Nearly six years after her and her unborn child’s murder stunned the nation, Laci Peterson was remembered Saturday night at a benefit in her Modesto, Calif., hometown that raised money for the Laci and Connor Search and Rescue Fund.
“I couldn’t help but say yes,” the event’s host, CNN’s Larry King, told Modesto’s CBS13 about his participation.
The evening, titled “Laughing for Laci,” featured comedians and was billed as a tribute to Laci’s sense of humor, said her mother, Sharon Rocha, who organized the event.
“I loved the idea of doing that,” Rocha told NBC11. “I thought, ‘That’s great.’ It’s uplifting, it’s light and Laci loved to laugh.”
Added King: “That famous picture of her is laughing, and if we don’t have laughter, boy, we don’t have much.”
To date, the Laci and Connor Search and Rescue Fund reportedly has raised nearly $200,000, with the money going to 37 organizations in 10 different states.
“Our hope is that through providing this additional assistance, these agencies will be better prepared and equipped for search and rescue, and therefore be more successful in their efforts to safely return missing persons to their loved ones,” the fund states on its Web site.
Laci’s husband, Scott Peterson, was sentenced to death on March 16, 2005, for the December 2002 murders of Laci and their unborn child, Connor – whose remains he dumped into San Francisco Bay. Today, Peterson remains on death row in San Quentin Prison.
“I honestly don’t know how people survive who don’t know where their loved one is,” Rocha told NBC11 in anticipation of this past Saturday’s event. “I just feel everybody needs to be found and taken back to their loved ones, whether it’s search and rescue or search and recovery. Everybody needs to go home.”