NewsLocal News


Mother of missing FSU alumnus speaking out as recovery efforts continue

Posted at 6:05 PM, Oct 29, 2022

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) — "She brought love and light to all those people she touched," said Linda Peterson. She is asking for continued prayers for her daughter Staci as law enforcement works to try to bring her closure.

"She was such a lovely person. I want everyone to know what a bright light she was and how appreciative we all are for all the efforts and the community here."

Linda Peterson says her daughter Staci was planning on traveling around Europe and St. George Island was her first stop before leaving the country. Staci drove to the island last Thursday to spread her dog Charlie's ashes.

Linda said the two were best friends and the beach was their favorite place to go together.

"Her and Charlie just romping in nature, and she was always so happy when she was with him. She had a big smile on her face always when he was around."

Staci's rental car was found abandoned by State Park Officials on Sunday and multiple agencies have been looking for her since then. Franklin County Sheriff AJ Smith said all of her belongings were found in her hotel room in Tallahassee and no foul play is expected. After a long week of recovery efforts, Smith is hoping to bring Linda some closure soon.

"We want them to feel better and you know that it's certainly terrible when we don't have closure and we don't find a body or something like that so that is my hope that we can in the next few days," said Smith.

Linda said that although this week has caused her unimaginable pain, she's glad she was able to see Staci a few weeks before she left for her adventure.
"I was very fortunate because we got to tell each other that we loved each other."

Travis Millender has lived in Eastpoint his entire life. He serves visitors and locals out of his food truck on St George Island. He's seen and heard about all the recovery efforts being made to find Staci. "Everybody is sad about it. It's talk all over town about the lady and how sad it really is."

Millender said he really feels for Linda and understands what she's going through. Two of his cousins had drowned in the area and it took officials a few weeks to find their bodies. He hopes that isn't the case for Linda. "It's a sad thing I just wish them luck, pray for them and hope they can find her."

Smith adds they will start to scale back on recovery efforts but will continue patrolling the beach.