MODESTO, Calif. – The five people who are sharing a $50,000 reward for finding the bodies of Laci Peterson and her fetus have chosen to stay out of the spotlight, but Laci Peterson's mother nonetheless offered them her gratitude Friday.
"You could have chosen to keep on walking," Sharon Rocha (search) said, her voice trembling at a news conference where the Carole Sund/Carrington Foundation formally presented the reward. "You didn't. You did the right thing. For that we will be eternally grateful."
None of the five reward recipients attended the event, according to the Modesto Bee. But Rocha said their grisly discoveries along the shore of San Francisco Bay nearly two years ago brought a measure of peace and closure to her family.
Before then, Laci Peterson's (search) relatives, friends and hundreds of volunteers had searched fruitlessly for nearly four months.
Scott Peterson (search), 32, Laci Peterson's husband, was convicted in November of murdering his pregnant wife and dumping her body in San Francisco Bay as he pretended to fish alone on Christmas Eve 2002. Jurors on Dec. 13 recommended a death sentence. Formal sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 25.
Kim Petersen, the Sund-Carrington Foundation (search) executive director, said two people who found the body of the fetus, a boy the couple planned to name Conner, will split $25,000 and three who discovered Laci Peterson's remains will divide the other $25,000.
Two of the reward recipients testified during Scott Peterson's six-month trial.
Michael Looby said he and his wife stumbled upon the fetus' tiny frame while walking their dog on April 13, 2003. He said he asked people at a nearby house to phone 911.
Alena Maria Gonzalez testified that she and other family members noticed a dog near what turned out to be Laci Peterson's remains on April 14, 2003. They shooed away the dog and phoned authorities, she said.