Father wants custody of murdered daughter's children


Rodger Ackerson is in Kinston visiting his grandchildren and trying to gain custody of them.

"She's a beautiful girl," Rodger said in reference to his daughter, whose memory he still holds close as he remembers her time as a child.

"How do you put that into words except she's a beautiful girl?" he asked. "[I] used to like to take her fishing, used to like to take her to the state park and pick black raspberries and go to the butterfly stump."

Roger says he been shell-shocked ever since Laura's body was found dismembered, and her ex-boyfriend and his wife were charged with the crime.

"I haven't seen her body yet, so to me it's still not quite real," he added.

Now, he's in Kinston for the first time visiting the children Laura had with her ex-boyfriend Grant Hayes.

"You can't help but love kids," Roger said. "They're just the best thing there is."

The children are in the custody of Hayes's parents. Rodger says he plans to fight that and wants to give the children financial stability and Christian upbringing, but there's a big problem.

He says he was accused of molesting his daughters in the mid 80s. Hayes referred to the allegations in court documents when he tried to maintain custody of the children, saying Laura sometimes called her father a "pedophile."

Roger claims the allegations were made by a vindictive ex-wife.

"On '84, two of my children went back to the care of my ex-wife, which, that's what they wanted and at the time, the friend of the court made no reference to any moral misconduct on my part," he explained.

Rodger says he plans to go to court to fight the allegations. But until then, he will continue visiting his grandchildren and thinking of his daughter, who was still young when she went back to live with her mother in Iowa.

"She didn't know Jesus when she went to Iowa, but after she came here to North Carolina, she found him," he added. "It's not a case of she's going to a bad place. She's going to be in heaven. I'm going to see her again."

Rodger says he will be leaving NC soon and hopes to see his grandchildren until he leaves.

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