By JOHN ANTCZAK
LOS ANGELES- The estranged mother of radio host ``Dr. Laura'' was found murdered, Laura Schlessinger announced to her audience Friday, expressing regret for failing to bridge their divide and urging listeners ``to hold your family very tight.''
``I do pray that she is at peace and (am) confident that the Police Department will be able to bring justice to this situation. But I am overwhelmed by sadness,'' she said.
The body of Yolanda Schlessinger, 77, was found this week in her Beverly Hills condominium. Police would say only that she had been dead for a long time.
Laura Schlessinger took calls from people with problems and administered her typically blunt advice before mentioning her mother's slaying in the final minutes of her last broadcast of the year.
``I have to talk to you listeners about something,'' she said. ``You may have already heard that my mother was found murdered.
``The police are investigating. There's nothing much I know and if I did I'm not supposed to say.''
Beverly Hills police released a statement on the discovery of the body that did not contain the victim's name. Lt. Gary Gilmond said that was because positive identification had yet to be officially determined.
Gilmond said, however, that ``there's all indications that it may be'' the radio host's mother. ``We have notified Dr. Laura,'' he said.
The body was discovered Monday when officers made a welfare check at a North Palm Drive residence after a neighbor became concerned about not seeing the woman for several weeks. An autopsy determined that she was the victim of a homicide.
The investigation had yet to narrow down the date of death, he said.
``It's a substantial period of time,'' he said.
Laura Schlessinger said her mother had shut her family out of her life for years.
``Because this is an ongoing homicide investigation I cannot say very much about the circumstances surrounding this unbelievable and tragic event,'' she told her radio audience, her voice verging on emotion but maintaining her composure.
``But I'm, of course, shocked and horrified that she would be the victim of a violent crime, and it's so hard - it's so hard to imagine - so hard to get that reality into your head. Emotions rise up and (you) feel the clinch in your chest, but your IQ is still going, 'I don't get it.'
``And I guess one of the reasons I am so clearly committed to the sanctity of the family and protection of children and the welfare of children in my books and on this radio program is quite frankly because I was not fortunate enough to grow up in a loving, close-knit family myself.
``My dad's dead, my mother ... they were divorced, and my mother and I have had a long estrangement, which was her choice, as it was her choice to be estranged from all the family.
``And I deeply regret that despite any attempts I made to make contact or stay connected she died without that ever being accomplished.''
Signing off, she said: ``I just want to remind you as I do all the time, hold your family very tight, very close and very dear and don't sweat the petty stuff - the bad stuff is bad enough.''