Local News

Loss of slain mom 'not quite real yet' for her father

Posted August 9, 2011
Updated August 10, 2011

— The father of a slain Kinston woman said Tuesday that his daughter expressed concern to him nearly three years ago about the relationship she had with the Raleigh man charged in her death.

But Rodger Ackerson said that he never imagined that 27-year-old Laura Ackerson would disappear or that her remains would be found more than a week later halfway across the country.

Laura Ackerson Couple's apartment focus of Kinston woman's slaying

"She told me several times in 2008, when she was up spending Christmas with me – she said she had to go back (to North Carolina), because if she didn't, Grant would send his thugs around to get her," Rodger Ackerson said. "At that time, she's 24 years old, and she has her own free will."

Laura Ackerson's former boyfriend and the father of her two children, Grant Hayes, is charged with first-degree murder in her death. His wife, Amanda Hayes, faces the same charge.

Investigators have alleged that the pair killed Laura Ackerson in North Carolina, dismembered her body and carried it in coolers to Richmond, Texas, about 60 miles south of Houston, where her remains were tossed in a creek.

She was last seen on July 13, and her car was found a week later in the parking lot of a Raleigh apartment complex about a quarter-mile from the Hayeses' home.

Web only: Interview with Rodger Ackerson Web only: Interview with Rodger Ackerson

Raleigh police investigators haven't offered a motive for the slaying, but family members have said that Grant Hayes and Laura Ackerson had a "volatile" relationship and had been involved in a custody dispute.

"I think Mr. Hayes was faced with a custody suit that he was going to lose and decided he wasn't going to lose," Rodger Ackerson said.

Rodger Ackerson, who lives in Michigan, has filed for custody of his grandchildren, who are currently staying with Grant Hayes' mother, Patsy Hayes.

Rodger Ackerson Father's loss 'not quite real yet'

Unsubstantiated allegations 28 years ago by his ex-wife that he molested three of his children, he said, could mean an uphill custody battle. He has denied the claims and said he plans to ask that she retract her statements.

He has been allowed to see his grandchildren, he said, and he worries, in regard to his daughter's death, about what they might have seen.

Rodger Ackerson said that he just hopes now that the justice system will prevail.

"They just can't cut her up in pieces and throw her away and not pay for it," he said.

He and his daughter, the youngest of four children, spoke on the phone at least three times a week, he said. They had a close relationship when she was growing up, and one of Roger Ackerson's fondest memories is watching butterflies with his daughter after it rained.

"It's not quite real yet," Rodger Ackerson said of his loss.


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  • ma54321 Aug 10, 2011


    Yes I do.

  • marinewife101 Aug 10, 2011

    to ma54321 - do you KNOW FOR SURE he did something, if not, then you have NO RIGHT to say he can't have his grandchildren!! I just feel so sorry for this family - I've suffered loss in the past as well and my heart just goes out to them.

  • ma54321 Aug 10, 2011

    And by the way, his ex-wife didn't make any statements to the DSS recently... several other people did...

  • ma54321 Aug 10, 2011

    Rodger did something... and he SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED to get the boys...

  • Wendellcatlover Aug 10, 2011

    I know a lot of comments and accusations can be made during divorce proceedings in order to better your position against the other party. I just hope that this doesn't hinder Laura's father from getting custody of her 2 children(as long as he didn't really molest his children). What are the chances that if they stay with the murderer's mother they'll ever be told about their mom; that they'll ever know just how much she loved them? Chances are they'll be told she ran away and left them so that their father won't be looked at as the true demon he is. I continue to pray for those babies and the newborn who was born to 2 murderers! God be with them through their lives and give them families to love and cherish them as all children should have!!

  • kikinc Aug 10, 2011

    Hey ma, "unsubstantiated" could also have meant that his ex accused him of something he didn't do in order to keep the kids from him. That's definitely not unheard of these days.

  • ma54321 Aug 10, 2011

    When Rodger says "unsubstantiated", he only means he never got caught... he knows what he did...

  • Rebelyell55 Aug 9, 2011

    I'm hoping he get the kids. They don't need to be with this woman.

  • dollibug Aug 9, 2011

    I hope they both pay for what they did to this person...How could anyone do such to a person that had his own children is beyond me...and now the children have neither parent...so sad for them...I hope and pray that someone will get the children and provide a decent home with lots of love and support for them.

  • SAMCRO4ever Aug 9, 2011

    the truth is sometimes people can have a totally different personality and you might not even catch it until youve already been with them a year maybe 10 years...people snap. Grant Hayes was a musician. You would NEVER know by meeting this guy that he could do a thing like this. Laura was an amazing girl...funny, very intelligent....Grant had a darker side than anyone knew. She had a hunch, but sometimes like I said...you dont know it till later.