by Steven Ertelt
December 14, 2006
Modesto, CA (LifeNews.com) — Proceeds from the book Laci Peterson’s mother wrote about her daughter’s marriage to Scott Peterson and how he killed her and their unborn child Conner are helping search and rescue victims. Sharon Rocha set up the fund as a way to give back to the community following the national attention the story received.
Peterson was accused of murdering Laci Peterson on Christmas Eve 2002 and dumping her body in San Francisco Bay, which also resulted in the death of eight-month old unborn baby Conner.
When authorities began looking for Laci Peterson after she disappeared, Rocha soon realized they lacked adequate funds to carry out their work.
As searchers struggled to find enough money for training and equipment, Rocha realized she had to do something.
Rocha eventually established the Laci and Conner Search and Rescue Fund in December 2005 from proceeds of the sale of her book, "For Laci."
She told the Modesto Bee newspaper she sympathizes with victims who rely on search and rescue teams to find loved ones.
"I know how they’re feeling," Rocha said. "It still makes me feel that way when I see others going through this. The anticipation, the waiting, not knowing, wondering, ‘Where could they be? Why can’t they find them?’"
The fund is already helping authorities in other local communities.
Joyce Wilson of Arizona’s Superstition Mountain Search & Rescue told the newspaper her organization is "very indebted to Sharon."
The members of the squad received advanced medical training this spring that’s already saved lives. The money came from Rocha’s fund.
According to the Bee, the fund has awarded $76,000 to 19 search-and-rescue organizations, something that makes Rocha happy.
"This really has been a great thing," she said. "We hope to keep it going. There is a huge need out there."
A lengthy court battle resulted in Scott Peterson’s double murder conviction in Laci and Conner’s deaths, but the first round of appeals will eventually begin that are expected to take years to complete.
The Peterson case sparked a renewed debate about violence against pregnant women and prompted the passage of a Congressional measure allowing federal prosecutors to punish criminals when they attack a pregnant woman and kill or injure the unborn child.
Some 34 states currently have laws that recognize the unborn child as second victim in such attacks and 24 of them protect mother and child throughout pregnancy.
Peterson was convicted under California’s unborn victims law that recognizes a second victim starting at seven to eight weeks into pregnancy.