Soon after Laci went missing I made a promise to her, that if she has been harmed we will seek justice for her and Conner and make sure that the person responsible for their deaths will be punished. I can only hope that the sound of Laci’s voice begging for her life, begging for the life of her unborn child, is heard over and over and over again in the mind of that person everyday for the rest of his life. The person responsible should be held accountable and punished for the tragedy and devastation forced upon so many.